100 books like Britain in Revolution

By Austin Woolrych,

Here are 100 books that Britain in Revolution fans have personally recommended if you like Britain in Revolution. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The King's Peace, 1637-41

Kirsteen MacKenzie Author Of The Solemn League and Covenant of the Three Kingdoms and the Cromwellian Union, 1643-1663

From my list on he Wars of the Three Kingdoms 1637-1653.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an academic historian who has had a passion for the wars of the three kingdoms for over three decades. I have been reading books about the civil wars in Britain and Ireland since I was ten years old. I have been a member of the re-enactment society The Sealed Knot and the Cromwell Association. I published my first monograph on the wars of the three kingdoms in 2018. The monograph views the conflict from a three kingdoms perspective through the eyes of the Scottish Covenanters and their English allies. I am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Kirsteen's book list on he Wars of the Three Kingdoms 1637-1653

Kirsteen MacKenzie Why did Kirsteen love this book?

This is another classic within the historiography of the period which along with S.R. Gardiner’s work is still considered one of the solid early professional histories of the period.  Although some historians may consider it a little dated, it is a concise and detailed analysis of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms.  Wedgewood’s style of writing is accessible and lively. This 3 book series is still considered as some of the best books ever written on the period (be sure to check out The King's War and Trial of Charles as well).  

By C.V. Wedgwood, C.V. Wedgwood,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The King's Peace, 1637-41 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This volume tells the story of the four eventful years which immediately preceded the Civil War, years which transformed the tranquil dominions of King Charles into a land rent by mistrust and menaced by fire and sword. It tells of the rise of the covenanters in Scotland with such leaders as the gallant Montrose and the mysterious Argyll. It tells of Parliament's opposition to the King under the skilful leadership of John Pym. The tragedy of Strafford is linked with the terrible insurrection in Ireland. Miss Wedgewood has sought to convey the vivid day sequence of events as they flooded…


Book cover of History of the Great Civil War: Volume I

Kirsteen MacKenzie Author Of The Solemn League and Covenant of the Three Kingdoms and the Cromwellian Union, 1643-1663

From my list on he Wars of the Three Kingdoms 1637-1653.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an academic historian who has had a passion for the wars of the three kingdoms for over three decades. I have been reading books about the civil wars in Britain and Ireland since I was ten years old. I have been a member of the re-enactment society The Sealed Knot and the Cromwell Association. I published my first monograph on the wars of the three kingdoms in 2018. The monograph views the conflict from a three kingdoms perspective through the eyes of the Scottish Covenanters and their English allies. I am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Kirsteen's book list on he Wars of the Three Kingdoms 1637-1653

Kirsteen MacKenzie Why did Kirsteen love this book?

Samuel Rawson Gardiner’s comprehensive and detailed account of the civil wars has laid the foundation for many of the subsequent histories of the conflict. It was the first account of the civil wars written by a professional historian who had spent a lifetime exploring the expansive and diverse first-hand accounts of the conflict.

All the books in this series are fantastic and highly recommended. 


By Samuel Rawson Gardiner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked History of the Great Civil War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

S.R. Gardiner's seminal work on the "Great Rebellion" has been accepted since it first appeared at the end of the 19th century as the chronological basis for all that has been written since. Available in four volumes, the first of which traces events from the beginning of the conflict to the Battle of Marston Moor, which was to prove the turning point for the Parliamentarian cause. This volume contains an introduction by Christopher Hill, an authority on 17th-century English history, in which he sums up Gardiner's importance both in his own time and for ours.


Book cover of The Civil Wars in Britain and Ireland: 1638-1651

Kirsteen MacKenzie Author Of The Solemn League and Covenant of the Three Kingdoms and the Cromwellian Union, 1643-1663

From my list on he Wars of the Three Kingdoms 1637-1653.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an academic historian who has had a passion for the wars of the three kingdoms for over three decades. I have been reading books about the civil wars in Britain and Ireland since I was ten years old. I have been a member of the re-enactment society The Sealed Knot and the Cromwell Association. I published my first monograph on the wars of the three kingdoms in 2018. The monograph views the conflict from a three kingdoms perspective through the eyes of the Scottish Covenanters and their English allies. I am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Kirsteen's book list on he Wars of the Three Kingdoms 1637-1653

Kirsteen MacKenzie Why did Kirsteen love this book?

