The English Civil War (1642-1651) started when Charles I raised his royal standard in Nottingham. The split between Charles and Parliament was such that neither side was willing to back down over the principles that they held and war was inevitable as a way in which all problems could be solved. The country split into those who supported the King and those who supported Parliament – the classic ingredients for a civil war. This blog will record my wargaming journey through the English Civil War using 28mm miniatures.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

The English Civil War, 1642-1651: An Illustrated Military History by Philip J. Haythornthwaite


The English Civil War 'Illustrated Military History' first saw light of day as a Blandford Press publication in 1983 - and unlike some of its contemporaries has stood the test of time, being in and out of print ever since. It is perhaps best described as a 'medium weight' volume with greater length and depth than an Osprey publication, but being considerably lighter than some of the academic works. As the notes at the end suggest its sources are a mixture of the better known primary material, and the more reliable secondary publications. 

Illustrations are one of the book's key strengths, being a mixture of new art work and reproductions of wood cuts, engravings, and photographs of objects. The chapters cover the causes of war; armies and organisation; tactics; chronology and course of the wars; uniforms, colours and standards. Its well put together, and my 1984 edition is still going strong after a quarter of a century. Research has advanced since then - but the vast majority of the content remains useful and accurate. 

An all round recommended volume: particularly if you are thinking you may want an economical, colourful, entertaining book which covers as much as possible about the military history of 1642-1651 in 'one hit'. 

Review by Stephen Bull (2007).

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