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This month’s best historical books



Oliver Cromwell: The Protector

By David Horspool

Allen Lane, £12.99, 144 pages, hardback

The latest in the ongoing Penguin Monarchs series tackles Oliver Cromwell, the military and political leader who took control of England, Scotland and Ireland in the 17th century. Hang on, you might be asking – what’s Cromwell doing in a series with ‘monarchs’ in its title? Well, as David Horspool argues persuasively in his book – and in our interview, opposite – Cromwell’s role in the Civil War, and his actions afterwards, were important in that they threw the whole concept of monarchy into question. These ideas are tackled engagingly here, as too is the attempt to understand the real man behind the pious, serious reputation.

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February 2017