Intellectual Origins of the English Revolution: Revisited by Christopher Hill
Christopher Hill’s knowledge of the English Civil War period is second to none and, like all of his books, Intellectual Origins of the English Revolution is an insightful, passionate, fluid and fiercely intelligent take on its subject matter. The writer of such classics as The World Turned Upside Down and his superb examination of Cromwell God's Englishman Hill is here determined to show that there is ‘more in common between the seventeenth-century English Revolution and the French Revolution of 1789 than traditional English historiography allowed’. What Hill shows, then, is the English Civil War was far more political, intelligently and overtly philosophically radical, than has been allowed and that there was extremely subversive tendencies within, and outside, the Republican side that were willing to take the Bible literally and strike out for a heaven on earth. It would seem shattering enough that Charles I was executed for treason in 1649 but the fascinating intellectual revolt that led to this possibility is Hill’s focus here: science and medicine are appraised; William Tyndale evaluated (If God Spare My Life by Brian Moynahan  provides interesting additional information on Tyndale and Sir Thomas More); and the three great figures of Francis Bacon, Sir Walter Ralegh and Sir Edward Coke have their hugely important contributions discussed. Hill is always a pleasure to read and the Revised edition of Intellectual Origins of the English Revolution is as good as it gets.