Providence Lost: The Rise and Fall of Cromwell's Protectorate (Hardback)
  • Providence Lost: The Rise and Fall of Cromwell's Protectorate (Hardback)
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Providence Lost: The Rise and Fall of Cromwell's Protectorate (Hardback)

(author)
£30.00
Hardback 352 Pages
Published: 09/01/2020

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Having won two civil wars, conquered Ireland and Scotland and seen off Charles II, in 1653 Oliver Cromwell assumed the title Lord Protector. The same Protestant wind that had filled the sails of Drake's ships in 1588 was surely behind him.

Determined to avenge the loss of the Puritan colony of Providence Island, he decided to take on the Spanish in the New World; but an assault on the island of Hispaniola proved a disaster.

To Cromwell, obsessed with God's plan for an elect nation, this was a grievous blow. Concluding that God had deserted him because his domestic reforms had not gone far enough, he introduced the hardline puritan rule of the Major-Generals. Sectarianism and fundamentalism ran riot; Levellers and royalists joined together in conspiracy against Cromwell. The only way out seemed to be a return to the Parliament presided over by a King. But would Cromwell accept the crown?

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781781852569
Number of pages: 352
Dimensions: 234 x 153 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

Briskly paced and elegantly written, Providence Lost provides us with a first-class ticket to this Cromwellian world of achievement, paradox and contradiction. Few guides take us so directly, or so sympathetically, into the imaginative worlds of that tumultuous decade - John Adamson, Sunday Times

Providence Lost is a learned, lucid, wry and compelling narrative of the 1650s as well as a sensitive portrayal of a man unravelled by providence - Jessie Childs, Guardian

In telling us what Cromwell believed, Lay helps us to understand the man, but his witty and incisive book is also a reminder why the English, in particular, hate the bossy pieties of the puritanical elite, and distrust radicalism - The Times

Lay offers a vivid, clear and highly engrossing narrative of these fast moving and complicated events - Financial Times

An enlightening study of the often overlooked rule of Oliver Cromwell - Sunday Telegraph

A book for the general reader, based on a thorough knowledge of the sources, and written with perceptiveness as well as narrative zest – a lively, attention-holding account of what is surely the strangest decade in British history - Sunday Telegraph

A superb summary of the ebbs and flows of the Interregnum, a strangely 'lost' decade - Herald

[An] absorbing and beautifully written book - BBC History Magazine

A readable and witty guide to England's republican interregnum - The Times.

A highly readable book, full of wit, sober thought and scholarly rigour - Observer.

A spirited and vivid survey of the brief period in which Cromwell held the dangerously ill-defined role of "lord protector" - New Statesman

A history of Cromwell's republic that contends this was actually a period of intense creativity - Sunday Times

Fascinating new history of the English interregnum - Sunday Times

A compelling and exciting account of a critical period in early modern British history - New Books Network

A brilliant aid to understanding modern Britain and, indirectly, the United States; the lessons of the Protectorate were not lost on the founding fathers - Catholic Herald

Told in gripping fashion; each chapter is filled with enough intrigue to fuel a TV soap opera. The various warring factions are explained with vigour and clarity, while lesser-known events, such as a failed attempt to assassinate Cromwell, are packed with detail - Discover Britain

Paul Lay is bracing and undeceived in his judgments... Lay shows us what a distinctive period it was, full of frenetic excursions and alarms but for most people not unendurable, shallow-rooted in the good sense... Lay treats each volcanic caprice of the Protector's with the amused scepticism it deserves, not struggling overmuch to discern some consistent purpose behind it' - London Review of Books

What Lay gives us is a warts-and-all picture of a man with the weaknesses of any other, and who struggled heroically to stabilise, and to attempt to unite, a country shattered by a decade of civil wars - The Critic Magazine

Cromwell's republic was more energetic than we thought, reveals this brisk study - Sunday Times

Fascinating - The Times

Interesting material on the rule of Cromwell's major generals and on the debate on the succession to Cromwell and the falling out with John Lambert, who had been seen as Cromwell's deputy - Chartist

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