'Sir, God hath taken away your eldest son by a cannon shot. It brake his leg. We were necessitated to have it cut off, whereof he died.' In one of the most famous and moving letters of the Civil War, Oliver Cromwell told his brother-in-law that on 2 July 1644 Parliament had won an emphatic victory over a Royalist army commanded by King Charles I's nephew, Prince Rupert, on rolling moorland west of York. But that battle, Marston Moor, had also slain his own nephew, the recipient's firstborn. In this vividly narrated history of the deadly conflict that engulfed the nation during the 1640s, Peter Gaunt shows that, with the exception of World War I, the death-rate was higher than any other contest in which Britain has participated. Numerous towns and villages were garrisoned, attacked, damaged or wrecked. The landscape was profoundly altered. Yet amidst all the blood and killing, the fighting was also a catalyst for profound social change and innovation. Charting major battles, raids and engagements, the author uses rich contemporary accounts to explore the life-changing experience of war for those involved, whether musketeers at Cheriton, dragoons at Edgehill or Cromwell's disciplined Ironsides at Naseby (1645).
'Peter Gaunt's The English Civil War is a skilfully crafted and highly illuminating account. The great strengths of the book are that it is very well written, that it is expertly put together and, above all, that it is extremely well-informed. Professor Gaunt is fully abreast of all the latest developments in his field, and he has done an excellent job of explaining recent historiographical trends to his readers in a clear and succinct way. Authoritative, engaging and packed full of vivid detail, this book not only tells the story of the English Civil War itself, but also sets that terrible conflict within its wider historical context.' Mark Stoyle, Professor of Early Modern History, University of Southampton, author of Soldiers and Strangers: An Ethnic History of the English Civil War 'This is an excellent synthetic account of the English Civil War. Where there are unresolved disputes, Peter Gaunt gives good coverage to the views of all sides and then draws very judicious conclusions whilst allowing for the fact that subsequent research might cause him to modify them. The author makes some interesting arguments of his own and illustrates them in a manner that will engage the reader, however well she or he is acquainted with the period. The discussions of the major engagements are well informed and thoughtful, most particularly in the handling of the documentary evidence. Throughout Gaunt's highly readable style is such as to carry the story along at a swift pace without drowning his reader in detail.' Malcolm Wanklyn, Research Professor in History, University of Wolverhampton, author of The Warrior Generals: Winning the British Civil Wars 1642-1652
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Number Of Pages: 256
Published: 30th May 2014
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.6 x 2.6
Weight (kg): 0.59