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Lead book review

The radicals of 17th-century England began to think the unthinkable

Jonathan Healey describes how Diggers, Levellers and other revolutionary sects started proposing universal male suffrage, legal aid and even a national health service

18 January 2023

10:00 PM

18 January 2023

10:00 PM

The Blazing World: A New History of Revolutionary England Jonathan Healey

Bloomsbury, pp.488, 30

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. It was the century, as the historian Kevin Sharpe wrote, summing up the Whig view, ‘in which the champions of law and liberty, property and Protestantism triumphed over absolute monarchy and popery and laid the foundations for parliamentary government’.

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