Still the best introductory text for students covering all major events in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms in a concise and accessible manner.  This book steps away from the more Anglo-centric analyses of the conflict, looking at events in Ireland, Scotland and Wales in some detail.  In contrast with the books above, Bennett also steps away from the experience of political elites and examines the experiences of ordinary soldiers and civilians during the conflict.  

By Martyn Bennett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Civil Wars in Britain and Ireland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book provides a fresh perspective on one of the most complex and turbulent periods in the history of the British Isles. Setting the experience of Wales, Scotland and Ireland alongside England, the author examines the interplay of politics, societies and culture both within and between each of the four nations involved in the political struggles of the mid--seventeenth century.


Book cover of Civil War

Kirsteen MacKenzie Author Of The Solemn League and Covenant of the Three Kingdoms and the Cromwellian Union, 1643-1663

From my list on he Wars of the Three Kingdoms 1637-1653.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an academic historian who has had a passion for the wars of the three kingdoms for over three decades. I have been reading books about the civil wars in Britain and Ireland since I was ten years old. I have been a member of the re-enactment society The Sealed Knot and the Cromwell Association. I published my first monograph on the wars of the three kingdoms in 2018. The monograph views the conflict from a three kingdoms perspective through the eyes of the Scottish Covenanters and their English allies. I am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Kirsteen's book list on he Wars of the Three Kingdoms 1637-1653

Kirsteen MacKenzie Why did Kirsteen love this book?

A personal favorite as I bought this book as a teenager during the 350th-anniversary commemorations of the civil wars in the 1990s.  An underrated book and an excellent introduction to the conflict for anyone interested in the period. Covering major events in Scotland, England, and Ireland it has a multitude of beautiful colorful illustrations that bring the period to life.  The main narrative is interspersed with text boxes focusing on fascinating individuals, events, and cultural and social aspects conveying the richness and diversity of the conflict.   

By Taylor Downing, Maggie Millman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Civil War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A paperback offering coverage of the English Civil Wars of the 1640s.


Book cover of As Meat Loves Salt

Jeffrey Richards Author Of We Are Only Ghosts

From my list on LGBT+ novels that haunt me (in a good way).

Why am I passionate about this?

I came of age in Oklahoma as a gay youth in the late 1970s and early 1980s, keeping myself hidden out of safety and shame. Once I was old enough to leave my small-minded town and be myself, I crashed headlong into the oncoming AIDS epidemic. It set me on a path to understanding the world and my place in it as a homosexual. I turned to reading about the lives and histories of those who came before me, to learn about their deaths and survivals in what could be an ugly, brutal world. These works continue to draw me, haunt me, and inspire me to share my story through my writing. 

Jeffrey's book list on LGBT+ novels that haunt me (in a good way)

Jeffrey Richards Why did Jeffrey love this book?

I’ve always thought of this book as a gay “bodice-ripper,” though a bit on the darker side. And it’s the darkness that haunts me still some two decades after first reading it.

The love story, if one can call it that, verges on and then outright plunges into brutal obsession between the two main male characters, and even though I knew I shouldn’t, I rooted for them.

Beyond the intensity of the relationship between the main characters, the writing, steeped in the history of the English Revolution, is wonderful–strong and brutal and raw and visceral. I’ve returned to this novel repeatedly over the years, and its impact never lessens. Truly a marvel of a novel. 

By Maria McCann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked As Meat Loves Salt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Transplant Othello to the tumult of a country in social and political flux and en route to regicide -- England in the 1640s -- and render him uncertain about his sexuality, and you have the makings of Jacob Cullen, one of the most commanding characters in contemporary writing. As the book opens, Jacob is an educated, vigorous and dauntingly strong manservant in a Royalist household, who has begun to imbibe god-fearing revolutionary pamphlets. He is on the brink of marriage to his virginal sweetheart, but is unsure of his emotional needs, and in possession of a boiling point he reaches…


Book cover of Cromwell

Nancy Blanton Author Of When Starlings Fly as One

From my list on Ireland in the 17th century.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nancy Blanton is an American author of Irish descent. She’s written three award-winning Irish historical novels and has a fourth underway. A former journalist, her focus on the 17th century derives from a history lesson about Oliver Cromwell, weariness of Tudor stories, decades of enlightening research, and a little help from supportive friends in County Cork.

