With hindsight, the victory of Parliamentarian forces over the Royalists in the English Civil War may seem inevitable but this outcome was not a foregone conclusion. Timothy Venning explores many of the turning points and discusses how they might so easily have played out differently. What if, for example, Charles I had capitalized on his victory at Edgehill by attacking London without delay? Could this have ended the war in 1642? His actual advance on the capital in 1643 failed but came close to causing a Parliamentarian collapse - how could it have succeeded and what then? Among the many other scenarios, full consideration is given to the role of Ireland (what if Papal meddling had not prevented Irish Catholics aiding Charles?) and Scotland (how might Montrose's Scottish loyalists have neutralized the Covenanters?). The author analyses the plausible possibilities in each thread, throwing light on the role of chance and underlying factors in the real outcome, as well as what might easily have been different.
Dr Timothy Venning is a freelance researcher and author. Among his many previous works are If Rome Hadn't Fallen (Pen & Sword, 2011) and five previous volumes of An Alternative History of Britain. His fascination with the 'what ifs' of history was first kindled by a comic strip he read in Ranger while at primary school in the late '60s and has endured ever since. He lives in Hampshire.