Helen on Twitter asked me today if I had any recommended reading for someone new to the Restoration period. It seems like quite a long time since I wrote the book for Hodder, but as many teachers will be starting to think about how they might teach this next year, it seems that this might be a good time for me to set out what I read.
This list is quite eccentric, and doesn’t include any of the journal articles that I read. This is mainly because I didn’t practice what I preach, and failed to make a running reference list. Sorry about that… Anyway:
General Background Reading.
Can’t beat Ronald Hutton. Understanding the different pressures on the Restoration settlement is crucial, and Hutton sets these out very well. Bliss is a very good short introduction – with clear analysis as well as narrative. I’d read this one second after the Jackson if I were new to this.
Politics and Government.
Patterson most helpful here in setting out and explaining the shifting positions and conflicts between Council, Monarch and Parliament. This would be the third book I’d read if approaching this for the first time.
One of the important things about the course is helping students see the bigger picture, the seeds of economic and imperial growth in the events of Charles II’s reign. Both of these books help with that. Ferguson is good for big picture, though a little overblown. Canny is a good survey.
Women in the Restoration period.
War, Plague and Fire
The Jones is really good on naval tactics, the relationships between War, aristocracy and the coffers of the exchequer (and through this its relation to Parliament). On the fire, Hanson is a bit fluffy, but a good page turner and possibly a source of interesting ‘interpretations’. Slack is absolutely forensic in the detail of the impact of the Plague.
Speaking of interpretations, I found that the pictures and text of Ladybird books were a really good source for these. Would also recommend Our Island Story by Marshall, and G. M. Trevelyan for same reason.