Glendon professor launches latest book on 17th-century England

Ian GentlesAfter more than 40 years of studying 17th-century England and its wars, Glendon Professor Ian Gentles has published a book that, he says, makes the definitive statement about his views on one of the most controversial periods in British and Irish history.

Right: Ian Gentles

Glendon and York University Bookstores will launch Gentles’ The English Revolution and the Wars in the Three Kingdoms 1638-1652 (Longman Pub., 2007), on Oct. 24 at 3:30pm in the Senior Common Room, York Hall, Glendon campus.

About the Book

The book is Gentles’ second full-length work on the period. The first, The New Model Army: In England, Ireland and Scotland, 1645-1653 (Blackwell Pub., 1994), describes the development of the army that defeated Charles I and brought Oliver Cromwell to prominence. In this latest work, Gentles widens his focus to include the impact of war on the peoples of all three countries and, he says, “weave together the twin narratives of politics and war, which are so often treated separately.”

The first clue to the book’s forthright stand on the various historiographic controversies of this period appears in the title. By terming what happened in England during these years a revolution rather than civil war or rebellion, Gentles shows where he stands on something as basic as how to describe, what British historian and collaborator John Morrill calls “the historical moment that dare not speak its name.” As in his previous works, Gentles argues that the wars happened more for religious than constitutional or material reasons and that support for Charles and the Anglican Church was more widespread than many later historians have acknowledged.

The result, according to the publisher’s notes, is a sophisticated, comprehensive and exciting account of the 16 years that were the hinge of British and Irish history.

About Ian Gentles

Gentles is a professor in the Department of History at Glendon and visiting professor at Toronto’s Tyndale College. He has written numerous journal articles on England and Ireland in the 17th century and contributed biographic articles to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. He is also co-editor, with Morrill and Blair Worden, of Soldiers, Writers and Statesmen of the English Revolution (Cambridge University Press, 1998).

Gentles has received a 2007 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada award totalling $73,000 towards research for his forthcoming book, “England’s Laboratory for Empire: Ireland in the 16th and 17th Centuries” (see story in the Aug. 22 issue of YFile).

Everyone is welcome to the launch and should RSVP before Oct. 19 to Michael Legris, marketing and special events coordinator, York University Bookstores, at ext. 22078 or