> Skip to content
  • Published: 5 January 2022
  • ISBN: 9780241285817
  • Imprint: Allen Lane
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 704
  • RRP: $75.00
Categories:

Devil-Land

England Under Siege, 1588-1688




A ground-breaking portrait of the most turbulent century in English history

Among foreign observers, seventeenth-century England was known as 'Devil-Land': a diabolical country of fallen angels, torn apart by seditious rebellion, religious extremism and royal collapse. Clare Jackson's dazzling, original account of English history's most turbulent and radical era tells the story of a nation in a state of near continual crisis.

As an unmarried heretic with no heir, Elizabeth I was regarded with horror by Catholic Europe, while her Stuart successors, James I and Charles I, were seen as impecunious and incompetent, unable to manage their three kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland. The traumatic civil wars, regicide and a republican Commonwealth were followed by the floundering, foreign-leaning rule of Charles II and his brother, James II, before William of Orange invaded England with a Dutch army and a new order was imposed.

Devil-Land reveals England as, in many ways, a 'failed state': endemically unstable and rocked by devastating events from the Gunpowder Plot to the Great Fire of London. Catastrophe nevertheless bred creativity, and Jackson makes brilliant use of eyewitness accounts - many penned by stupefied foreigners - to dramatize her great story. Starting on the eve of the Spanish Armada's descent in 1588 and concluding with a not-so 'Glorious Revolution' a hundred years later, Devil-Land is a spectacular reinterpretation of England's vexed and enthralling past.

  • Published: 5 January 2022
  • ISBN: 9780241285817
  • Imprint: Allen Lane
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 704
  • RRP: $75.00
Categories:

Also by Clare Jackson

See all

Praise for Devil-Land

Fascinating. This Stuart-centred view from across the Channel of the years 1588-1688 offers a fresh, provocative and highly readable take on one of the most formative centuries of English history.

David Reynolds, author of Island Stories: An Unconventional History of Britain

The story of the rise and fall of the Stuart dynasty in England, as seen through the eyes of our often confused European neighbours ... Wonderfully clear and original.

Leanda de Lisle, The Times

Wonderful ... So vivid, plunges you into the chaos and the uncertainty, and inevitably has echoes of now. It reminds us that states are not inevitabilities, and that they're formed out of chaos and may go back to the conditions of their formation.

Fintan O'Toole

The book is a big historical advance. Epic in scale, briskly paced and elegantly written ... Ours, it turns out, is a very un-insular "Island Story". And its 17th-century chapter will never look quite the same again.

John Adamson, Sunday Times

A bracingly revisionist view of our history in the century after the Armada ... after reading Devil-Land 'this sceptered isle' and 'demi-paradise' is unlikely to look quite the same ever again.

David Reynolds, New Statesman

Devil-Land eloquently retells the story of our island's most turbulent century ... England, Jackson shows, was a pariah state, feared, distrusted and ridiculed on the continent.

Ruth Scurr, Times Literary Supplement

Clare Jackson offers some acute insights on an era of failure and ferment, weaving together an impressive narrative of a time when the English seemed suddenly to have lost their minds.

Gerard DeGroot, The Times

Jackson reappraises Stuart England in two distinctive ways ... The result is a richer picture not only of England under the Stuarts and as a republic, but also of its neighbours ... The research is impressive, the writing lucid and every page thought-provoking. It is also tremendously entertaining.

Jessie Childs, London Review of Books

Extraordinary ... one of those perception-changing books of British history which only come along now and then, every few decades, and this is really one of the big ones.

Andrew Marr

A book to be savoured by students, history aficionados, and anyone who enjoys seeing a scholar at the top of her game diving into stories we think we know well, only to emerge with all manner of surprises.

Steven Veerapen, Aspects of History

Related titles