cover image Rebellion: The History of England from James I to the Glorious Revolution

Rebellion: The History of England from James I to the Glorious Revolution

Peter Ackroyd. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $29.99 (528p) ISBN 978-1-250-00363-8

Agitation was in the air throughout 17th-century England, and Ackroyd skillfully captures the feelings and events of the time in this third volume of his history of England (following Tudors: The History of England from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I). The narrative opens with the merging of England and Scotland under one monarch, James I, whose massive gluttony Ackroyd contrasts with the dire finances of the country as a whole. There existed a “gulf between king and country,” as the author describes it, which only widened during the reign of James I’s successor, Charles I, due to wars with Spain and France. Following great financial distress and a civil war that pitted royalists against parliamentarians, Charles I was executed. While Scotland declared Charles II king, England’s parliament steered the country into what became the “Commonwealth of England,” with Oliver Cromwell as “Lord Protector.” In 1660, the monarchy was restored with Charles II on the throne. Ackroyd ends at the Glorious Revolution—when William III (William of Orange) overthrew James II after yet more religious upheaval—having left no stone unturned. Addressing politics, religion, court life, scandal, science, literature, and art, the depth and scope of Ackroyd’s account is impressive, and it is as accessible as it is rich. [em](Nov.) [/em]