Part of the Penguin English History series, England in the Seventeenth Century takes us from the reign of James I starting in 1603 up until the end of Anne’s in 1714 and takes a look at each of the monarchs in their turn as well as some broader looks at different aspects of society during their reigns.
Rattling through each monarch gives us the greatest hits of the events of each of their reigns, as well as all of the political manoeuvring undertaken as each struggled with parliament to win control of the reigns of power. As a result these bits could be a little bit dry as you read about one proroguing of parliament after another, but it did also give me some ideas as to which monarchs I wanted to read more about.
England underwent huge political, religious and social changes throughout the 17th century and so as well as looking at the antics of our royalty we also take a look at changes in the class system and the growing prosperity of the middle classes, advances in scientific thought, arts and literature, the change from the absolute power of the monarchy into a two party parliamentary political system and the states turn from a policy of persecution into one that very, very slowly started to become more religiously tolerant.
This little book was quite an old fashioned history book, so unless you’re really invested in reading about this stuff I’m sure you could find something with a little more vitality to it, but as a primer for me to find further reading it certainly did the job.