Adult/High School-This biography is an excellent way to introduce readers to this dynamic personality who came to dominate the British Isles in the 17th century, rising from fairly humble beginnings to do so. His influence ran from military to political to religious. Gaunt appreciates the man for the kinds of reasons that will resonate with modern readers, especially Cromwell's liberal attitude toward religious belief and observance, at least within Protestantism. The concentration on this aspect of his greatness does rather miss the point that his importance comes from his role in his own time and his effect on posterity, but this is still a well-designed introduction to a fascinating and important figure. The book has mainly color illustrations and a map that readers unfamiliar with English geography will find useful.-Ted Westervelt, Library of Congress, Washington, DC Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Two brief biographies of Oliver Cromwell and Sir Francis Drake continue the winning new series published by NYU Press in conjunction with the British Library. Written by specialists, these bright, concise biographies are nevertheless accessible to general readers and young people, making them enormously valuable. Gaunt, the author of numerous books on Cromwell and the British Civil War, is an engaging writer who takes the reader through Cromwell's life, campaigns, and Protectorate. Readers learn the basics about Cromwell and more. Not just a Puritan but a God-driven man, Cromwell might well be compared to George W. Bush. There are few extant records about Cromwell, and historians hotly debate many of the earlier works written about him. This "Cromwell Lite" demythologizes much of that literature and sets the record straight. Similarly, cartographic historian Whitfield indicates that the 19th- and 20th-century romanticizing of Sir Francis Drake is well off the mark. Drake's reported family history appears bogus; he was a privateer, willing to destroy friends for the sake of his ambitions, certainly flamboyant, and ultimately a flawed man. Again, though compact, this is an exciting and wholly convincing interpretation of an important British figure. Highly recommended for both public and academic libraries.-Gail Benjafield, St. Catharines P.L., Ont. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
"Clearly written, well organized and suffused with human interest, this new study will prove deservedly popular in sixth forms and university courses." "History" "This book is as disciplined, vivid and vigorous as the man it celebrates. Gaunt offers a convincing interpretation of Cromwell's life and a shrewd assessment of his achievement." "John Morrill, Vice Master and Reader in Early Modern History, Selwyn College, Cambridge" "A carefully written and well argued account." "The Times" "A new and controversial account of one of the pivotal figures in British history. This scholarly account is nonetheless interesting and informative."" Rachel Dickinson, Waterstone's, Richmond, in The Bookseller" "A concise but thick-textured and comprehensive reconsideration of a character, a career, a life and a reputation, making no claim to be definitive - each generation commands its own reappraisal - but ensured of an enduring place in the historiography." "Ivan Roots, C