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God's Englishman: Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution
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God's Englishman: Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  145 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
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 brin ...more
Paperback, 324 pages
Published October 30th 1990 (first published 1970)
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MadgeUK
Jul 08, 2010 MadgeUK rated it really liked it
The late Christopher Hill was possibly England's greatest historian of the Civil War and of Oliver Cromwell in particular. For those who wish to learn more about this period I thoroughly recommend this well written, lucid history of a period which saw the birth of many political ideas which we value today. It will also help to explain the political background, not often appreciated, of Cromwell's chief propagandist, John Milton, the poet, and his comments on the various Parliaments of this perio ...more
Anna
Unfortunately I can’t give this the review it deserves, as I don’t have it with me to refer to. Perhaps this will prove a test of how memorable the contents were? In any event, I’d only read one other book about Cromwell and found this one fascinating. It was published in 1970 (or 1971?) and has remained very readable, with only a couple of slightly dated references. It covers the life of Oliver Cromwell chronologically, before devoting two chapters to his religious beliefs and influence upon hi ...more
Richard Bartholomew
A bit donnish and heavy-going in places if don't enjoy easy familiarity with the field, but worth the effort nonetheless. It puts Cromwell in his historical and international context , and corrects a few common misconceptions. According to Hill, the idea that Cromwell led a "Puritan revolution" is something of a distortion - wine still flowed during the Commonwealth and opera was performed. Cromwell also apparently wasn't too keen in capital punishment, and political gains against the Dutch outw ...more
Edward Waverley
Aug 21, 2013 Edward Waverley marked it as to-read
[Rushdoony] Well didn’t Cromwell do a great deal to destroy churches? ...this is a common impression. Now just to cite one authority alone, Dr. Christopher Hill, a historian at Oxford, who would not share my theology for a moment. He is one of the great experts on seventeenth century, has written several books on the subject, including one on Cromwell alone. And he states, with regard to the destruction of churches, that there was some destruction by the soldiers, the Puritan soldiers, after the ...more
Simon Wood
Sep 13, 2013 Simon Wood rated it it was amazing
"INDEED THERE ARE HISTORIES THAT DO GIVE YOU A NARRATIVE"

Was what Oliver Cromwell told the Barebones Parliament before going onto declare that what really mattered was "those things wherein the life and power of them lay". In Christopher Hills biography of Cromwell - "God's Englishman" - he attempts to do both: tell the story of Cromwell and the English Revolution, as well as looking behind the story to see within what context those momentous events occurred, and to look at the ideas and forces
...more
Nelson
Feb 21, 2013 Nelson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In his final chapter of this masterful biography of Cromwell, Hill reviews three hundred years of scholarship on his subject, and has this to say of Samuel Rawson Gardiner's writing on Cromwell: "Masterly in detail, irreplaceable in learning, perfect in literary sense and knack of apt quotation." Hill could be describing his own book. It goes without saying that Hill brings his own Marxist slant to the significance of Cromwell and his times. This political approach to the life, however, has the ...more
4triplezed
Apr 28, 2016 4triplezed rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, england
Interesting but not to my taste. Christopher Hill no doubt forgot more in his life time about Cromwell than I would have read but the class struggles of recent times for me were not the same as those of the Civil wars of Great Britain and Ireland. For mine the struggle was religious. Class had less impact. I also found that this book read as several essays pieced together as opposed to a narrative. I am in the minority in this view and would never suggest that others with an interest in Cromwell ...more
Luke
Nov 05, 2015 Luke rated it liked it
It is a well written biography and generally is a good introduction to Cromwell. You get a feel to the man he is and the conditions of the country he was raised in. It serves well in this respect and indeed in drawing the picture of Cromwell. However in parts the events are a little unclear in their significance and I would say that to maximise your reading you would need to have background knowledge of the English Civil War and the significant events to understand the references more clearly th ...more
umberto
Aug 16, 2015 umberto marked it as to-read
Shelves: biography
This book was the start of our friendship between Aziza and me. I first met her as my Australian great reader and book collector in a bookshop when she saw this book on the floor and said Oh, I read this book. I was a bit surprised so after a brief introduction, we became friends and one day she kindly took me to the city (Brisbane) to visit some good second-hand bookshops because I told her I rarely found few of them there in 1999.
Josh
Jul 15, 2013 Josh rated it it was ok
Good, though a bit dry. If you know something about the period already, this would be a very insightful book, and it's probably gold for an historian of the period. For someone like me, with a basic knowledge of some of the events, it was a bit dense.
Fazackerly Toast
Mar 06, 2015 Fazackerly Toast rated it liked it
Shelves: history
well, I'll be honest, I think you need more knowledge than vague recollections of A level history 1603-1688 30 years ago to get the most out of this book, but it's certainly whetted my appetite for more Oliver. Charles Firth's biography apparently is the one to go for.
Joseph Landau
Feb 06, 2015 Joseph Landau rated it really liked it
Very good, but you need a pretty good background on the period, or you'll miss many of the references.
Joel
Apr 11, 2015 Joel rated it liked it
Christopher Hill was a Marxist and this show through in his fascination with revolution. Nevertheless, this book is a fairly balanced look at Cromwell and his times. It is well worth reading.
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John Edward Christopher Hill was the pre-eminent historian of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English history, and one of the most distinguished historians of recent times. Fellow historian E.P. Thompson once referred to him as the dean and paragon of English historians.

He was educated at Balliol College, Oxford. During World War II, he served in the Russian department of the British Foreign Of
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