Tag Archives: English Civil War

London is a roost for every bird… Benjamin Disraeli

1700 : scenes from London life  Maureen Waller  New York : Four Walls Eight Windows, 2000  Hardcover. 1st American ed. and printing. vii, 388 p. : ill., 1 map ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 333-350) and index.  Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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Waller captures the grit and excitement of London in 1700. Combining investigative reporting with popular history, she portrays London’s teeming, sprawling urban life and creates a brilliant cultural map of a city poised between medievalism and empire.

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London rising : the men who made modern London  Leo Hollis  New York : Walker & Co., 2008  Hardcover. 1st U.S. ed. and printing. x, 390 p., [8] p. of plates : ill., maps ; 25 cm.  Includes bibliographical references and index.  Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

By the middle of the seventeenth century, London was on the verge of collapse. Its ancient infrastructure could no longer support its explosive growth; the English Civil War had torn society apart; and in 1665 the capital was struck by a plague that claimed 100,000 lives. And then, the following year, the Great Fire destroyed huge swaths of the city. As Leo Hollis recounts in his stirring history of the period, modern London was born out of this crucible.

Among the catalysts for this rebirth were five extraordinary men, each deeply influenced by the Civil War, whose intersecting lives form the heart of London Rising: famed philosopher John Locke, whose ideas about the individual would outline a new theory of civil society based on natural rights; diarist John Evelyn, who insightfully chronicled the tumult and transformation before him; the polymathic scientist and architect Robert Hooke; developer Nicholas Barbon, who rebuilt much of the city after the fire; and Christoper Wren, astronomer, geometer, and the greatest English architect of his time, whose reconstruction of St. Paul’s Cathedral was the essential symbol of London’s rebirth. The city today is in great part the result of the myriad advances in literature, planning, science, and social issues forged by these five.

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Judge me for my own merits, or lack of them, but do not look upon me as a mere appendage to this great general or that great scholar, this star that shines at the court of France or that famed author. I am in my own right a whole person, responsible to myself alone for all that I am, all that I say, all that I do. it may be that there are metaphysicians and philosophers whose learning is greater than mine, although I have not met them. Yet, they are but frail humans, too, and have their faults; so, when I add the sum total of my graces, I confess I am inferior to no one… Gabrielle Emilie le Tonnelier de Breteuil

Mad Madge : the extraordinary life of Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, the first woman to live by her pen  Katie Whitaker  New York : Basic Books, c 2002  Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xv, 416 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 393-406) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

For a seventeenth-century Englishwoman, Margaret (Lucas) Cavendish did the unprecedented – she published her writing. Her extraordinary life unfolded during the English Civil Wars, when she was exiled to Paris and Antwerp as a Royalist seeking refuge from Cromwell’s England, and later as mistress of her husband’s estate in Newcastle after the restoration of the monarchy.

In exile, she began to write and publish her poetry and essays, influenced by a Royalist cultural world that included Hobbes and Descartes. Despite the scandal her writing life caused, she eventually brought out thirteen books, ranging from Poems and Fancies, the first book of poetry published by a woman under her own name, to Blazing World, the first science fiction by a woman.

A lively biography and a window on the tumultuous cultural life of the seventeenth century, Mad Madge reveals there may well have been a “Judith Shakespeare” centuries before Virginia Woolf exhorted women to find “a room of one’s own.” Whitaker draws on the extensive collection of Margaret’s letters and legal papers to draw a vibrant and complete picture of the pioneering “Mad Madge.”

La dame d’esprit : a biography of the Marquise Du Chatelet  Judith P. Zinsser  New York : Viking, c 2006  Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. viii, 376 p. : ill. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [352]-365) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

In the early 1600s, Francis Bacon could encompass all knowledge of both the physical and the metaphysical in a single term: natural philosophy. Over the next two hundred years, however, natural philosophy gradually split into philosophy-the study of first causes and ways of knowing-and science-the study of the material world, based on direct observation and verifiable experiment.

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Science was not initially an exclusively masculine domain. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, women received doctorates in physics and taught at universities. They corresponded with Descartes and dared to question his premises and conclusions. In astronomy, they worked side-by-side with men to make observations and calculate cometary orbits. They not only translated and illustrated scientific works but published original syntheses and reports based on their own research.

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Gabrielle Emilie le Tonnelier de Breteuil was born to the highest circles of the French aristocracy, married a marquis at the age of eighteen, and indulged in all the pleasures of her class. Then at twenty-seven, defying convention, she became the mistress of poet and playwright Voltaire, embarking on an extraordinary and transformative intellectual journey as his patroness, his lover, and his companion. Zinsser vividly explores how the Marquise Du Châtelet transformed herself from courtier, wife, and mother into one of the leading intellects of the French Enlightenment.

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Freed by her wealth and status to pursue a life of the mind, Du Châtelet developed swiftly into an accomplished mathematician, physicist, translator, and author of original works of philosophy and science. At the end of her life, pregnant by a young new lover, she raced to complete her translation and commentary on Newton’s Principia. The only woman of the Enlightenment to be recognized for her genius, Du Châtelet was centuries ahead of her time.

