This is a superbly written, researched and beautifully illustrated book. It follows the military exploits of Sir William Brereton and the Cheshire army of Parliament 1642-46.
Sir William Brereton was a typical member of the early English bourgeoise. He was a "model puritan magistrate" and an active businessman. He travelled to such places as Netherlands, Ireland, Scotland, France and the United States where he acquired property in New England. He was a pioneer in estate management.
From a political standpoint, before the war, he was no rebel. He received a baronetcy from the duke of Buckingham in 1627 and did not resist Charles I's imposition of Ship money. As John Morrill points out, Brereton was "easily labelled a Puritan in the 1630s as any gentleman can be. He was a Protestant nationalist with marked anti-Catholic views".
At the outbreak of hostilities between the Parliament and King Brereton felt that in order to defend his business interest and religious beliefs, it would be prescient to side with Parliament. Politically conservative he became a well-established adherent of a godly reformation in the Long Parliament.
Civil War In Cheshire
As Abram points out, Brereton's early military exploits were none too successful. He was despatched by Parliament to seize Chester but failed miserably and was forced to return to London. Again when he tried to remove Royalist forces from Cheshire, his campaigns were nothing to write home about. It was only when he was given substantially more resources did military victories start to flow. These victories prompted Royalists to pump more men into the area. In total, 12000 men were sent to oppose Brereton. His subsequent victory over the Royalist army and his courageous actions and superb military acumen earned him the praise of Thomas Fairfax leader of the Parliamentary forces and a march through the streets of London.
During the last eighteen months of the war, Brereton kept letter books that contained a gold mine of information on Parliament's military, administrative, and political actions during the civil war.
Five letter books survived the war containing over some 2000 letters. The letters show that like a large number of participants in the war, Brereton underwent something of a radicalisation. According to Morrill "Brereton may also have already been linked to the radical congregationalist Samuel Eaton, just returned from exile in New England, whose sermons not only challenged the basis of all existing church government, discipline, and liturgy but also took up radical social causes".
Brereton became an important member of the 'war party' in the Long Parliament. He was especially close politically to lords Saye and Wharton, and Oliver St John and Henry Vane. He became a vital army grandee, and like Oliver Cromwell, was excluded from the Self Denying Ordinance that prevented members of Parliament from holding military commissions. He was named as a judge at the regicide but got cold feet and did not appear at the trial of the King. This action almost certainly saved his life as after the Restoration of 1660; he was allowed to continue to live in Croydon Palace.
Abram's book exhibits no real discernable historiography other than being influenced by the work of John Morrill and his book Revolt of the Provinces. Morrill's work is deeply hostile to Marxist historiography rejecting what he called the "rather triumphalist claim that you could now produce a kind of social determinist view of the long-term causes and origins of the English revolution. It was that I think, which several people quite independently reacted against".
Morrill's historiography was characterised by his theory of the civil wars being 'Wars of Religion and a "revolt of the Provinces".Abram's book appears to be a military version of that historiography.
To conclude, as I said at the beginning of this article the is well researched and uses a range of primary sources, a large number of which have never been published. The book is beautifully illustrated, and the artwork of Alan Turton and Dr Lesley Prince takes it to a different level. For any military history enthusiast, the book is a must-read.
 Sir William Brereton and England's Wars of Religion-John Morrill-Journal of British StudiesVol. 24, No. 3 (1985), pp. 311-332-https://www.jstor.org/stable/175522