Revel, Riot, and Rebellion
What have maypoles, charivari processions, and stoolball matches to do with the English Civil War? A great deal, argues David Underdown. Using three western counties as a case-study, he shows that the war was neither a dispute confined to the elite nor a class struggle of the 'middling sort' against a discredited aristocracy. It was in fact the result of profound disagreements among people of all soci al levels about the moral basis of their communities; commoners as well as ruler held strong opinions about order and governance. But these opinions varied from place to place, and through a pioneering synthesis of social history and popular culture, Underdown relates political diversity to cultural diversity, and shows that local difference in popular allegiance in the Civil War coincided with regional contrast in the traditional festive culture. The book is thus an important reinterpretation of both the English Revolution and the relationship between society, politics, and culture in the seventeenth century.