After reading a few heavy books I fancied a change and went back in time both historically and when written. This is an old book from my rather large ECW collection. Written by Brigadier Peter Young and Doctor Margaret Toynbee and printed in 1970 just three years after my birth! The book is just a joy to read though it's neither page heavy running to 156 pages nor word heavy being larger type set and well spaced. Never the less they manage to pack in quite a bit of information and the style of writing is really easy to take in. The subject matter is that of the Cropredy Campaign in early 1644 that saw Waller pit his army against Charles I and was in fact the first time Charles himself was a direct target of Parliamentarian fire (lending a lie to the idea that they were trying to rescue the King from evil councellors.
Young and Toynbee had worked on a number of books together and all of the ones I have read were well worth the effort though you have to bear in mind that all the works are done with a definate Royalist slant. Not that they are in bad company regards the English Civil War as so many authors have an obvious bias towards one party or another. The book also has a reasonable number of colour and B&W plates and photographs of mixed quality or use and for a really nice touch it also has quite a few line drawings scattered amoungst the pages that really add a nice feeling to the book.
|One of the many line drawings in the book.|
But all this aside how does it stand up with facts and figures. Rather well is the answer, so much so from the point of a wargamer that I will be running a short campaign based on the information held within the pages. I have had to do only a little extra research to knit together a few external details so it scores high for the wargamer, supplying details such as a few coat colours, strength of many of the units and a good time line of events that impacted on the campaign. At the end of the book it prints in full a number of accounts of the actual battle which for me was great. Nothing like brushing up on your old English, a skill of it's own I can tell you, keeping a straight face whilst reading "the rest were forced to retreat, and came over a Bridge called Crapridden". I failed but thank you Richard Coe for the laugh!
For anyone interested in this period it's a must read, especially if you also like to wargame the period as not just the battle itself but plenty of other scenario ideas. General readers may well also like the story but I have seen it going for about £25 a copy it's not great value for the page and word count. Me, I would not part with it, one of the few books I have read in ages that was a joy to read. It's my favorite period so I am biased and it won't be the last book I re-visit from my collection.