Zealots : How a Group of Scottish Conspirators Unleashed Half a Century of War in Britain

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A page-turning account of often misunderstood events set in train by religious zealotry that cost hundreds of thousands of lives in Britain.

This is an innovative, controversial history of Scotland, Ireland and England in the early modern period. Its originality lies in new research pinpointing Fife, especially St Andrews, as the area where a group of men instigated not just Scotland's wars of religion but also triggered three civil wars in England and Ireland. Covenanters, Catholics, Royalists, Presbyterians, Independents, Remonstrants, Malignants, Gibbites, The Indulged, The Unindulged - the extraordinary factions and schisms that led to so much bloodshed are explored and explained through this series of bloody holy wars.

Oliver Thomson demonstrates that only in Fife and nowhere else in Britain in the 1630s was there such a combustible concentration of rebel priests, articulate politicians and unemployed mercenaries, many sharing strong family ties. They were powerful enough to promote the two Bishops' Wars leading to a series of Scottish invasions of England and consequently all three of the English Civil Wars (the Wars of the Three Kingdoms) and over 600,000 deaths. Would there have been an English Civil War if the Scots had not invaded England in 1640? And why did the Scots change from the winning side to the losing side?

This book provides a new explanation for major events in British history, by showing how a small group of people living in unstable, religiously-charged times sparked a much wider conflict. In doing so, it offers an insight into how religiously fuelled civil and regional wars come about, both in Britain and in other parts of the world even today.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 27.94mm | 563g
  • Chalford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 16 Plates, color
  • 1445677954
  • 9781445677958
  • 1,550,227

About Oliver Thomson

Oliver Thomson read history at Cambridge and later added a PhD at Glasgow University, where he has been a part-time lecturer for many years. His main career was in the advertising industry. He has written over a dozen books, many of which focus on propaganda and mass manipulation leading to oppressive governments and unnecessary wars. They include 'Easily Led: a History of Propaganda' and for Amberley 'The Impossible Bourbons', 'The Other Kaisers' and 'Zealots', an investigation into the religious roots of the Scottish and English Civil Wars. Several of his books have appeared in Japanese and Portuguese translation.
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