'A Troubled Century ' is heartily recommended. The author has a great knowledge of Somerset, has done some serious research, and the book is well footnoted. Some published local history work is anecdote driven, even gossipy, or just swamped with obscure details. This book demonstrates what can be achieved in this field, being both very informative, readable and useful for anyone with an interest in 17th century history.
The authors which seem to have inspired this writer are Diane Purkiss ( particularly 'The English Civil War -A People's History') and the works of David Underdown. So there is an emphasis on looking at every day local life and in trying to determine the mentality of the time. As the title suggests, the author writes about the upheaval of civil war, rebellion, religious division, breakdown in law and order. But also the flood of 1607 due to the rise of the Bristol Channel , the witch trials of 1657, the extraordinary life of the pirate Peter Easton. Certainly a book that I will keep hold of as a reference work.
by Michael Bully