Charles Singleton, Ed., 1648 and All That – the Scottish Invasions of England 1648 and 1651 (Helion and Company, 2023)
Reviewed by Dom Sore
The English Civil Wars of the mid-17th Century are a fascinating microcosm of the much greater wars being fought on the continent at the same time but with a somewhat different outcome. The Civil Wars did not involve just English forces, though most fighting took part in that country, there were also Irish, Welsh, and Scottish participants. The Scottish effort was maybe the most important even if the Irish involvement had a longer lasting impact; the Scots Covenanters started in opposition to the King’s policies rather than on the side of Parliament but ended up supporting that same King when it looked more advantageous to do so.
This book looks at some of the later phases of the Civil Wars via the collected works that formed the 2022 Helion and Company Century of the Soldier Conference. That was a full day of historical discussions attended by experts and interested parties. The topics included the fortifications of Scotland that were constructed to defend Scotland from internal and external antagonists, the command and control of armies of the time, whether the second Civil War was pro or anti-monarchy, and the logistics of raising a rebellion in the period.
The essays in this book are detailed and academic, delving into the minutiae of specific topics and examining sources that provide such useful insights into the time. They are all well written, if a little scholarly at times, but all very interesting in their own way. The fortress essay, for example, could be the basis for a book and a travel guide. You can also dip in and out of this to read the parts that interest you the most as they are all stand-alone essays. The whole book, however, could have used a few maps to help visualise where important events happened, but it is still well worth reading for Civil War enthusiasts and students of the early modern era.