Sunday, June 26, 2016

Women All on Fire: The Women of the English Civil War

Alison Plowden's books are a bit like a survey course.  I mean that as a complement - they touch on all the major points, attract your attention, and leave you wanting to delve deeper into the subject.  Women All on Fire covers much of the same ground as Antonia Frasier's The Weaker Vessel, but with a much lighter touch.  Plowden essentially provides biological sketches of a few dozen women who supported their husbands (or themselves fought in defense of their great houses) on both sides of the English Civil War.  She leads off with the most prominent woman, Queen Henrietta Marie, a woman who also had the most thrilling flight (how many queens find themselves ducking cannon fire?).  The later tales are less thrilling, but the reader still comes away with admiration for these women, whether they served as faithful companions, stalwart defenders, or master tacticians.

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