John Adamson offers a new and controversial view of the English Civil War based on a fresh study of contemporary documents. Unlike previous historians, he sees the origins of the war as an aristocratic rebellion against the monarchy following the Scottish Covenanters' occupation of England's northern counties in 1640. The military defeat of King Charles I was the 'very hinge' that lead to the emergence of a powerful group of aristocratic magnates intent on exploiting the political crisis to usurp the power of the monarchy for themselves. Out of this rebellion came the civil war and England was never the same again. This major new account of the English civil war elevates to pole position the Earl of Essex, who lead the parliamentary forces before Oliver Cromwell makes his mark. Adamson's account of Essex's state funeral - he died unexpectedly in 1545 - will become a classic. The funeral was modelled on that of King James I and cost more than 1m at 21st century values. Adamson's account of the war itself follows the fortunes of the aristocratic rebellion, the later emergence of Oliver Cromwell and families torn apart by their support for rival factions.
He counterpoints this with the military progress up and down the nation.
John Adamson is a Fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge, and has written extensively on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century political and cultural history. He is a winner of the Royal Historical Society's Alexander Prize and the University of Cambridge's Seeley Medal for History.