I very much enjoyed this book. With that said, I enjoy most history books. I wasn’t sure if I would find this to my liking because of a certain distaste I have for English monarchs. What I found fascinating is the enormous struggle that went on between the forces of parliamentary democracy and the absolute authority of the Stuart Kings. In “Civil War” Peter Ackroyd lays out this bloody struggle in lucid detail. Of course this includes the English civil war and the emergence and fall of the republic under Oliver Cromwell.
In many respects this is a book about personal and religious freedom, and those who try to enforce their will and conformity through a top down dictatorial approach to governing. There is a deeper message here that is particularly relevant at the current time on both sides of the Atlantic.
There are some striking similarities between seventeenth century Britain and present day America. Particularly this includes the kind of polarization that can lead to armed clashes and civil war. Fortunately, this book ends with the victory of the people as they assert their collective will. Parliament ultimately triumphs over the reign of absolute monarchs and a military dictatorship. That’s an outcome worth celebrating, and for those who love history this is a book worth reading.
Warning: Contains some foul language and numerous instances of beheading and other forms of violence.