This, the third volume in Ackroyd’s planned six-book history of England, is the first of the series that I have read. Why read an amateur historian’s version of the already well-documented events of the English 17th century? The main reason was that I had enjoyed Ackroyd’s London: The Biography (2000) so much.
London was a rare work — almost 800 pages, and each one of them engrossing. Ackroyd told the story of England’s great city through the writings and historical records of the times, accomplishing a portrait both vast and intimate. It remains one of my favourite works of history.
I wish that I could praise the present book so unequivocably.