The enthralling history of one English family who changed the world through the turbulent years of the Civil War and birth of the New World
The Rainborowes bridges two generations and two worlds, weaving together the lives of the Rainborowe clan as they struggle to forge a better life for themselves and a better future for humankind in the New World.
Starting with William Rainborowe, a prominent merchant-mariner and shipmaster, and his equally formidable sons and daughters between 1630 and 1660, we follow their astonishing story through the Civil War, the Putney debates, and settling in America. The Rainborowes explains America and mourns England’s failed revolution. It spans oceans and ideologies and encompasses personal tragedies and triumphs, the death of kings and the birth of nations.
Using rare printed material from the period and unpublished manuscripts from collections in Britain and America The Rainborowes recreates day-to-day life on both sides of the Atlantic during one of the most tumultuous periods in Western history. In their efforts to build a paradise on earth, the Rainborowes and their friends encounter pirates and witches, prophets and princes, Muslem militants and Mohican Indians. They build new societies. They are ordinary men and women, and they do an extraordinary thing.
They change the world.
“This absorbing book brings us as close as we can get to [Thomas Rainborowe] and to the sturdy, courageous colonists that formed his astounding views.”
Diane Purkiss, The Times
“Adrian Tinniswood, so gifted and spirited a communicator of serious history to a wide readership, here brings a number of themes from his previous books together… Tinniswood is 'not even sure' that he 'likes' the Rainborowes…but he could hardly have done more to bring them to life or to capture their part in the convulsions of their time.”
Blair Worden, Spectator
“Remarkable and enthralling… Adrian Tinniswood has an eye for a good tale.”
Philip Withington, Guardian
“An engrossing study of two brothers' ferocious commitment to Cromwell and the Puritan mission to colonise the New World… In this well researched history of the family and their influence, Tinniswood conjures an England of holy-rolling, anti-rational sectarians and Cromwellites of every stripe.”
Ian Thomson, Observer
“Fascinating… Tinniswood’s main aim here is not, in the end, to prove an abstract argument, but to tell some very good stories – something he does extremely well, with a command of atmospheric detail and a fund of human sympathy.”
Noel Malcolm, Sunday Telegraph
“Globalisation comes to mind when reading The Rainborowes.”
Thomas Quinn, Big Issue
“Tinniswood’s exceptional account succeeds in bringing the idealistic, God-fearing and often violent Rainborowes to life, while at the same time exploring the perils involved in trying to build a new state in two very different but intimately connected societies.”
Ian Critchley, Sunday Times
“A fascinating truth-is-stranger-than-fiction story.”
“A masterful history of Olde and New England during the turbulent years of the Civil War.”
Amanda Foreman, Mail on Sunday
“So impressive… Tinniswood writes in a fluent, engaging style, and has an impressive ability to recount a telling detail that simultaneously provides a larger historical perspective. The Rainborowes will appeal to a broad range of readers.”
Claire Jowitt, BBC History Magazine
“[Tinniswood] adopts many techniques of a historical novelist to give a vivid urgency to portraits of events and a richness and colour to descriptions of places... The book has a commendable honesty as well as high literary quality.”
Ronald Hutton, History Today
“This is a gripping account of an extraordinary period”
Good Book Guide