About me

Picture credit: Colin McPherson

I am a historian of early modern Britain, and the author of A Radical History of Britain: Visionaries Rebels and Revolutionaries (Little, Brown, 2009). This offers the first single-volume narrative of British radicalism from Magna Carta to the present day. This blog is sort of about that book, though most of the posts, as you can see, range around pretty widely.

Amongst other things, I have published a popular history of the revolution of 1688-9, The Glorious Revolution: 1688 and Britain’s Fight for Liberty. For more on my books, please see the inventively titled My Books page on this blog.  Having taught at the Universities of Sheffield, Manchester and Liverpool, I am now Reader in Early Modern History at Roehampton University.

Published on March 13, 2007 at 3:21 pm  Comments (15)  

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15 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’ve just bought ‘The Glorious Revolution’ and I’m enjoying it immensely. Really accessible and clarifies an obscure period effectively. Ignore amazon – all to often a sounding board for the ill read and opinionated.



  2. There is a book that would be of interest to you in your pursuit of the history of Cromwell.

    A New history of Cromwell’s Irish Campaign
    ISBN 978-0-9554663-0-4
    from Waterstones

  3. Dear Edward
    I am amazed that you might call yourself a historian! and not be aware of how Cromwell behaved in Ireland?. As a native of Drogheda the most infamous town he sacked we are only too aware of what he did. The streets of our town were littered with butchered bodies, soliders 3,000 but also innocent men, women and children fleeing the fighting. If you read his letters he actually writes an account of killings of those from the town who would not denounce their faith. Cromwells war was paid for by English merchants, he paid them back by giving them Irish women and children as salves for their sugar plantations. As the facists tried to wipe out the Jews so Cromwell did with the catholics and Anglicans in Ireland, creating the transplantations of Connaught and Clare, the worst lands for growing anything on the island of Ireland. His soliders were rewarded for capturing women and children to be exported to Barbadous. Thus single handedly wiping out the Irish language, It is a very sad and brutal part of Irish history which the English government have to this day chosen to ignore happened. Hence the terrible bitterness, which is still held in certain sections of Irish society today. I thought it might be of interst to you, being a historian that the sacking of Drogheda occured on the 11 Sept 1649 which is 360th anniversary of the massacre! and that Cromwell himself died on Sept 3rd 1658. In my opinion Oliver Cromwell was not an Honorable Enemy, I wish you luck in your endevour to find if you can, the “reason” for his ethnic cleasning of the Irish from their own lands between 1649 to 1658 other than a bitter hatered of the Irish natives. I myself believe it was the actions of a maniac out of control,

    Kind regards
    Audrey – a believer of factual history

    • Umm, I think you might be confusing me with Tom Reilly. I’ve never written about Cromwell’s campaigns in Ireland.

  4. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Why-Capitalism-Survives-Crises-Absorbers/dp/1848555865

    You may be interested in my book recently published and priced at a ludicrous sum but which nevertheless has a revisionary account of class that you might find useful in any further work you undertake.

  5. Hi Edward,

    A while back you wrote of the “utterly unwarranted applause for Douglas Carswell’s proposal for ‘open primaries’ – a plan so unworkable that it has now been taken up by Tessa Jowell – which rests on a complete misunderstanding of how the American primary system works.”

    Post-Totnes, do you stand by that? Interested to know.

    Warm regards,

    Douglas Carswell MP

  6. Dear Douglas,

    Yes. I stand by my comments. I still think open primaries are a rubbish idea.

    Best wishes,


  7. Hi Edward,

    I own and run the site that is linked to my details. I was doing a Google search on my site and happened upon yours. It may actually be of interest to you. It’s a protest site against MP’s expenses and is based on Oliver Cromwell’s speech to Rump Parliament in 1653.

    It’s been online for a month and has generated some interest from voters and MP’s alike. Feel free to go visit 🙂


    • Nice site. However, Cromwell may never have said these words:


      (Not that that affects the laudible sentiment behind them!)

      • History changes depending on whose perspective is making the report. I believe this is called The Liberty Valance Effect
        “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”
        Conversely, much truth is construed as legend.

  8. I am a Vallance, United States citizen. Our family historical records indicate that Benedict Arnold Fought the 2nd Battle of Saratoga on Vallance’s (Valance-there are 2 spellings in same family) Farm near there barn along the Hudson river that Benedict Arnold and Gates fought on the Valance property.
    Issac Valance SR.in Town Land Records. Also in Pre-Revolutionary New England there were also a number of Vallance’s in Massacusett’s Bay Colony.
    There are Vallances buried in Episcopal cemeteries in U.S.
    Can you put your historical expertise to work on these family matters in U.S.?
    Thank you!

    • Always nice to meet another Vallance – unfortunately, I know very little about Vallance family history and I don’t really have the time to follow up genealogical enquiries but I wish you the best of luck with your research.

  9. Reading your book on Radical Britain. It is very enjoyable. Keep writing. Next on the list is the one on the Glorious Revolution.

  10. respect for your pj review f LES, but could have mentioned the music and singing more… occupy!

  11. Hi Edward, Found your site whilst searching for plaques. We are Open Plaques http://openplaques.org come and visit sometime

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