Review: The English Civil War: Fact and Fiction, by James Hobson

The English Civil War
By James Hobson
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 135
Illustrations: 40
ISBN: 9781526734877
Published: 9th April 2019

Have you ever found yourself watching a show or reading a novel and wondering what life was really like in the Civil War? Did the war really split families? Was Charles I just too stupid to be King? Did Cromwell really hate the monarchy and did Parliament actually ban Christmas?

In The English Civil War: Fact and Fiction, you’ll find fast and fun answers to all your secret questions about this remarkable period of British history. Find out about people’s lives and how the Civil War affected them. Learn about the role of women and if they merely stayed at home and suffered, and if Cromwell really was always miserable.

James Hobson brings to life the tumultuous and unprecedented period of history that is known as the Civil War. An unfussy yet accurate history, each chapter presents a controversy in itself and sets about dispelling commonly held myths about the Civil War.

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Non-fiction Bonus Reviews #1

I haven’t been feeling great so my reviews are a bit behind. I have a stack of books next to my laptop that I need to tell you all about. I’ve got three Pen & Sword books for you and an indie about comic book history.

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November Bonus Review #4: ‘Madness, Murder and Mayhem’, by Kathryn Burtinshaw and Dr. John Burt

Madness, Murder and Mayhem

Published By: Pen & Sword

Publication Date: 2nd October 2018

I.S.B.N.: 9781526734556

Format: Hardback

Price: £15.99


Following an assassination attempt on George III in 1800, new legislation significantly altered the way the criminally insane were treated by the judicial system in Britain. This book explores these changes and explains the rationale for purpose-built criminal lunatic asylums in the Victorian era.

Specific case studies are used to illustrate and describe some of the earliest patients at Broadmoor Hospital – the Criminal Lunatic Asylum for England and Wales and the Criminal Lunatic Department at Perth Prison in Scotland. Chapters examine the mental and social problems that led to crime alongside individuals considered to be weak-minded, imbeciles or idiots. Family murders are explored as well as individuals who killed for gain. An examination of psychiatric evidence is provided to illustrate how often an insanity defence was used in court and the outcome if the judge and jury did not believe these claims. Two cases are discussed where medical experts gave evidence that individuals were mentally irresponsible for their crimes but they were led to the gallows.

Written by genealogists and historians, this book examines and identifies individuals who committed heinous crimes and researches the impact crime had on themselves, their families and their victims.

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Review: ‘Dark Days of Georgian Britain’, by James Hobson

Dark Days of Georgian Britain

Published by: Pen and Sword Books

Publication Date: 15th November 2017

ISBN: 9781526702548

Format: Hardback

Price: £15.99


In Dark Days of Georgian Britain, James Hobson challenges the long established view of high society during the Regency, and instead details an account of a society in change.

Often upheld as a period of elegance with many achievements in the fine arts and architecture, the Regency era also encompassed a time of great social, political and economic upheaval. In this insightful social history the emphasis is on the life of the every-man, on the lives of the poor and the challenges they faced.

Using a wide range of sources, Hobson shares the stories of real people. He explores corruption in government and elections; “bread or blood” rioting, the political discontent felt and the revolutionaries involved. He explores attitudes to adultery and marriage, and the moral panic about homosexuality. Grave robbery is exposed, along with the sharp pinch of food scarcity, prison and punishment. It is not a gentle portrayal akin to Jane Austen’s England, this is a society where the popular hatred of the Prince Regent was widespread and where laws and new capitalist attitudes oppressed the poor. With Hobson’s illustrative account, it is time to rethink the Regency.

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