The Making of Oliver Cromwell Ronald Hutton

Publication date:
10 Aug 2021
Yale University Press
424 pages: 235 x 156mm
20 color illus., 10 maps
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The first volume in a pioneering account of Oliver Cromwell—providing a major new interpretation of one of the greatest figures in history

Oliver Cromwell (1599–1658)—the only English commoner to become the overall head of state—is one of the great figures of history, but his character was very complex. He was at once courageous and devout, devious and self-serving; as a parliamentarian, he was devoted to his cause; as a soldier, he was ruthless. Cromwell’s speeches and writings surpass in quantity those of any other ruler of England before Victoria and, for those seeking to understand him, he has usually been taken at his word.
In this remarkable new work, Ronald Hutton untangles the facts from the fiction. Cromwell, pursuing his devotion to God and cementing his Puritan support base, quickly transformed from obscure provincial to military victor. At the end of the first English Civil War, he was poised to take power. Hutton reveals a man who was both genuine in his faith and deliberate in his dishonesty—and uncovers the inner workings of the man who has puzzled biographers for centuries.

Ronald Hutton is professor of history at Bristol University and a leading authority on the British Isles in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, on ancient and medieval paganism and magic, and on the global context of witchcraft beliefs. He is the author of seventeen books.

“Excellent. Hutton combines outstanding story-telling with impressive analysis. For the first time he cuts through Cromwell’s earnest talk to the slyness. What emerges is something we have not had for a very long time – a really ‘fresh’ life of this major figure in British history.”—John Morrill, author of Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution

"Hutton has given us a rich and radical reassessment of Oliver Cromwell. Essential reading for all who wish to understand this towering figure and his turbulent times.”—Miranda Malins, author of The Puritan Princess

“A gripping, often lyrical and sometimes waspish biography that succeeds brilliantly in its aim: making sense of the most complex and fascinating man in British history.”—Tom Holland, author of Dominion

“A brilliantly fresh and original account of the early life of Oliver Cromwell. Powerfully written, stunningly well-researched and brimming with new insights and perspectives, Hutton’s book provides us with perhaps the most vivid and immediate portrait we have ever had of the future Lord Protector.”—Mark Stoyle, author of Soldier and Strangers