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Devil-Land: England Under Siege, 1588-1688

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Furthermore, if those who decide the allocations of the real and unreal are cruel, mad or colossally wrong, what then? The result is a richer picture not only of England under the Stuarts and as a republic, but also of its neighbours .

Three years earlier, the English had sent shockwaves throughout Continental Europe by putting their divinely ordained king, Charles I, on trial for high treason and executing him in public. As an unmarried heretic with no heir, Elizabeth I was regarded with horror by Catholic Europe, while her Stuart successors, James I and VI of Scotland and Charles I, were seen as impecunious and incompetent, unable to manage their three kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland. All of the Stuarts had long periods when they were not at war, when government functioned as well as governments ever do and when their subjects were able to carry on as normal, fostering trade and industry, building houses, raising families, writing plays and so forth. United in condemnation they may have been, but Spanish disapproval could be far removed from Dutch criticism, and the differences in these people’s identities and political agendas is at times rather lost to sight as the litany of disasters unfolds.Devil-Land ’s title derives from the nickname ‘Duyvel-Landt’, coined by an anonymous Dutch pamphleteer in 1652. This is a refreshing take on a well-worn theme - England in the seventeenth century (well, most of it, plus the stub of the sixteenth). During the two years spent making the BBC films, the seeds of Devil-Land’s arguments were sown when reappraising the impact of Stuart rule in locations ranging from a windswept Aberdeenshire beach that once hosted an invading Jacobite force, to Derry’s city walls, Breda’s cobbled streets, Madrid’s monumental Plaza Mayor, Versailles’s Hall of Mirrors and the Vatican City tomb of the Jacobite ‘Old Pretender’. It might also be said that, as an objective account of this period of British history (and after 1603 it is Britain, not England, that we need to consider), the book is somewhat lacking in nuance. Starting on the eve of the Spanish Armada in 1588 and concluding with a not-so 'Glorious Revolution' a hundred years later, Devil-Land is a spectacular reinterpretation of England's vexed and enthralling past.

Among foreign observers, seventeenth-century England was known as ‘Devil-Land’: a diabolical country of fallen angels, torn apart by rebellion, religious extremism and royal collapse. Reviewing Devil-Land for The Sunday Times, John Adamson explained that ‘the reason for much of that century’s devilry, Jackson contends, comes from a single source: the question of England’s proper relation with Europe’. It reminds us that states are not inevitabilities, and that they're formed out of chaos and may go back to the conditions of their formation.Viewing our troubled archipelago through the eyes of foreigners in this way is one of the great strengths of the book. Starting on the eve of the Spanish Armada’s descent in 1588 and concluding with a not-so ‘Glorious Revolution’ a hundred years later, Devil-Land is a spectacular reinterpretation of England’s vexed and enthralling past.

Among foreign observers, seventeenth-century England was known as ‘Devil-Land’: a diabolical country of fallen angels, torn apart by seditious rebellion, religious extremism and royal collapse. Written in the shadow of Brexit speculation and debate, Devil-Land’s focus on the contingent mutability of seventeenth-century England’s relations with its Continental neighbours provides perspective, if scant comfort, for its readers.Starting on the eve of the Spanish Armada in 1588 and concluding with a not-so 'Glorious Revolution' a hundred years later, Devil-Land is a spectacular reinterpretation of England's vexed and enthralling past. With rare exceptions such as bank holidays, the book group meets on the first Wednesday of every month at 7. Starting on the eve of the Spanish Armada in 1588 and concluding with a not-so ‘Glorious Revolution’ a hundred years later, Devil-Land is a spectacular reinterpretation of England’s vexed and enthralling past. If you are looking for an update on the political and military history of seventeenth century England / Britain, this book is not for you. Catastrophe nevertheless bred creativity, and Jackson makes brilliant use of eyewitness accounts - many penned by stupefied foreigners - to dramatize her great story.

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