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Letters by a modern St. Ferdinand III about cults

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Plenty of cults exist - every cult has its 'religious dogma', its idols, its 'prophets', its 'science', its 'proof' and its intolerant liturgy of demands.  Cults everywhere:  Corona, 'The Science' or Scientism, Islam, the State, the cult of Gender Fascism, Marxism, Darwin and Evolution, Globaloneywarming, Changing Climate, Abortion...

Tempus Fugit Memento Mori - Time Flies Remember Death 

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Simon Schama's 'History of Britain Volume 2, 1603 to 1776.'

The Middle Ages and Cromwell.

by StFerdIII

Schama is one of the most prolific writers and raconteurs of history today. His books, DVDs, and articles are full of interesting facts, true historical perspective and sound analysis. They are also very prevalent. He is a miniature industry of historical output. The only exception to Schama's clarity and independence of thought is his book 'America's Future', one that is poorly written and full of the usual liberal-academic bias for socialism and great man worship [the Left ardently admired the twin buffoons Hitler and Mussolini, and paraded an excessive array of ignorant excuses for Lenin and Stalin....]. But his works on English and Dutch history are valuable guides and informational sources.

Simon Schama's History of England, is one of his more magnificent compendiums. Schama's left-wing academic liberalism does not make much of an appearance in this work. Indeed this history of England is notable for two rather un-academic aspects. First, Schama declares correctly and accurately that the Dark Ages in England and elsewhere were a myth. Second, his portrayal of Cromwell and the English Civil Wars which really lasted for 2 generations [1630-1690]; are the best parts of the book, and perhaps one of the best historical summaries available.

All nations need their myths [we are the best]; and to hate someone [the Jews, the Americans, the Untermensch, the English, Christians etc.]. As Schama proves, the English had an abiding interest in the island of Ireland for reasons of national defense. A Catholic Ireland was constantly plotting against England and allying itself with England's enemies. Irish armies were very active against English national interests supporting in the early modern period, the Stuart family and even landing troops in England proper to fight Cromwell and the Puritans – a small sect which by force of arms and clever politicking managed to gain control of England from 1649 to 1660.

Schama is very clear that Irish historians long ago disproved the idea that Cromwell's invasion of Ireland in the 1650s was as 'bloody' as it has been made out to be. The English 'new model army' entered Ireland to extirpate the remaining Royalist forces still loyal to the Stuarts. They had little choice. Charles the First had lost his head, but his son was active in Ireland plotting a return of the monarchy and of despotic and quite ruinous Stuart rule for England. Indeed Schama portrays the Stuarts as little more than malignant 'Sun Kings', who believed that the divine rule of Kings could not be challenged by such muddled and loud chambers as a Parliament or a House of Lords. The King ruled and that was it.

Cromwell's 'massacres' are a complete myth as Schama illustrates. Cromwell's men fought against other Englishmen, namely the Royalists, themselves a mixture of Catholics and Protestants. The slaughter at Drogheda in which 19th Irish historians made the ridiculous claim that tens of thousands of innocent Catholic Irish were murdered, is a fable and a lie. The only butchering occurred to about 300 Royalist troops – all of them English – who refused to surrender the citadel to Cromwell. This wanton destruction was preceded by warnings from Cromwell that if the remaining men at Drogheda did not surrender he would make an example out of them for any Royalist forces remained and desired to fight in Ireland. There is no historical nor archeological proof that Cromwell's men butchered innocents anywhere in Ireland. In fact during the English civil wars[s], Cromwell's troops were conspicuous by their lack of rapacity, plunder and brigandage. Considering that they were largely Puritan troops devoted as much to their souls and to their swords, this only makes sense.

So it was refreshing to read a real history of Cromwell – a man with many complications and twists of character who in the end wound up being more like Charles I than a zealous defender of Parliamentary privilege. Cromwell went full circle. He defended the rights of those with private property against the depredations of the King, only to be anointed 'Lord Protector', and rubbish Parliament.

The other aspect of Schama's work which is important is the presentation of the Middle Ages as anything but dark. They might be dark to the Enlightenment 'thinkers' who never bothered to read the thousands of Latin documents which still exist even today, written during the period. Indeed according to Medieval historians such as Regine Pernoud, there are by weight, literally tonnes of unopened and unexamined medieval manuscripts. The only thing dark about the Middle Period is our own laziness and ignorance about them. We should dismiss the Petrarch-Voltaire axis of uninformed narcissism about the Middle Ages. Literally thousands of inventions, including the greatest monuments in world history, namely the Gothic churches, were created during this period. Europe went through an agricultural, industrial, economic, social and intellectual set of revolutions over 1000 years. I am reminded by Braudel's description of the huge mining machines operating in Germany by 1400 AD. Or by the complexity of accounting systems developed by the same time. Or by the mere fact that in England under the Romans no water mills existed, but by 800 AD some 8.000 were in operation cutting wood and iron, or crushing grain and making bread. Giotto, Dante, Alcuin, Hildegaard, Bede - some dark age.

In any event this huge book – it is very heavy – is a great read and source for anyone interested in British history without the usual self-loathing cultural Marxist themes which are de-rigueur in today's ahistorical writing.

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