Comments Off on Judge me for my own merits, or lack of them, but do not look upon me as a mere appendage to this great general or that great scholar, this star that shines at the court of France or that famed author. I am in my own right a whole person, responsible to myself alone for all that I am, all that I say, all that I do. it may be that there are metaphysicians and philosophers whose learning is greater than mine, although I have not met them. Yet, they are but frail humans, too, and have their faults; so, when I add the sum total of my graces, I confess I am inferior to no one… Gabrielle Emilie le Tonnelier de Breteuil

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Necessity hath no law. Feigned necessities, imaginary necessities . . . are the greatest cozenage that men can put upon the Providence of God, and make pretences to break known rules by… Oliver Cromwell

“You have sat too long for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!” Oliver Cromwell

“You have sat too long for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!” Oliver Cromwell

In a free republic : life in Cromwell’s England  Alison Plowden  Stroud : Sutton, 2006  Hardcover. 1st ed. xiii, 225 p., [8] p. of plates : ill., ports. ; 25 cm.  Includes bibliographical references (p. 211-216) and index.  Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG   

“I desire you would use all your skill to paint my picture freely like me, and not flatter me at all; but remark all these roughnesses, pimples, warts and everything as you see me, otherwise I will never pay a farthing for it” Oliver Cromwell

“I desire you would use all your skill to paint my picture freely like me, and not flatter me at all; but remark all these roughnesses, pimples, warts and everything as you see me, otherwise I will never pay a farthing for it” Oliver Cromwell

Presents a study of life during the Interregnum: the unique period in England‘s history, when it was a commonwealth, from 1649-1660. Drawing on contemporary memoirs, diaries, letters, newspapers and state papers, this book aims to reveal what family life, religion, culture and literacy, trade, domestic life, health were under the Commonwealth.

“We will cut off his (the king's) head with the crown on it” Oliver Cromwell

“We will cut off his (the king’s) head with the crown on it” Oliver Cromwell

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Never make a defense or apology before you are accused… Charles I

No one who knows me would feel the need to ask why I would admire a family that had a centuries-long practice of saving every piece of paper that came into their possession. Although the portraits of the family seem to present something of a cautionary tale. We go from the old soldier to the modern fop and from the lady of substance – one of the Verney’s was the sister of Florence Nightingale who is pictured with her – to the dowager who looks like one of Bertie Wooster’s aunts. Regardless of what has become of the family – or of England for that matter – the book is a great read.

The Verneys : a true story of love, war, and madness in seventeenth-century England  Adrian Tinniswood  London : Jonathan Cape, 2007  Hardcover. xxii, 570 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [535]-546) and index.  Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

The remarkable story of one English family during the tumultuous seventeenth century, as revealed through their original letters and documents, which paint an extraordinarily accurate and detailed picture of life in England, Europe, and even the American colonies.

“To know the Verneys is to know the seventeenth century,” Adrian Tinniswood writes in this brilliant new book. The Verney family‘s centuries-long practice of saving every piece of paper that came into their possession -amassing some 100,000 pages of family and estate letters and documents -resulted in the largest and most complete private collection of seventeenth-century correspondence in the Western world to date.

Given exclusive access to these documents, Tinniswood draws a sweeping portrait of the Verneys and the world among Buckinghamshire gentry in which they lived. In vivid detail Tinniswood introduces us to generations of the family: We meet Edmund Verney, King Charles I’s standard bearer, who died in battle during the English Civil War in 1642 (his hand still clutching the king’s standard).

Edmund’s son and heir, Ralph, struggled to hold the family together after his father’s death, but lost the respect of his brothers and sisters because he alone of the family supported the Parliamentarian cause. Parliament, however, suspicious of his royalist connections, hounded him and his family into exile.

Ralph’s sons fared both better and worse than their father: Jack went to Syria and made a fortune, while Edmund married a girl who was rich, beautiful, and deeply in love with him – but within months of the marriage she succumbed to insanity.

Rigorously researched, intensely insightful, and alive with drama, The Verneys is narrative history at its very best: fascinating, surprising, and enthralling.

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To rule the waves : how the British Navy shaped the modern world

To rule the waves : how the British Navy shaped the modern world      Arthur Herman  Great Britain. Royal Navy History  New York, NY : HarperCollins, c 2004 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xix, 648 p. : maps ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 571-621) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text.  VG/VG

To Rule the Waves tells the extraordinary story of how Britain’s Royal Navy allowed one nation to rise to power unprecedented in history. From its beginnings under Henry VIII and adventurers like John Hawkins and Francis Drake, the Royal Navy toppled one world economic system, built by Spain and Portugal after Christopher Columbus, and ushered in another — the one in which we still live today.

In the sixteenth century, such men as Hawkins, Drake, and Martin Frobisher were all seekers after their own fortunes as well as servants of their nation. But at the moment of crisis in 1588, they were able to come together to thwart Philip II of Spain and his supposedly invincible Armada. In the seventeenth century, the navy became the key to victory in the English Civil War and played a leading role on the world stage in the years of the Commonwealth and Oliver Cromwell’s Protectorate. The navy’s dominance allowed England’s trade to boom and prosper. It sustained its colonies, reshaped its politics, and drew England, Scotland, and Ireland together into a single United Kingdom.

It was this system that Napoleon had to break in order to make himself absolute master of Europe. And it was the Royal Navy, led by men like Horatio Nelson, that stopped him in his tracks and preserved the liberty of Europe and the rest of the world. That global order would survive the convulsions of the twentieth century and the downfall of the British Empire itself, as Britain passed its essential elements on to its successors, the United States and its navy.

Illuminating and engrossing, To Rule the Waves is an epic journey from the age of the Reformation to the age of computer warfare and special ops. Arthur Herman tells the spellbinding tale of great battles at sea; of heroic sailors, admirals, and aviators; of violent conflict and personal tragedy; of the way one mighty institution forged a nation, an empire, and a new world.

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