New Proofs

The Restless Republic by Anna Keay

December 8, 2021

‘The execution of the king took place on a bleak, bitterly cold afternoon in January. As the executioner landed the single blow that severed Charles I’s head, the crowd let out a deep collective moan. Within weeks both the monarchy and the House of Lords were abolished. The future was in the hands of the people.’

The Restless Republic tells the story of what life was like during the unprecedented and unrepeated decade when Britain was governed without a king. Who cut radical paths? And who suffered the monumental costs?

Acclaimed historian Anna Keay follows nine figures who made names for themselves during this time. Among them Anna Trapnel, the young prophet whose visions transfixed the nation. John Bradshaw, the Cheshire lawyer who found himself trying the king. Gerrard Winstanley, the man who saw a utopia where land was shared and no one went hungry. William Petty, the precocious academic whose audacious enterprise to map Ireland led to the dispossession of tens of thousands. The redoubtable Countess of Derby who defended fiercely the last Royalist stronghold on the Isle of Man. And Marchamont Nedham, the irrepressible newspaper man and puppet-master of propaganda. 

The Restless Republic ranges from the corridors of Westminster to the common fields of England. Gathering her cast of trembling visionaries and banished royalists, dextrous mandarins and bewildered bystanders, Anna Keay brings to vivid life the most extraordinary and experimental decade in Britain’s history. It is the story of what happened when a conservative people tried revolution.

Published 3rd March 2022 | Hardback | 9780008282028 | RRP £25

If you’re a bookseller in the UK or Ireland and you’d like an advance reading copy of The Restless Republic please send your request, along with your name and bookshop address, to El at

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