Nancy's book list on Ireland in the 17th century

Nancy Blanton Why did Nancy love this book?

For those who like biographies, this story of Oliver Cromwell (1599 – 1658) follows him from young man to gentleman farmer, reluctant politician, military leader, regicide, and Lord Protector of England. To me, Cromwell will always be the cold destroyer who led his most brutal and devastating army across Ireland after England’s civil war. But, there are many differing opinions. This interesting read presents all sides of the man, so you can be the judge. 

By Antonia Fraser,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cromwell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Cromwell, award-winning biographer Antonia Fraser tells of one of England's most celebrated and controversial figures, often misunderstood and demonized as a puritanical zealot. Oliver Cromwell rose from humble beginnings to spearhead the rebellion against King Charles I, who was beheaded in 1649, and led his soldiers into the last battle against the Royalists and King Charles II at Worcester, ending the civil war in 1651. Fraser shows how England's prestige and prosperity grew under Cromwell, reversing the decline it had suffered since Queen Elizabeth I's death.


Book cover of Cavalier: A Tale of Chivalry, Passion, and Great Houses

Nancy Blanton Author Of When Starlings Fly as One

From my list on Ireland in the 17th century.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nancy Blanton is an American author of Irish descent. She’s written three award-winning Irish historical novels and has a fourth underway. A former journalist, her focus on the 17th century derives from a history lesson about Oliver Cromwell, weariness of Tudor stories, decades of enlightening research, and a little help from supportive friends in County Cork.

Nancy's book list on Ireland in the 17th century

Nancy Blanton Why did Nancy love this book?

Also not specifically set in Ireland, this book reveals in wonderful detail what life was like in the great manor houses of both England and Ireland. Such houses distinguished the 17th century from the age of castles and fortresses, and were lavishly constructed and furnished as tangible statements of power and wealth. You’ll learn what daily life was like from chambermaid to earl.

By Lucy Worsley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cavalier as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

William Cavendish was a gifted horseman, prolific womaniser and skilled diplomat. Famously defeated at the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644, he went into a long and miserable exile before returning to England in triumph on the restoration of King Charles II to the throne in 1660. But this is not just the story of that one remarkable man and the courtly world of King Charles I and his Cavaliers. More than that, Lucy Worsley brings to life the complex and fascinating household hierarchies of the seventeenth century, painting a picture of conspiracy, sexual intrigue, clandestine marriage and gossip. From…


Book cover of The Diary of William Harvey: The Imaginary Journal of the Physician Who Revolutionized Medicine

Helen King Author Of Greek and Roman Medicine

From my list on discovering the circulation of the blood.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by history since I was a fairly sickly child, which means I was gradually drawn towards the history of medicine. Add to that having a hereditary blood clotting condition and you can see why this topic appeals to me! I have a BA and a PhD in History from University College London and have held posts in the universities of Cambridge, Newcastle, Reading, and then at The Open University. I’ve also held visiting professorships in Vienna, Texas, and Minnesota and have published six books as well as editing others. I’m sort of retired but still writing and lecturing.

Helen's book list on discovering the circulation of the blood

Helen King Why did Helen love this book?

It was a great idea to make Harvey come to life by imagining what he’d have written in his diary! This is a well-researched book which gets across how much more there was to Harvey than just the circulation of the blood. His family, his work on the development of the embryo, his role as a physician to King Charles I, and his encounters with witches – a great story – as well as a convincing sense of the sort of man he was and of the times in which he lived.

