John Buchan sets out to redress many misconceived popular opinions of this English soldier and statesman. His biography achieves that aim, starting with Cromwell's childhood and youth. Born in 1599, Cromwell was a devout Puritan who, when the civil war broke out, quickly joined the Parliamentary forces. He fought many battles including Marston Moor and Naseby and was eventually instrumental in bringing Charles I to trial. After establishing the Commonwealth, he suppressed the Levellers, Ireland and the Scots. In 1653, five years before his death, he established a Protectorate. Buchan wrote of Cromwell: 'He is a soldier on the grand scale, strategist as well as tactician; statesman as well as fighting man; and it is by this new phase of his military career that his place is to be adjudged in the hierarchy of the great captains'.