Devil-Land: Wolfson Prize in History, 2022

Readers of this Blog are likely to be familiar with the outstandingly important work of Dr Clare Jackson of Trinity Hall on Sir George Mackenzie, and also her two important BBC 2 TV series on the Stuarts. In 2021, she published Devil-Land: England under Siege, 1588-1688. This is a fascinating and readable study. It is about a century of English history viewed from the perspective of outsiders. With all the benefit of hindsight, the century is seen as that of the rise of constitutional government and foundational for the development of the British Empire in the eighteenth century; but to outsiders England seemed a failed and failing state, unstable, with governmental failures, the execution and deposition of monarchs, subject to disaster. For continental observers, both Catholic and Protestant, it was the land not of angels but of devils. It is a great pleasure to note that this profound, ingenious and readable book has been awarded the Wolfson Prize in History, 2022