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Cromwell Against the Scots (Hardback)

The Last Anglo-Scottish War 1650-1652 (Revised edition)

British History Military 17th Century

By John D Grainger
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 16 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526786500
Published: 13th May 2021

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Although also known as the Third English Civil War, the author makes it clear that this was the last war between the Scots and English as separate states. He narrates in detail the the events following the exiled King Charles II’s landing in Scotland and his alliance with the Scots Covenanters, erstwhile allies of the English Parliamentarians.

Cromwell’s preemptive invasion of Scotland led to the Battle of Dunbar, a crushing defeat for the Scots under David Leslie, though this only unified the Scottish cause and led to the levying of the Army of the Kingdom under Charles II himself. Charles II led a desperate counter-invasion over the border, hoping to raise a royalist rebellion and forcing Cromwell to follow him, though he left Monck to complete the pacification of Scotland.

Cromwell caught up with Charles II at Worcester, where the Scots/Royalist army was decisively defeated and destroyed, thousands of the prisoners being sold into slavery in the West Indies and the American colonies.

This revised and updated edition contains an expanded chapter on the aftermath of the war and the fate of the POWs, drawing on major new archaeological evidence, as well as an expanded Conclusion.

Grainger’s narrative is engaging and rattles along; his description of the Battle of Dunbar is particularly good. His analysis of the fractured Scottish political scene is also insightful, though he rarely lingers on any similar problems in England with just a few forays into why some in England would not fight the Scots who had backed them in the English Civil War. Grainger’s text is well-supported by maps and monochrome photographs of interesting artefacts and place, and portraits of the main players.

Read the full review here

Beating Tsundoku

A very lucid and compelling account of the way that Cromwell coped with the Scots problem. The author delivers a well-constructed narrative that properly assesses the many strategic and tactical problems that needed solutions. Cromwell emerges a very patient and clever military commander politician who properly understood the problems and took the right and best measures to win. His resources were not unlimited but he pressed advantage when it appeared. A recommended read for anybody wanting to better understand the complicated political pressures evident in both England and Scotland during the period.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy

About John D Grainger

John D Grainger is a former teacher and historian of great experience with a particular interest in Classical and Hellenistic Greek history. His many previous works include the following for Pen & Sword: Hellenistic and Roman Naval Wars (2011); The Wars of the Maccabees (2012); Roman Conquests: Egypt and Judaea (2013); a three-part history of the Seleukid Empire (2014-16), King’s and Kingship in the Hellenistic World 350-30 BC (2017), Antipater’s Dynasty (2018), Ancient Dynasties (2019) and The Roman Imperial Succession (March 2020). He lives in Evesham, Worcestershire.

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