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  • Providence Lost

  • The Rise and Fall of Cromwell's Protectorate
  • By: Paul Lay
  • Narrated by: Gordon Griffin
  • Length: 10 hrs and 24 mins
  • Categories: History, Europe
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

England, 1651. Oliver Cromwell has defeated his royalist opponents in two civil wars, executed the Stuart King Charles I, laid waste to Ireland, and crushed the late king's son and his Scottish allies.

He is master of Britain and Ireland. But Parliament, divided between moderates, republicans and Puritans of uncompromisingly millenarian hue, is faction-ridden and disputatious. By the end of 1653, Cromwell has become 'Lord Protector'. 

Seeking dragons for an elect Protestant nation to slay, he launches an ambitious 'Western Design' against Spain's empire in the New World. When an amphibious assault on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola in 1655 proves a disaster, a shaken Cromwell is convinced that God is punishing England for its sinfulness. 

But the imposition of the rule of the Major-Generals - bureaucrats with a penchant for closing alehouses - backfires spectacularly. Sectarianism and fundamentalism run riot. Radicals and royalists join together in conspiracy. 

The only way out seems to be a return to a Parliament presided over by a king. But will Cromwell accept the crown?  

Paul Lay narrates in entertaining but always rigorous fashion the story of England's first and only experiment with republican government: he brings the febrile world of Oliver Cromwell's Protectorate to life, providing vivid portraits of the extraordinary individuals who inhabited it and capturing its dissonant cacophony of political and religious voices.

©2020 Paul Lay (P)2020 W. F. Howes Ltd

Critic Reviews

"A compelling and wry narrative of one of the most intellectually thrilling eras of British history." (The Guardian)  

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Fascinating insights into a forgotten era

I bought this book having come across a favourable newspaper review. The writer (and narrator) makes the ostensibly dry Interregnum period fascinating. A particular strength is his ability to describe characters with a critical but empathetic eye. Overall a balanced, informative and entertaining book for the generalist and the expert.

2 people found this helpful

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  • AngeloPL
  • 24-10-2020

Not for beginners

An interesting story well told but if you're not already familiar with the setting and characters you will be lost.

4 people found this helpful

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  • j t connolly
  • 30-07-2020

Not an overview of the Commonwealth

Gets bogged down in Royalist minutiea. I'd prefer to know whys and wherefores of life.

4 people found this helpful

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