Rebellion The history of England, from James I to the Glorious Revolution

Peter Ackroyd, 1949-

Book - 2014

Examines the Stuart dynasty during a turbulent seventeenth century marked by civil war, the execution of Charles I, the rule of Oliver Cromwell, and the deposition and exile of James II.

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New York, N.Y. : Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin's Press 2014.
First U.S. edition
Item Description
First published in Great Britain by Macmillan as a set, complete in 6 volumes, under the common title The history of England. Rebellion is volume 3, which, in the Macmillan set, was entitled Civil war.
Physical Description
ix, 502 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 471-479) and index.
Main Author
Peter Ackroyd, 1949- (author)
  • A new Solomon
  • The plot
  • The beacons
  • The god of money
  • The angel
  • The vapours
  • What news?
  • A Bohemian tragedy
  • The Spanish travellers
  • An interlude
  • Vivat Rex
  • A fall from grace
  • Take that slime away
  • I am the man
  • The crack of doom
  • The shrimp
  • Sudden flashings
  • Venture all
  • A great and dangerous treason
  • Madness and fury
  • A world of change
  • Worse and worse news
  • A world of mischief
  • Neither hot nor cold
  • The gates of Hell
  • The women of war
  • The face of God
  • The mansion of liberty
  • A game to play
  • To kill a king
  • This house to be let
  • Fear and trembling
  • Healing and settling
  • Is it possible?
  • The young gentleman
  • Oh, prodigious change!
  • On the road
  • To rise and piss
  • And not dead yet?
  • The true force
  • Hot news
  • New infirmities
  • Or at the Cock?
  • Noise rhymes to noise
  • The Protestant wind.
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Ackroyd is an award-winning novelist, broadcaster, and historian. In the third volume of his projected six-volume history of England, his subject is the tumultuous seventeenth century, which encompassed the rise of the Stuart dynasty, the continued artistic flowering launched in the Elizabethan Age, a ruinous civil war, and the triumph of parliamentary supremacy under the banner of the Glorious Revolution. Ackroyd is a wonderful storyteller, and he has a wonderful and vitally important story to tell. At times, he employs the "great man" approach, providing excellent insights into the character and motivations of several of the prime movers of events, including the awkward, intelligent James I; the tragically tone-deaf, doomed Charles I; and Charles' nemesis, the distinctly unlovable Oliver Cromwell. But Ackroyd also understands that what he refers to as the "poetry of history" can be written in short strokes as well as broad. He eloquently describes the development of literature, the ongoing religious controversies, and the evolving political sympathies and their effects on the lives and opinions of ordinary citizens. Although general readers in the U.S. may find some of the names and places unfamiliar, this masterful work of popular history will remind them that the ideas that launched our own revolution were forged during this seminal period of English history. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Choice Reviews

Master storyteller Ackroyd's third study in his projected six-volume history of England picks up where he left off in Tudors: The History of England from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I (CH, May'14, 51-5226).  This straightforward narrative chronicling the years from 1603 to 1689 details England's turbulent 17th century.  From the union of the crowns of England and Scotland under James I through the ensuing growth of parliamentary discord, civil war, and regicide, to the eventual accession of William of Orange during the Glorious Revolution, the author paints a vivid portrait of the peaks and valleys of the Stuart age.  As a matter of course, Ackroyd delivers a colorful, anecdotal history that is highly accessible to general readers.  While Tim Harris's similarly titled Rebellion: Britain's First Stuart Kings, 1567-1642 (CH, Oct'14, 52-1045) appears to cover comparable ground, it is more academic in nature and focuses primarily on the development of the Stuart monarchy and the reasons for its eventual collapse under Charles I.  Both studies have their respective audiences, and therefore a place in the same collection.  This volume includes more than 30 high quality illustrations. Summing Up: Recommended. General collections/public libraries. --M. Frasier-Robinson, University of Southern Mississippi Michele Frasier-Robinson University of Southern Mississippi Copyright 2014 American Library Association.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Agitation was in the air throughout 17th-century England, and Ackroyd skillfully captures the feelings and events of the time in this third volume of his history of England (following Tudors: The History of England from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I). The narrative opens with the merging of England and Scotland under one monarch, James I, whose massive gluttony Ackroyd contrasts with the dire finances of the country as a whole. There existed a "gulf between king and country," as the author describes it, which only widened during the reign of James I's successor, Charles I, due to wars with Spain and France. Following great financial distress and a civil war that pitted royalists against parliamentarians, Charles I was executed. While Scotland declared Charles II king, England's parliament steered the country into what became the "Commonwealth of England," with Oliver Cromwell as "Lord Protector." In 1660, the monarchy was restored with Charles II on the throne. Ackroyd ends at the Glorious Revolution—when William III (William of Orange) overthrew James II after yet more religious upheaval—having left no stone unturned. Addressing politics, religion, court life, scandal, science, literature, and art, the depth and scope of Ackroyd's account is impressive, and it is as accessible as it is rich. (Nov.) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Examines the Stuart dynasty during a turbulent seventeenth century marked by civil war, the execution of Charles I, the rule of Oliver Cromwell, and the deposition and exile of James II.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A latest volume in the award-winning author's series covers the Stuart dynasty during a turbulent 17th century marked by three civil wars, citing the roles of such figures as James VI, Charles I and Oliver Cromwell.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Peter Ackroyd has been praised as one of the greatest living chroniclers of Britain and its people. In Rebellion, he continues his dazzling account of the history of England, beginning with the progress south of the Scottish king, James VI, who on the death of Elizabeth I became the first Stuart king of England, and ending with the deposition and flight into exile of his grandson, James II.The Stuart monarchy brought together the two nations of England and Scotland into one realm, albeit a realm still marked by political divisions that echo to this day. More importantly, perhaps, the Stuart era was marked by the cruel depredations of civil war, and the killing of a king. Shrewd and opinionated, James I was eloquent on matters as diverse as theology, witchcraft, and the abuses of tobacco, but his attitude to the English parliament sowed the seeds of the division that would split the country during the reign of his hapless heir, Charles I. Ackroyd offers a brilliant, warts-and-all portrayal of Charles's nemesis, Oliver Cromwell, Parliament's great military leader and England's only dictator, who began his career as a political liberator but ended it as much of a despot as "that man of blood," the king he executed.England's turbulent seventeenth century is vividly laid out before us, but so too is the cultural and social life of the period, notable for its extraordinarily rich literature, including Shakespeare's late masterpieces, Jacobean tragedy, the poetry of John Donne and Milton and Thomas Hobbes's great philosophical treatise, Leviathan. In addition to its account of England's royalty, Rebellion also gives us a very real sense of the lives of ordinary English men and women, lived out against a backdrop of constant disruption and uncertainty.