Born OTD in 1912, English Marxist historian and academic, specialising in 17th-century English history, Christopher Hill. Within the English revolution of the mid-17th century which resulted in the triumph of the protestant ethic – the ideology of the propertied class – there threatened another, quite different, revolution. Its success ‘might have established communal property, a far wider democracy in political & legal institutions, might have disestablished the state church & rejected the protestant ethic’.

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In ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ Christopher Hill studies the beliefs of such radical groups as the Diggers, the Ranters, the Levellers and others, and the social and emotional impulses that gave rise to them. The relations between rich and poor classes, the part played by wandering ‘masterless’ men, the outbursts of sexual freedom, the great imaginative creations of Milton and Bunyan – these and many other elements build up into a marvellously detailed and coherent portrait of this strange, sudden effusion of revolutionary beliefs.

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