I found myself in Dudley town centre a few weeks on a Saturday morning and as I had some spare time before the castle & zoo opened I visited the local library. My brother has, in the past, bought a number of historical books from there as they tend to sell off old stock i.e. old Haynes car manuals and romantic novels (same thing really). However if you’re prepared to rummage then you can pick to a few interesting titles. In a small reading room there’s a sign stating that it’s a pound for as many books per bag (you have to bring your own bag).
I bought the following (all for one English pound – bargain!).
‘Life and Times of Richard I’ – John Gillingham
‘Richard the Lionheart’ (second edition) - John Gillingham
‘Richard III’ - Charles Ross
‘Henry V as Warlord’ – Desmond Seward
‘The Roundheads’ – Jasper Ridley
I even popped out to get a plastic bag from WHSmith so that bumped up the overall price to £1.01. I had to leave two other books as I don’t think the bag could take the strain. I’ve only managed to read ‘The Roundheads’ book so far. This deals with the main Parliament (obviously) characters involved in the conflicts of the ECW, their actions during the commonwealth and their lives after the restoration.
In particular there is a fascinating account of John Lambert; a tragic character who after being judged by his former colleagues spent decades in prison slowly going mad. Another character detailed is Admiral Blake, who, I have to admit I’d never heard of. Blake was one of the most successful military leaders, naval or otherwise, in British history. It’s definitely worth popping into your local library even if just to read the Saturday papers for free and you might even pick up a bargain or two.