General Percy Kirke (c. 1647-91) is remembered in Somerset as a cruel, vicious thug who deluged the region in blood after the Battle of Sedgemoor in 1685. He is equally notorious in Northern Ireland. Appointed to command the expedition to raise the Siege of Londonderry in 1689, his assumed treachery nearly resulted in the city's fall and he was made to look ridiculous when the blockade was eventually lifted by a few sailors in a rowing boat. Yet Kirke was closely involved in some of the most important events in British and Irish history. He served as the last governor of the colony of Tangier; played a central role in facilitating the Glorious Revolution of 1688; and fought in the majority of the principal actions and campaigns undertaken by the newly-formed standing armies in England, Ireland and Scotland, especially the Battle of the Boyne and the first Siege of Limerick in 1689.
With the aid of his own earlier work in the field, additional primary sources and a recently-rediscovered letter book, John Childs looks beyond the fictionalisation of Kirke, most notably by R. D. Blackmore inLorna Doone, to investigate the historical reality of his career, character, professional competence, politics and religion. As well as offering fresh, detailed narratives of such episodes as Monmouth's Rebellion, the conspiracies in 1688 and the Siege of Londonderry, this pioneering biography also presents insights into contemporary military personnel, patronage, cliques and procedures.
Underpinned by Childs's immaculate understanding of the seventeenth century battlefield, this biography is a hugely valuable addition to the recent renewal of interest in the 1688 Revolution and its context. It presents a model example of the way in which military history can be embedded within broader cultural and political horizons ... There is much to admire in this biography - its scholarly precision, its judicious commentary and its narrative flair - if not, perhaps, in the life of its subject. -- Gabriel Glickman, University of Warwick, UK English Historical Review A penetrating biography ... The book is at its best when it comes to dealing with the reputation of Kirke in broader English culture. Childs is superb in examining the evidence for Kirke's cruelities in the pacification of the West Country after Sedgemoor. -- Matthew Dziennik, University of Saskatchewan, Canada Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research
Number Of Pages: 296
Published: 13th February 2014
Publisher: Continuum Publishing Corporation
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.6 x 2.3
Weight (kg): 0.6
Edition Number: 1