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Cromwell, Our Chief of Men by Antonia Fraser

Cromwell, Our Chief of Men (1973)

by Antonia Fraser

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916614,938 (3.7)13
The bestselling historian's biography of a decisive figure in England's history. No Englishman has made more impact on the history of his nation than Oliver Cromwell; few have been so persistently maligned in the folklore of history. The central purpose of Antonia Fraser's book is the recreation of his life and character, freed from the distortions of myth and Royalist propaganda. Cromwell was a man of contradictions and surprising charm. This decisive and ruthless commander was also a country gentleman and a passionate connoisseur of music. Of Cromwell's fitness for high office, this fascinating biography leaves no doubt. Under his rule English prestige abroad rose to a level unequalled since Elizabeth I, yet his campaign in Ireland has cast a shadow over his reputation. Antonia Fraser displays great insight into this complex man and reveals a totally unexpected Cromwell, far removed from the received stereotype.… (more)



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I did learn from this book. However, the run-on sentences of the author, as well as her style of writing really made this very difficult to read. The fact that the author would constantly defend the actions of Cromwell by making several lengthy arguments to justify it, did not really help as much. I would not take it against the author as I think the author really wanted this book to be exhaustive but personally, i did not like how the author would unnecessarily add to the length of this book by explaining lengthy theories and speculation from time to time about events in Cromwell's life (such as what really happened to his body after his death). In summary, i think this book is well-researched and informative, but very dry and difficult to read. ( )
  zen_923 | Mar 3, 2017 |
Well researched and enlightening book on a enigmatic and now a days obscure character. I knew little about Oliver Cromwell before I read this book, and from what I've read here he's not the dark almost evil character I thought he was. In many ways his reign paved the way for the English culture of today and eventually Canada's, in the diminution of royal powers and the movement to a more representitive legis- lature. ( )
  charlie68 | Jul 9, 2009 |
Usually I can't wait to get to the next page in an Antonia Fraser book. This one, however did not engage me as much as I had expected or wished. A couple of things that were very well portrayed were Cromwell's military genius, and his true belief that his way of governing was what was best for the well being of all, often characteristic of the benevolent dictator ( )
  mjperry | Nov 8, 2008 |
Antonia Fraser can always be counted on for a good readable history book. This one is perhaps a little on the heavy side for ordinary readers but for those who are interested in British and Irish history, this is a must read. I read this book when I was in Ireland in 2004. Cromwell is of course akin to the anti Christ for the Irish and with good reason. It is clear though from this book and a couple of others I have read that his misdeeds are exaggerated even in the basic Irish history taught in schools. Cromwell is one of those historical characters who tends to be either whitewashed or blackened depending upon who is writing his history. That has changed and there are a number of good history books that carefully examine the evidence. ( )
  bhowell | Mar 2, 2008 |
3320. Cromwell The Lord Protector, by Antonia Fraser (read June 18, 2000) This book came out in 1974 and I have been tempted to read it ever since, and finally did. I had much liked the author's biography of Mary, Queen of Scots, which I read in March of 1970, and thought this book would be as good, even tho about a less appealing subject. Frankly, I was disappointed that the author was as favorable to Cromwell as she is. But aside from that it is a good book and well worth reading. The account of what happened to Cromwell's body in 1660 (2 years after his death) is alone worth reading the book to find out. If you don't know, I won't spoil the book, but urge you to read it to find out. Tho I suppose there are simpler ways to find out. ( )
  Schmerguls | Nov 29, 2007 |
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Cromwell, our chief of men, who through a cloud
Not of war only, but detractions rude,
Guided by faith and matchless fortitude,
To peace and truth by glorious way hast ploughed...

John Milton
To Hugh
who encouraged and accompanied me with love
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Author's Note -- To write the biography of Oliver Cromwell is admittedly an ambitious undertaking.
In the spring and on the eve of the seventeenth century, a son was born to Robert and Elizabeth Cromwell of Huntingdon.
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