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Rebellion: The History of England from James I to the Glorious Revolutionby Peter Ackroyd
Synopses & Reviews
Peter Ackroyd has been praised as one of the greatest living chroniclers of Britain and its people. In Rebellion, he continues his dazzling account of the history of England, beginning the progress south of the Scottish king, James VI, who on the death of Elizabeth I became the first Stuart king of England, and ending with the deposition and flight into exile of his grandson, James II.
The Stuart monarchy brought together the two nations of England and Scotland into one realm, albeit a realm still marked by political divisions that echo to this day. More importantly, perhaps, the Stuart era was marked by the cruel depredations of civil war, and the killing of a king. Shrewd and opinionated, James I was eloquent on matters as diverse as theology, witchcraft, and the abuses of tobacco, but his attitude to the English parliament sowed the seeds of the division that would split the country during the reign of his hapless heir, Charles I. Ackroyd offers a brilliant, warts-and-all portrayal of Charless nemesis, Oliver Cromwell, Parliaments great military leader and Englands only dictator, who began his career as a political liberator but ended it as much of a despot as "that man of blood," the king he executed.
Englands turbulent seventeenth century is vividly laid out before us, but so too is the cultural and social life of the period, notable for its extraordinarily rich literature, including Shakespeares late masterpieces, Jacobean tragedy, the poetry of John Donne and Milton and Thomas Hobbess great philosophical treatise, Leviathan. In addition to its account of England's royalty, Rebellion also gives us a very real sense of the lives of ordinary English men and women, lived out against a backdrop of constant disruption and uncertainty.
"Agitation was in the air throughout 17th-century England, and Ackroyd skillfully captures the feelings and events of the time in this third volume of his history of England (following Tudors: The History of England from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I). The narrative opens with the merging of England and Scotland under one monarch, James I, whose massive gluttony Ackroyd contrasts with the dire finances of the country as a whole. There existed a 'gulf between king and country,' as the author describes it, which only widened during the reign of James I's successor, Charles I, due to wars with Spain and France. Following great financial distress and a civil war that pitted royalists against parliamentarians, Charles I was executed. While Scotland declared Charles II king, England's parliament steered the country into what became the 'Commonwealth of England,' with Oliver Cromwell as 'Lord Protector.' In 1660, the monarchy was restored with Charles II on the throne. Ackroyd ends at the Glorious Revolution — when William III (William of Orange) overthrew James II after yet more religious upheaval — having left no stone unturned. Addressing politics, religion, court life, scandal, science, literature, and art, the depth and scope of Ackroyd's account is impressive, and it is as accessible as it is rich. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
In this third book in his History of England, Peter Ackroyd has captured the period in Britain as only he can. From the royal accession of the thrillingly unappealing monarch James VI & I, who though rather ghastly, was also extraordinarily eloquent, to his hapless heir, Charles I, whose taste in art was peerless, but whose political judgment was so fatally poor, to Oliver Cromwell, far from pretty, ruthless and, ultimately, as much of a despot as "that man of blood," the king he executed, Ackroyd tells the story of the turbulent seventeenth century, in which England suffered through three civil wars—two fought between Parliament and both Charles I and Charles II, and, finally, the "Glorious Rebellion of 1688," which saw Charles IIs brother James deposed and sent into exile.
Rebellion doesnt just give us the brutality of politics and war. It also gives us glimpses of the extraordinarily rich literature of the time—Jacobean tragedy, Shakespeares late masterpieces, the sermons of Dr. Donne and Lancelot Andrewes, Milton, Hobbes—and of ordinary life, lived against a backdrop of constant disruption and uncertainty.
About the Author
PETER ACKROYD is an award-winning novelist, as well as a broadcaster, biographer, poet, and historian. He is the author of the acclaimed Thames: Sacred River, London: The Biography, and the first and second volumes of his history of England, Foundation and Tudors. He holds a CBE for services to literature and lives in London.
Table of Contents
1. A new Solomon2. The plot3. The beacons4. The god of money5. The angel6. The vapours7. What news?8. A Bohemian tragedy9. The Spanish travellers10. An interlude11. Vivat rex12. A fall from grace13. Take that slime away14. I am the man15. The crack of doom16. The shrimp17. Sudden flashings18. Venture all19. A great and dangerous treason20. Madness and fury21. A world of change22. Worse and worse news23. A world of mischief24. Neither hot nor cold25. The gates of hell26. The women of war27. The face of God28. The mansion house of liberty29. A game to play30. To kill a king31. This house to be let32. Fear and trembling33. Healing and settling34. Is it possible?35. The young gentleman36. Oh, prodigious change!37. On the road38. To rise and piss39. And not dead yet?40. The true force41. Hot news42. New infirmities43. Or at the Cock?44. Noise rhymes to noise45. The Protestant windFurther readingIndex
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