In this compelling history of the violent struggle between the monarchy and Parliament that tore apart seventeenth-century England, a rising star among British historians sheds new light on the people who fought and died through those tumultuous years. Like the Magna Carta and the American Revolution, the English Civil War resolved fundamental questions of sovereignty and political rights that are still the guiding principles of democracies today. However, the price of peace included the execution of a king, brutal persecution of Catholics and Royalists, and years of tyranny. Drawing on exciting new sources, including letters, memoirs, ballads, plays, illustrations, and even cookbooks, Diane Purkiss creates a rich and nuanced portrait of this turbulent era. Purkiss peoples her story with fascinating characters, from the obstinate King Charles I to his opponents such as the poet John Milton, from the brutal and egomaniacal Oliver Cromwell to the self-styled prophet Lady Eleanor Davies, to witchfinders, revolutionaries, and ordinary men and women. The English Civil War's dramatic consequences--rejecting divine right monarchy in favor of parliamentary rule--continue to influence our lives. In this colorful narrative, Diane Purkiss vividly brings to life the history that changed the course of Western government.