Cover image for The British Civil War : the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, 1638-1660
The British Civil War : the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, 1638-1660
Royle, Trevor, 1945-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Palgrave Macmillan, [2004]

Physical Description:
xiii, 888 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DA415 .R69 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The entirety of the British Civil War has never been covered in a single volume--until now. While it is usually seen as an English conflict, Royle paints the picture on a large canvas to show that it engulfed the entirety of Great Britain. While the war began as the result of the Scots' unwillingness to accept Charles I's prayer book, their obstinacy inspired the Irish Catholics to rise against their English and Scot oppressors with the result that fourteen years internecine fighting was to be the norm for these islands. This is grand narrative military history at its best and a monumental achievement.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Royle, a prolific military historian with more than 25 books on the British Commonwealth to his credit, has done it again. His latest study is a grim indictment of the British Civil War (1638-60) in particular and of wars rooted in irreconcilable differences among men, nations, and religions in general. The full horror of this savage period-which resulted in a death toll now pegged at over a half million in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, far beyond that ever before imagined-is ably rendered by a master storyteller. Royle's detailed profiles of despots, both Royalist and Parliamentarian, are written with a remarkable understanding for both sides-and not a whit of compassion for either. One account in particular stands out: the unspeakable horror inflicted on the Irish at Drogheda and Wexford. A warning: the unrelenting awfulness can be overwhelming. Though far out of the casual reader's reach, this is surely the definitive book on this period and will set the standard for military writers for decades to come. Highly recommended for academic libraries and libraries with strong British military collections.-Gail Benjafield, St. Catharines P.L., Ont. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

The civil wars still exert a powerful hold upon the imagination, and with good reason: the fierce conflict of Cavalier and Roundhead; the rise to power of the dauntless Puritan hero, Oliver Cromwell; and the execution of the tragically flawed but noble Stuart King Charles I, have become part of a national epic. Royle has written a captivating drum-and-trumpet military history, replete with superb sketches of the commanding figures of the age. Though informed by wide reading in secondary literature and some trenchant forays into the original sources, Royle fails to render the complexity of the political and religious scene, and thus proves unable to explain why compromise failed and struggle continued, even after Royalist defeat in 1646 and 1648. In brief, the limning of personality rather than the exposition of ideas is this author's forte. Readers who enjoy accounts of battles and high drama will find much to enthrall them. Serious students of the period will want to add Austin Woolrych's Britain in Revolution, 1625-1660 (CH, Oct'03) to their reading list. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. General and undergraduate collections. D. R. Bisson Belmont University