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The Most Heavy Stroke. The Battle Of Roundway Down 1643.

The Most Heavy Stroke. The Battle Of Roundway Down 1643.

Chris Scott.
ARRSE Rating
4 Mushroom Heads
The English Civil War is somewhat of a mystery to me I am embarrassed to say. I have vague images in my head from childhood history lessons of “Roundheads” and Cavaliers. It is with some discomfort then that I had my comfortable recollections rapidly turned to dust in the first few pages by a man of Dr Chris Scott, the authors very evident wealth of knowledge and passion for the period.

This book is an in depth analysis of the battle examining all elements with an almost microscopic intensity. Whilst my base of knowledge was almost non existent, this in no way detracted from my enjoyment of the book. Though it would be remiss of me not to mention that the book would appeal more to a reader with an interest in the period and some insight into the main characters.

The author has been walking Battlefields for over forty years and is the co-founder of the Guild of Battlefield Guides. This is very evident as the book strides through the terrain of the preliminary manoeuvres and the engagement with a soldier’s eye. Units deployments, make up, leadership and equipment are all covered throughout the book at every stage, and this gives a real weight to the answers given to the reader at each event. Why was this action fought here? By this unit?, By this commander? At this time?And how did this affect the ultimate outcome? Each question is examined and scrutinised from primary sources coupled with the authors own impressive wealth of subject knowledge.

It leaves quite an impression to be talked through the key events both leading up to, during, and after with the names so familiar to most readers. This is not Berlin, Austerlitz, or Moscow. This is Bristol, Oxford, Devizes, Gloucester. That the author feels the need to early confess his Parliamentarian bias should in no way detract from his handling of what must be a painful defeat on the muddy track to eventual victory.

I will not attempt to cover the events, personalities, or outcomes of this eminently readable volume. It only leaves me to say that I closed this book with a greatly enriched feel for the entire period gained from this examination of this unexpected reverse for Parliament.

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