*The Restless Republic*

The author is Anna Keay and the subtitle is Britain Without a Crown, of course covering the 17th century British interregnum without a king.  Here is one relevant bit:

The rise of the newspapers was itself an aspect of the explosion in publishing which took place in the mid-seventeenth century.  In the year 1500 just over fifty books were printed in England, in 1600 the number was 300, come 1648 more than 2,300 titles poured off the presses in a single year.  Perhaps 30 percent of all men and 10 per cent of all women could read, and over double those percentages in the capital, a readership now offered an addictive weekly news fix that involved them as never before in the turbulent goings on of their kingdom.

One of my ongoing projects is to brush up on my seventeenth century European history, out of fear that it may be an especially relevant era right now.  The Keay book I found excellent throughout, especially her treatment of the Levellers, Sir William Petty, and more generally how the Irish and English histories of that time intersect.


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