George Monk – or Monck – is one of the pivotal figures of English history. Born into the west country squirarchy, Monk went abroad as a soldier of fortune, gaining valuable military experience in Spain, France and the Netherlands. When the English Civil War broke out Monk’s first allegiance was to the Royalist cause. Sent to Ireland to put down a rebellion, he became Governor of Dublin. Captured by the Roundheads at the battle of Nantwich, Monk spent two years in the Tower writing a military treatise before Parliament sent him back to Ireland. Having switched sides, he became a loyal Parliamentarian, becoming especially close to Cromwell. He was at the Protector’s side at the battle of Dunbar, and was left in Scotland to complete the campaign and subdue the Scots. After Cromwell’s death Monk remained in Edinburgh with his army, and skilfully played his cards as opinion shifted towards the restoration of the monarchy. Bringing his army south, Monk was instrumental in bringing about the Restoration of Charles II in 1660. A grateful King made him Duke of Albemarle and granted him lavish titles and lands – including America’s modern north and south Carolina. As well as his soldiering, Monk, who died in 1670, commanded the English Fleet during the first and second Anglo-Dutch naval wars. He was also founding Colonel of the oldest regiment in the British Army – the Coldstream Guards. This biography, published in 1904, is a reliable and concise Life of a key – but often underrated – figure in England’s political, military and naval history.