CROMWELL: A Profile by Ivan -- Ed. Roots

CROMWELL: A Profile

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Ten essays on God's Englishman by some noted historians of 17th-century England including Trevor-Roper and Christopher Hill, perhaps the foremost scholars of the complex relationship between religion and politics during the tumultous period of the English Civil War and the Protectorate. The collection, which is generally excellent, features a rather curious introduction by the editor; he endorses Milton's view of Cromwell as ""Our chief of men"" while pointing out that some of the Protector's greatest achievements were in fact the work of others -- ""he has survived all demonstrations of how little he really did."" The chief focus of the essays selected here is on Cromwell's religious ideas, notably the Puritan doctrine of ""necessity"" and how it was translated into political terms becoming the rationale for the execution of Charles I and the Instrument of Government which made Cromwell Lord Protector of the realm. A thoughtful piece by Roger Crabtree departs somewhat from this view by pointing to the secular justifications for Cromwell's foreign policy hitherto seen as anachronistic and Elizabethan. Regrettably there is very little in the collection which touches on Cromwell's policies in Ireland -- that one great blight on his reputation. But with this exception the collection should prove invaluable to serious students of Puritan England.

Pub Date: Aug. 31st, 1973
Publisher: Hill & Wang