The New York Times best-selling author of The Six Wives of Henry VIII and The War of the Roses, historian Alison Weir crafts fascinating portraits of England’s infamous House of Tudor line. Here Weir focuses on Elizabeth I, also known as the Virgin Queen, who ascended to the throne at age 25 and never married, yet ruled for 44 years and steered England into its Golden Age.
©1998 Alison Weir (P)2003 Recorded Books
“A riveting portrait of the queen and how the private woman won her public role.” (Kirkus Reviews)
Alison Weir is a master of historical narrative. This is a well written, comprehensive biography of Elizabeth I. The book begins with her Grandfather and quickly sets the stage through the reign of her father and siblings Edward and Mary. After the story of her childhood, the real story begins with the reign of her younger brother.
Elizabeth's story is familiar in broad strokes - Bloody Mary, Mary Queen of Scots, the Spanish Armada, Shakespeare and the English Renaissance. Never the less, the details read like a spy novel, a romance, a treatise on civil government, religion and culture. From Sir Francis Drake raiding Spanish ships to Lord Essex at war in Ireland, the book covers her life and 45 year reign in style.
I particularly like the way Weir quotes her sources in an authoritative manner without disrupting the flow of the narrative. In this way the book reads like historical fiction - which it is not. Weir is simply knowledgeable enough having done adequate research to re-create scenes dramatically with the words of her characters.
Ultimately, there is little revolutionary in her point of view on Elizabeth. As a scholar, I don't think her research brings her to any new or shocking revelations though she clarifies and adds details to many points. Elizabeth was with little doubt a pivotal figure in the history of Europe and defining leader in the development of what was to become Great Britain. I suspect Weir's "The Life of Elizabeth I" is well on it's way to becoming a modern classic on the subject of the life of Elizabeth I. Well worth a read if you have any interest at all. This book is long, but quite accessible.
Yes, if they were interested in British history.
Davina Porter could read the phone book and I'd listen to her. Her accents and voices given the different characters are wonderful.
Why marrying would have ruined Elizabeth I.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
It is obvious that Alison Weir did a lot of research for this book. I like the fact that she subtly inserted the citation into the narrative. There is a lot of information provided in the book but the story line never bogged down. I do wish Weir had provided more information about the day to day rule of Elizabeth 1. I was amazed at how well educated Elizabeth 1 was and how many languages she spoke. I was unaware she served as an arbitrator between various countries helping to solve problems as to avoid war. Elizabeth 1 seemed to be such a talented person beside the above noted education, she was a magnificent horse women, a musician, dancer, singer, good at needle work, and a good politician. She apparently put the people of England as her priority. No wonder she was known as "good queen Bess". Davina Porter is a fantastic narrator and she was superb with the book. I am looking forward to reading more of Alison Weir.
Read from October 06 to 31, 2013
Narrator: 4 stars
Book: 2.5 stars - DNF
I've always been fascinated by Queen Elizabeth I, and after reading Alison Weir's novelization (to use the term loosely) of Elizabeth's pre-reign life (The Lady Elizabeth), I wanted to experience her take on Elizabeth from the perspective of a historian rather than a novelist, since she seems to not only be a great researcher, but also not someone with an obvious bias for or against this queen.
Unfortunately, there was something I'd forgotten from the other works of Weir's that I've read: her tendency to get stuck on a "theme" and repeat it repetitively continuously redundantly throughout her books, bringing the same thing up over and over repetitiously. Did I mention she tends to repeat herself time and time again?
This is a 24-hour long audiobook (and Davina Porter does an excellent job bringing life to what could have been dull non-fiction in another's less-capable hands), and the first 18 or so hours of it focus on the fact that ELIZABETH WASN'T MARRIED and played around with the idea a couple of times but never actually got married. Did I mention that everyone wanted Elizabeth to get married, but she didn't really want to? Oh, and she spent all her time with Robert Dudley, not to mention the fact that she was an emotional basketcase and screamed and yelled at people when she didn't get her way or when they reminded her she wasn't married or told her she should get married or presented an idea of whom she could marry to her. Oh, and did I mention SHE WASN'T MARRIED? Because obviously, this was the absolute most vital, important part of her reign that Weir spent about 75% of the book focused on the fact that ELIZABETH WASN'T MARRIED.
By the time I finally gave up trying to force myself to finish this book and moved on to something else, I'd learned one very important thing:
ALISON WEIR WANTED TO MAKE SURE WE ALL KNEW THAT ELIZABETH WASN'T MARRIED.
