Synopses & Reviews
From 1649-1660 England was ruled by a standing army for the only time in its history. In The Army in Cromwellian England
Henry Reece describes, for the first time, the nature of that experience, both for members of the army and for civilian society.
Split into three parts, the first section looks at the size of the army, its material needs, promotion structure, and political engagement to provide a sense of the day-to-day reality of being part of a standing army. The second part considers the impact of the military presence on society by establishing where soldiers were quartered, how they were paid, the material burden that they represented, the divisive effects of the army's patronage of religious radicals, and the extensive involvement of army officers in the government of the localities. The final section re-evaluates the army's role in the political events from Cromwell's death to the restoration of the Stuart monarchy, and explains why the army crumbled so pitifully in the last months of the Commonwealth.
"With thoughtful analysis on issues such as quartering and paying the army, as well as a new interpretation of the army's demise in 1659-60, Reece's book will appeal not only to military historians, but those wishing to understand both how the standing army affected life in the localities in the 1650s and why the English Commonwealth collapsed in 1660." --Canadian Journal of History
"The Army in Cromwellian England, 1649-1660 is an elegant synthesis of forty years' worth of historiography, securely anchored in primary sources. Reece's conclusions lead us to reconsider long-held orthodoxies, such as the beliefs that an "un-English" autocracy characterized the Commonwealth and Protectorate, and that the return of the Stuarts was inevitable." --Mark Charles Fissel, American Historical Review
"Reece gives a detailed examination of the New Model Army: its fluctuating size and cost; the role of some officers in local government and, by extension, the brief rule of the major-generals; the tensions between some garrisons and local communities regarding religion; relations between the army and Westminster; and Cromwell's skill in dealing with a diverse group of senior officers. Recommended." --CHOICE
"'This book has marinaded for longer than most,' Henry Reece remarks. His book is the best possible advertisement for marinading. It is a fine scholarly achievement, required reading for all who take England's republican experiment seriously. Reece's excellent book certainly makes us think hard; on the army itself it is surely definitive." --Anthony Fletcher, History
About the Author
read History at Bristol University and did his D.Phil. at St John's College, Oxford. He spent thirty years in publishing, latterly as chief executive of Oxford University Press from 1998 to 2009. Oxford University awarded him an Honorary D.Litt. in 2010. He is an Emeritus Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford and an Honorary Fellow of St John's College, Oxford. He now lives on Vancouver Island in Canada.
Table of Contents
Part 1: The Character of the Army
1. A Standing Army
2. Promotion and Patronage
3. Political Engagement
Part 2: The Army and Society
4. The Garrisoning and Quartering of the Army
5. The Provision of Pay to the Army
6. The Material Impact of the Military Presence
7. The Religious Impact of the Military Presence
8. The Army and the Government of the Localities
Part 3: The Army and the End of the Republic
9. The Military Presence Unchecked
10. The Purges of 1659-1660 and the Demise of the Army