Saturday, March 7, 2015

Rebellion: The History of England from James I to the Glorious Revolution by Peter Ackroyd (2014)

Factoid:  from what I can gather, Peter Ackroyd is gay.

Oliver Cromwell Speech - Dissolution of the Long Parliament
Dissolution of the Long Parliament by Oliver Cromwell given to the House of Commons, 20 April 1653
It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter'd your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?
Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil'd this sacred place, and turn'd the Lord's temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress'd, are yourselves gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.

In the name of God, go!

It's interesting how all revolutions at some basic level are about money.  British Civil War:  taxes (and poor government).  American:  taxes.  French:  aristocracy (division of wealth).  Russian:  aristocracy.


I didn't enjoy this one quite as well as the other two I read in this series of English history.  For one thing, I'm not a huge fan of this time period.  Another, the time periods Ackroyd was writing about were more people driven, and thus more personal; the Civil War and Glorious Revolution were at some level more politically driven, and the stories associated with them aren't quite as interesting.  Although, perhaps they should be and Ackroyd can be faulted for this, I don't know.  All I know is that it took a helluva lot longer to read this book than the previous ones, and I kept wanting to put it down.  

There were some interesting asides.  Men cried very easily back then apparently; the entire House of Commons was crying at one point.  Another guy was quoted as saying "The Devil shits Dutchmen" which I thought was a humorous turn of phrase, one that I'd love to use sometime in the future.  The Devil shits.... Bros.  Kardashians.  Bad drivers.  People who cut in line.  Loud people in restaurants.  Babies on plains.  Bitchy flight attendants.  People with too much plastic surgery.  Mean Christians.  Tea Party republicans who hate gay people.  The list can go on and on...

Rebellion: The History of England from James I to the Glorious Revolution (The History of England, #3)Rebellion: The History of England from James I to the Glorious Revolution by Peter Ackroyd
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don't like reading about this time period as much as I do the Middle Ages or the Tudors, so I didn't like this book quite as much as Foundation or Tudors.  It didn't have the same regular injections of interesting tidbits either.  It was a good book, but heavier, and not as fun.

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