By Jean Hamburger, Barbara Wright (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Diary of William Harvey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French


Book cover of Witch-Hunting in Scotland: Law, Politics and Religion

Malcolm Gaskill Author Of Witchfinders: A Seventeenth-Century English Tragedy

From my list on witch hunting in Britain and Europe.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an Emeritus Professor of Early Modern History at the University of East Anglia and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. I taught history for many years at several UK universities, and I was the Director of Studies in History at Churchill College, Cambridge. I am the author of six books, including Hellish Nell: Last of Britain’s Witches and Witchcraft: A Very Short Introduction. His latest book, The Ruin of All Witches: Life and Death in the New World, will be published in November by Penguin. I live in Cambridge, England, and I am married with three children.

Malcolm's book list on witch hunting in Britain and Europe

Malcolm Gaskill Why did Malcolm love this book?

The distinctive selling-point of this work is summed up by its sub-title: a focus on law, politics and religion as causal factors, not just for humdrum witchcraft accusations but for major, sustained witch-hunts. Brian Levack has made a huge contribution to our understanding of witch-hunting, and here brings his specialist expertise to bear on Scotland, which experienced the most intense, and devastating panics anywhere in the British Isles (and worse even than most places in continental Europe).

Historians have long learned not to see witch-hunts as hysterical spasms of pre-Enlightenment ‘superstition’. Demonology was a serious subject in the sixteenth and seventeeen centuries, and was logically coherent within the mentalities of the time. Witchcraft, then, wasn’t some insane sideshow to the dominant legal, political and religious issues of the day, but central to those issues.

Embedding witchcraft in these mainstream contexts is essential to understanding what it once meant, not just…

By Brian P. Levack,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Witch-Hunting in Scotland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the 2008 Katharine Briggs Award

Witch-Hunting in Scotland presents a fresh perspective on the trial and execution of the hundreds of women and men prosecuted for the crime of witchcraft, an offence that involved the alleged practice of maleficent magic and the worship of the devil, for inflicting harm on their neighbours and making pacts with the devil.

Brian P. Levack draws on law, politics and religion to explain the intensity of Scottish witch-hunting. Topics discussed include:

the distinctive features of the Scottish criminal justice system the use of torture to extract confessions the intersection of witch-hunting with…


Book cover of The Expedition of Humphry Clinker

Tom Keymer Author Of Jane Austen: A Very Short Introduction

From my list on stories written before 1800.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been researching and teaching the history of the novel since I was a graduate student in Cambridge in the late 1980s, and along the way, I’ve published trade editions of several classics beyond those recommended here, including Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Richardson’s Pamela, Fielding’s Tom Jones, and Beckford’s Vathek. It’s a great opportunity to take a break from specialist academia and reach a broader community of readers, as I’ve also tried to do in a recent introductory book about Jane Austen. I now teach at the University of Toronto, where I’m blessed with amazing students on two of my favourite undergraduate courses, “The Rise of the Novel” and “Austen and Her Contemporaries.”

Tom's book list on stories written before 1800

Tom Keymer Why did Tom love this book?

Tobias Smollett, Scotland’s greatest novelist before Scott and Stevenson, was dying in a villa on the Ligurian coast when his masterpiece Humphry Clinker came out in London in 1771. Yet every page is written with astounding verve, immersing readers in the vibrant chaos of eighteenth-century Britain, the sights and sounds of its teeming cities and health resorts—even, in several virtuoso passages of gross-out description, its nauseating smells and tastes. Like Richardson before him, Smollett gives his narrative over to multiple voices, this time to riotously comic effect. Five Anglo-Welsh tourists (splenetic Bramble, scathing Tabitha, witty Jery, romantic Lydia, their hilariously unpredictable servant Win) travel the length and breadth of a nation in the throes of urbanization and commercial modernity, by turns disgusted and enchanted, constantly failing to agree on what they see. Illicit romances play out in the background, but Smollett’s main interest is in the turbulent dynamism of four-nations…

By Tobias Smollett, Paul-Gabriel Boucé (editor), Lewis M. Knapp (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Expedition of Humphry Clinker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

William Thackeray called it "the most laughable story that has ever been written since the goodly art of novel-writing began." As a group of travellers visit places in England and Scotland, they provide through satire and wit a vivid and detailed picture of the contemporary social and political scene.
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