Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The World Turned Upside Down: Radical Ideas During the English Revolution (Penguin History) Paperback – December 4, 1984
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
The World Turned Upside Down documents the second revolution and the ideas and ideologies of the English radicals who sought to redefine freedom, faith and property, "the revolt within the Revolution" and the fascinating flood of radical ideas which it threw up." (13). Though he focuses on what he concedes could be characterized as the "lunatic fringe" of the English revolution, Hill argues that their ideas reflected a widespread popular challenge to power, class and authority in the 1640s and 1650s whose study permits "a deeper insight into English society than the evidence permits either before 1640 or after 1660." (15)
The English Civil War was not merely a struggle between Parliament and the Crown - the "first revolution" - it also unleashed the forces of class antagonisms that had been simmering in the wake of a breakdown of the feudal economy and society in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. A growing population of "masterless men" had begun to undermine the traditional bonds of "loyalty and dependence between lord and man" (32), incubating subversive ideas in the towns, forests and, above all in the parliamentary New Model Army and growing religious sectaries.Read more ›
Thanks to Hill, I now count Gerrard Winstanley as one of my personal heroes. Because I now know that for one brief, shining period of English history, the spirit of that man and others like him stormed the heavens, smashed the idols, and brought forth the vision of a better society. One that can join with the best of other national inheritances. (There were even disreputable rumors that women might be capable human beings.) It's almost exciting to follow the heroic efforts of the Diggers, Ranters, Levelers, and other assorted itinerants, visionaries, and Biblical scholars, all trying to throw off the oppressive weight of God, King, and the Rising Professional Class. They failed. But England and the rest of us are surely the worse for it. This is hidden history at its best, a magnifying glass held to the beliefs and thoughts of people whose beliefs and thoughts are usually passed over in the grand sweep of events.Read more ›
If you want to understand American history, this book is a must read because many of these movements could be seen later in the American Revolutionary war. It may also surprise many that the friendly face you see on a box of Quaker Oats has more in common with counter-culture rather than corporate culture.
Hill sticks to his theme and writes well. While filled with footnotes, this book was very easy on the eye. In addition he manages to show how these movements change over time. Never a dull page here!
Hill's book tells the marvelously exciting stories of the Ranters and Seekers, Levellers and True Levellers (or Diggers), and the Quakers. Diggers, so called because they cultivated land they held in common in communes, were the most radical strain. They vied with the Levellers, who "merely" supported the universal right of every male head of household to vote for parliament. These events scared to death the usual powers-that-be. Thomas Hobbes' wrote the Leviathan in reaction against the chaos, as he saw it, of the English Civil War.
In summarizing the impact of the radicals' ideas, Hill quotes their enemy Clement Walker that they had "cast all the secrets and mysteries of government...before the vulgar (like pearls before swine)...[and] made the people thereby so curious and so arrogant that they will never find humility enough to submit to a civil rule."
Hill states, "For a short time, ordinary people were freer from the authority of church and social superiors than they had ever been before, or were for a long time to be again." Hill's excellent book tells the story of how such an event came to be and how the lords and gentry regained power and smashed the radicals.
A must read for anyone interested in the history of political ideas or English history.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I thought I knew quite a bit about British history but I learned a great deal reading this fascinating book. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Cool Stuff on Amazon
This was recommended by one of my professors and it did answer some of my questions. I just wish the print was larger.Published 12 months ago by Ann West LaPrise
Aside from offering (me at least) many insight during those years the book is marvelously entertaining. The best of both qualities you like to find in serious history books.Published 20 months ago by Richard Evans Lee
Without denying Christopher Hill's brilliance, I have to note that his Communism colors his interpretation of history. Read morePublished on April 26, 2014 by reading man
Though comprehensive and very detailed review of subject was interesting, I had hoped for less academic, and more of a summary treatment and explanation of events. Read morePublished on March 25, 2013 by Kindle Customer
Although both the parliamentary and royalist sides in the English Revolution, the major revolutionary event of the 17th century, quoted the Bible, particularly the newer English... Read morePublished on September 6, 2007 by Alfred Johnson
Marxist historian Christopher Hill gives us a lucid and thoroughly researched account of the English civil war and the radical revolutionary movements that followed in the... Read morePublished on February 7, 2007 by Steiner
Much information lots of footnotes but very difficult to follow. It seems to be a collection of lectures given to a class of students without much thought to the reader who is try... Read morePublished on May 7, 2005 by sammick