Almost a quarter of a million lives were lost as King and Parliament battled for their religious and political ideals in the English Civil War. England was divided between Cavaliers and Roundheads engaged in bitter struggles from Preston to Lostwithiel, Pembroke to York. Armies were on the march, villages were decimated and great dynasties destroyed: fathers and sons, uncles and cousins were pitted against each other in defence of their loyalties. The civil war led to the execution of a king, the beginnings of sectarian division in Ireland, savage clan warfare in Scotland and the roots of English socialism.
Tristram Hunt avoids adding to the many, mostly transitory interpretations of the civil war and instead offers a timeless narrative based on the first-hand accounts of those who witnessed these traumatic events. In doing so he brings out the voices of the civil war generation - those who lost sons, who witnessed massacres and who fought for an ideal. In this book we see their motivations, fears and misery as the horror of war overwhelmed them. From Cromwell's letters to the memoirs of a Roundhead wife the civil war era is brought to life in all its terrible and fascinating glory.