Loyola University Chicago

Robert Bucholz, PhD

 Professor, History

Early Modern England 1485–1714: a Narrative History

Blackwell: 2003
(ISBN-10: 0631213937)


Under the Tudors and Stuarts, England transformed itself from a feudal and relatively minor European state into a constitutional monarchy and the wealthiest and most powerful nation on Earth. This book tells the story of that transformation, as well as how social and cultural changes affected ordinary English men and women. During this period, the English people survived repeated epidemics and famines, one failed invasion and two successful ones, two civil wars, and a series of violent religious reformations and counter-reformations. They confronted, successfully, two of the most powerful monarchs on Earth, Philip II of Spain and Louis XIV of France. Along the way they produced one of the world's great cultures, including the philosophy of John Locke, the plays of Shakespeare, the wit of Swift, the poetry of Milton, the buildings of Wren, the science of Newton, and the magnificent cadences of the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. They also visited cruelty, bloodshed, and religious oppression on the inhabitants of Ireland, Scotland and their colonies overseas. And yet, at their best, they established many of the political principles and ideals which would eventually enable those peoples to achieve some measure of justice, and upon which we Americans would build our own nation.

"This excellent book is consciously designed for students in North American universities who are studying this period for the first time, but its qualities are such that British students will find it a remarkably effective and well-sustained synthesis. The narrative is readable, fluent and balanced.... Throughout, the authors, both of whom are vastly experienced teachers as well as being active research scholars, have managed to delineate detail effectively without obscuring the narrative flow.... It is, as they say in their conclusion, 'a terrific story', and they have told it terrifically well." David L. Smith, Selwyn College, Cambridge

"Written especially for North American students, Early Modern England 1485–1714 is an informative and engaging survey text that will draw undergraduates into the period. Bucholz and Key provide a compelling narrative as well as interpretive perspectives that reflect the most recent scholarship." Gary De Krey, St. Olaf College

"This text is a delight to read. One is immediately struck by the sparkling yet highly accessible prose. Bucholz and Key designed it specifically for the American college student, who will undoubtedly find it a pleasure rather than a burden to read. Finally, the Queen's English, American-style." Melinda Zook, Purdue University