Hill, (John Edward) Christopher 1912-2003
HILL, (John Edward) Christopher 1912-2003
OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born February 6, 1912, in York, England; died February 24, 2003, in Oxfordshire, England. Historian, educator, and author. Hill was a renowned Marxist historian who was especially acclaimed for his interpretations of the English Civil War. He graduated from Balliol College, Oxford, with an M.A. in 1938, whereupon he became a fellow and tutor in modern history there. During World War II he enlisted in the Buckingham-shire Light Infantry, served in the Army Intelligence Corps, and achieved the rank of major. Returning to Balliol, he was promoted to master in 1965 and remained part of the faculty until 1978. Hill focused most of his research on seventeenth-century England, insisting, unlike many of his colleagues, that the English Revolution led by Oliver Cromwell in 1640 was just that, a revolution on the order of the Russian Revolution and not simply an evolution in society. As a Marxist who was a member of the British Communist Party until the Russian invasion of Hungary convinced him to abandon communism, Hill saw Puritanism in socio-economic terms: as an important force that helped replace British feudalism with capitalism and thus facilitate the rise of the middle class and the British Empire. Hill was also fascinated by the many other religious and social movements of the 1600s, including the various groups—such as the Levellers and Fifth Monarchists—who for a brief while were able to express their radical ideas more openly in England after the temporary fall of the monarchy. One of his most acclaimed books on this subject is The World Turned upside Down: Radical Ideas during the English Revolution (1970). Among his other notable histories are The Century of Revolution, 1603-1714 (1961), Milton and the English Revolution (1977), A Nation of Change and Novelty: Radical Politics, Religion, and Literature in Seventeenth-Century England (1990), and England's Turning Point: Essays on Seventeenth-Century English History (1998). He also penned biographies on Cromwell and John Milton.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Writers Directory, 17th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2002.
Independent (London, England), March 1, 2003, p. 24.
New York Times, February 27, 2003, p. A29.
Times (London, England), February 26, 2003, p. 30.
Washington Post, March 3, 2003, p. B5.