The Royalist War Effort, 1642-1646

The Royalist War Effort, 1642-1646

The Royalist War Effort, 1642-1646

The Royalist War Effort, 1642-1646

Synopsis

The English Civil War remains the most prolonged and traumatic example of internal violence in the history of the state. The Royalist War Effort, 1642-1646 shows the build up to the outbreak of the war, detailing how the war was fought, and how, ultimately, it was won and lost.In his new introduction to this second edition, Ronald Hutton places his vivid account of the Royalist war effort into modern historical context, bringing the reader up-to-date with recent developments in the study of the English civil war. He analyses the influences which affected his own interpretation of events, ensuring that The Royalist War Effort, 1642-1646 remains the most informative and compelling account of the Royalist experience in the English civil war.

Excerpt

This book was a product of the years from 1976 to 1980, a period which, though now only twenty years in the past, seems already to belong to another age of historiography. The body of objective information provided in it has stood the test of time well enough to make a fresh edition worthwhile, but the context of scholarship in which it operates has altered in major respects, and the purpose of this new introduction is to provide a personal view of those alterations, and of the whole changing field of Civil War studies in the 1980s and 1990s.

In one crucial respect little has altered at all; that historiographically the Royalists remain the poor relations of the Parliamentarians. Overwhelmingly, the academic historians of the Civil War have continued to concentrate upon the latter, exactly as they had done for the past hundred years. This emphasis has united the majority of those who have worked on the field since 1970, including figures as disparate in their age-group and religious and political attitudes as Christopher Hill, Austin Woolrych, Willie Lamont, Gerald Aylmer, Ivan Roots, Donald Pennington, John Morrill, Blair Worden, Clive Holmes, Anthony Fletcher, Robert Ashton, Ann Hughes, Ian Gentles, Stephen Roberts, Mark Kishlansky and John Adamson. In its ‘hard’ form, this tendency has consisted of an open antipathy towards the King’s adherents and sympathy towards their opponents; more commonly it has taken a ‘soft’ form, of paying far more attention to the Parliamentarians and treating them as both more significant and more normative for the history of the war. Why this bias should be so deeply embedded in English (and American) historiography is a question which needs a study in itself, and one which would be the more difficult and potentially offensive in that the prejudice seems to be unconscious. It is, however, one which is starting to be acknowledged; in a review in The Times Literary Supplement on 29th January 1999 Blair Worden stated bluntly that for over a century historians of the Civil War ‘have been writing about, and mainly for, the winning side’.

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