No Englishman has made more impact on the history of his nation than Oliver Cromwell; few have been so persistently maligned in the folklore of history. The central purpose of Antonia Fraser's book is the recreation of his life and character, freed from the distortions of myth and Royalist propaganda. Cromwell was a man of contradictions and surprising charm. This decisive and ruthless commander was also a country gentleman and a passionate connoisseur of music. Of Cromwell's fitness for high office, this fascinating biography leaves no doubt. Under his rule English prestige abroad rose to a level unequalled since Elizabeth I, yet his campaign in Ireland has cast a shadow over his reputation. Antonia Fraser displays great insight into this complex man and reveals a totally unexpected Cromwell, far removed from the received stereotype.