Friday, 12 September 2014

Book Review - 'Uncharitable Mischief'

'Uncharitable Mischief: Barbarity & Excess In The British Civil Wars' by Charles Singleton

The author of this fine booklet has achieved something quite brilliant. Firstly he makes it clear that the British Civil War was, like all other civil wars, extremely brutal. Given the Victorian mythology which has been caked over the War this is no mean feat. Singleton uses referenced case studies to show how, after the initial enthusiasm waned post Edgehill, several areas of the country became the victims of soldiers who were no more than gangsters.

The second part of the book looks at the New Model Army's campaign in Ireland. Again this part of the War is layered with myth and controversy. Singleton does an excellent job of showing us how the NMA actually operated and that Oliver was a real person and not a bloodthirsty mass-murderer. It is often, conveniently, forgotten that Cromwell was under the orders of The Parliament and worked within the existing Laws of War.

A well referenced and extremely readable work. I recommend this book as an excellent introduction to the truth about the BCW.

PS I discovered that this book is also available on The Pike & Shot Society sales page. About half way down.

Link to the original review page. 



  1. A number of fine works on the Wars are available from the Pike & Shot Society. Those interested in this interesting period might well consider joining. The Society journal, Arquebusier, has a reputation for solid well-researched articles