Spartacus Review

Volume 14: 10th March, 2008

English Civil War

Title: War in England 1642-1649

Author: Barbara Donagan


Publisher: Oxford University Press

Price: £55.00

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: English Civil War


A fresh approach to the English civil war, War in England 1642-1649 focuses on answering a misleadingly simple question: what kind of war was it to live through? Eschewing descriptions of specific battles or analyses of political and religious developments, Barbara Donagan examines the 'texture' of war, addressing questions such as: what did Englishmen and women believe about war and know about its practice before 1642? What were the conditions in which a soldier fought - for example, how efficient was his musket (not very), and how did he know where he was going (much depended on the reliability of scouts and spies)? What were the rules that were supposed to govern conduct in war, and how were they enforced (by a combination of professional peer pressure and severe but discretionary army discipline and courts martial)? What were the officers and men of the armies like, and how well did they fight? The book deals even-handedly with royalists and parliamentarians, examining how much they had in common, as well as discussing the points on which they differed.

Title: The Digger Movement

Author: Lewis H. Berens


Publisher: Merlin Press

Price: £14.95

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: Gerrard Winstanley


In April 1649 two 'Diggers', Gerrard Winstanley and William Everard, appeared in Whitehall before the leader of the army, Lord Fairfax, to declare that deliverance was at hand. "God is bringing his people out of slavery. Freedom is restored." This book surveys radical thinking arising from the Reformation, and writings that pressed for the rights to land. It includes important selected texts: Digger Manifestoes; The Appeal to the House of Commons; The Watchword to the City of London; and Winstanley's 'Utopia'. Lewis H. Berens was a Quaker whose study of Winstanley was first published in 1906.