New Model Army Paperback – Mar 23 1994
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"A masterly achievement, and renders all previous works on the creation and early years of the army obsolete." The Times
"A meticulously researched book which will supersede all previous work on the New Model Army." Times Literary Supplement
"The publication of Ian Gentles's account of the New Model Army is an event of major importance in civil war studies. His book is awesomely well researched. What emerges is a very fine work indeed." Economic History Review
"... an outstanding teaching tool... an excellent survey of the army that won the civil war. The clarity of Gentles' prose, and his ability to make sense of a profoundly chaotic period, ensure that this reviewer's students will find the paperback on the required reading list next term." Reviews of Books
From the Back Cover
The New Model Army was one of the most formidable fighting forces ever assembled. Taking his evidence from contemporary sources, Ian Gentles describes its formation under Thomas Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell, their innovative tactics, the course of its decisive victories over the forces of Charles I, and its ferociously successful campaigns against the Scots and the Irish. As importantly, he examines the motivations and aspirations of the soldiers and their officers.
The question of how far the New Model was a revolutionary army and how far a body of men whose religious passion was manipulated for the pragmatic, personal, or even conservative aims of its leaders is one that has occupied the minds of historians for three centuries. Ian Gentles provides a convincing resolution of this debate, raising new evidence to support his argument.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This is a political rather than an operational or campaigns and battles history of the New Model Army.
As the first reviewer observed, this book assumes the reader has a firm grasp of the major events that transpired in the Kingdom of England between 1600 and 1640 that led up to the Puritan Revolution and a firm grasp of the three way struggle between the Presbyterians and Independents in Parliament and the Monarchy between 1640-49.
This book is focused on the question: "What the hell was going on in the New Model Army between 1644 and 1649?"
In the 1960s, H.N. Barilsford and Christopher Hill compared the NMA to the Petrograd Workers and Soldiers Soviet of 1917. In 1938 A.S.P. Woodhouse described the NMA as a popular estate that emerged from the English Civil Wars. Gentles abundantly demonstrates that both comparisons are quite valid.
Through the Fall of 1647, the NMA was a soviet of the godly who were also very sound democratic republicans who exhibited a high degree of very modern political awareness. For example, the rank and file in the NMA took up a subscription to buy a printing press, which then became part of the army's artillery train. The officers contributed to the enterprise but it was not their idea.
Gentles demonstrates that the Grandees took the agitators very seriously and, in turn, the discussions between the officers and other ranks in the Army Council and at Putney, as recorded by Clark, had the tone of "comrade Trooper" to "comrade General." Gentles also shows that the radical democratic and republican views bubbling up from the ranks, which were astonishingly sophisticated and modern, were accommodated to a surprising extent by Cromwell, Ireton and Fairfax.
This book should be read together with A.S.P. Woodhouse's 100 page introduction to the anthology "Puritanism and Liberty" (1938) and Mark Kishlansky's "The Rise of the New Model Army" (1979).