Nick Bunker

Puritan Persuasions

The Rainborowes: Pirates, Puritans and a Family’s Quest for the Promised Land


Jonathan Cape 409pp £25 order from our bookshop

Halfway through this tale of piety and plunder in the era of Oliver Cromwell, the reader comes across a telling one-liner from a Puritan divine. It was, wrote Hugh Peter in 1644, a ‘pamphlet-glutted age’. This was rather rich coming from Peter, a bigoted loudmouth who penned scores of tracts of his own, but no historian can disagree. As the Civil War reached its climax, so a torrent of print flowed from the presses on both sides. Few periods in English history have left behind so many sources, so much propaganda and such a welter of conflicting testimony from people with axes to grind.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter