A nuanced biography of Oliver Cromwell, breaking down Cromwell's life into different parts: fenland farmer and humble backbencher; stalwart of the good old cause and the New Model Army; key figure of the Commonwealth; and finally Lord Protector. Hill leads the reader unsentimentally through Cromwell's life from his beginnings in Huntingdonshire to his brutal end. Hill brings all his considerable knowledge of the period to bear on the relationships God's Englishman had with God and England. Such a detailed understanding of the workings of providence is vital to understanding Cromwell.
This biography of Oliver Cromwell is the second volume of the publisher's "Crosscurrents" series. Hardly a subject could have been chosen which promises more: for Cromwell is a biographer's dream, a paradigm of complexity who, against the colorful background of 17th century England, externalized the paradox of himself by establishing a dictatorship in the name of freedom. Unfortunately, Dr. Hill does little more in this book than provide a sketch of the great Protector's personality in which shadings are so dim as to be almost invisible without the aid of an eyepiece (in the form of, say, Charles Firth's much superior Oliver Cromwell), and in which didacticism often gets the better of the author's able wit. Indeed, only when Hill discusses the religious conflicts of the time is there a hint of that liveliness of style which one expects from his essays in the "New York Review of Books." In the final analysis, to recommend itself the book has only an excellent epilogue on "Oliver Cromwell and English History." (Kirkus Reviews)