The Glorious Revolution: 1688— Britain’s Fight for Liberty

Edward Vallance, Author . Pegasus $27.95 (372p) ISBN 978-1-933648-24-8

England’s “Glorious Revolution”—when the ruling, quasi-Catholic Stuart dynasty was usurped by the robustly Protestant William of Orange—has traditionally been regarded as the most boring revolution ever. It was quick, it was bloodless, it was polite—all very English, in other words. As Vallance’s epigraphs show, commentators as diverse as Karl Marx and Margaret Thatcher agreed that William’s ascent to the throne led to Britain’s rise as a commercial, democratic, religiously tolerant world power. Vallance, a professor of early modern history at the University of Liverpool, aims to upset this comfortable consensus and to inject some vividness, action and even gore into the story. He succeeds nicely and his account serves as an admirable introduction to this confusing era. Writing with brio, Vallance possesses a sound grasp of narrative pacing and clarifies the often incomprehensible (at least to modern readers) political, religious and constitutional issues of the time. Paradoxically, Vallance is weakest on the personal character and motivations of the deposed king James II, who remains something of a cipher. Though Vallance wrote originally for a British audience, American readers will be startled to discover how greatly their founders relied on the principles of the Glorious Revolution a century later. 8 pages of color illus. (Apr. 16)

Reviewed on: 01/07/2008
Release date: 04/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-1-60598-034-8
Hardcover - 372 pages - 978-0-316-72681-8
Paperback - 372 pages - 978-0-349-11733-1
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