Fenmen

Ronald Hutton

  • Fenland Riots and the English Revolution by Keith Lindley
    Heinemann, 259 pp, £16.50, March 1982, ISBN 0 435 32535 3
  • Commonwealth to Protectorate by Austin Woolrych
    Oxford, 433 pp, £22.50, March 1982, ISBN 0 19 822659 4

In previous centuries most histories of the English Revolution were coloured by the rival ideologies of Royalist and Roundhead. In the past few generations the division has tended to be drawn instead between the followers of Karl Marx and those of Samuel Gardiner, between those who see political action as an expression of tensions within society as a whole and those who see the vital political events as occurring at the centre and echoing in the provinces. The two latest books upon the period represent, in very different ways, the latest developments in the second tradition. Both possess other similarities, which mark them as belonging to the same stage in the life of man as historian. Both are monographs, produced by professionals with a long career of research behind them, basing their work on an analysis of all surviving sources for their subjects. Both, moreover, display what I might term ‘the growth of consensus politics among Civil War historians’, establishing their work in a sequence produced by those with whom they differ only on details.

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