Oh, and apparently she couldn't do anything without Robert Dudley, either. They fought and she sent him away, but then she had to have him back because she couldn't "do" without him for very long. But she wouldn't marry him.
And if there was anything international to do, it was only because ELIZABETH WASN'T MARRIED and she might be looking abroad for someone to marry.
So, all that to say that this probably wasn't the best bio of Queen Elizabeth I for me to read. Because, actually, I already knew that Elizabeth WASN'T MARRIED and NEVER MARRIED. (Except, possibly, David Tennant's version of Doctor Who---but that's another story.)
birds and more birds
i love audio to much to try the print version of anything with rare exceptions
the differences between Elizabeth and Henry the VIII
i love davina porter, as a narrator she is ideal for british history.
listen to the autobiography of henry the viii first and then listen to this one, if you are a history buff like i am you will love it.
I grew up on Golden Age Radio, I love to learn about a great many things, and I enjoy a wide variety of genres. Me, bored? Never!
While this book stands on its own, this is best understood as the 4th book in a 4-part series with Alison Weir's Henry VIII, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, and The Children of Henry VIII. This book picks up with Elizabeth's ascension to the throne, the previous chapters of her life being intertwined with the events of those books. While this book does stand on its own, a complete picture is far more satisfying to me, and I'd recommend the other books to those interested in Tudor history.
It's my own personal taste, but while I've gained a great appreciation and respect for Elizabeth, I find that her father's antics are far more entertaining. Having said that, the finale to the Tudor Dynasty brings no shortage of intrigue and grandstanding. As with her previous books, Weir's writing style brings history to life. The book digs deeper than many basic volumes on the subject, the characters become personal (and sometimes even personable), and Elizabeth herself strides across this volume as she did in life, both decisive and evasive. The book does deal with the politics of the time, as it's impossible to separate Elizabeth's personal and political lives, and for those interested in learning of the time of her reign, this book is a great primer. From here, there's virtually no limit to what to learn next: explorers, privateers, Shakespeare, spy networks... the list goes on.
Davina Porter, by any name she uses (Wanda McCaddon, Nadia May, etc.), is a fantastic narrator, and in this case she expresses both the power and personality of Elizabeth to her performance. She always brings her A-game, and as such she's earned her place in my all-time favorite narrators.
"fabric artist and quilter"
I've listened to several Tudor histories recently and this one completed the series. Alison Weir exhaustively researches her subjects and it shows - there is so much information about Elizabeth its mindboggling.
I was fascinated by her relationships with first Leicester and then Essex - she seemed to have a penchant for men that were as colourful as she was and that had petulant characters and egos that needed constant massaging!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it goes into some depth but its never overwhelming and explains how Elizabeth steered England into its Golden Age.
I’ve read quite extensively on the Tudors, especially Elizabeth I. She has always fascinated me. I found The Life of Elizabeth I by Alison Weir one of the best, perhaps my favorite so far. The book covers the period from Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne at the age of 25 until her death as an old woman at 69 with just a brief overview of her earlier life to provide context. The major events of the period were woven into background information on the culture and society of England during the later part of the 16th century. The book was an excellent narrative that never bogged down, at least not for me. The narrator, Davina Porter was perfect.
Alison Weir is a highly respected historian of the Tudors as well as an accomplished writer. I enjoy her books and learn from them, but this one stood out for me. I recommend it highly as an introduction to Elizabeth I or as a pleasant way to revisit the life of this remarkable woman for those already acquainted with her from previous study.
Yes. Any English history buff would appreciate this biography.
Her childhood. Its amazing how she ended up being the queen and leader of the most powerful country at the time. She had a very sad childhood.
Being English, Davina gave the story an air of authenticity.
No, it's much too long!
I had been looking for an in depth biography of Queen Elizabeth I. Ms. Weir provided highly detailed events of QE's childhood and how she came to sit on the throne, as well as how she ruled. Lots of insight into her personality as well as what kind of person she was which made the book all the more interesting.
This is a very detailed account of Elizabeth the first's reign. The really great thing about this book is that Elizabeth's life is presented by her achievements but also her personal habits, her everyday routine, and plenty of stories of her long courtships that leave the listener to draw their own conclusions why she never married. She led a charmed life in many ways but she had more hardships than most people may realise. Elizabeth was a strong willed woman, highly intellectual, funny, practical, responsible and very human. I'm proud to have Elizabeth as my middle name. She was a woman way ahead of her time. She changed England for the better. I enjoyed this book very much and would recommend it to anyone curious about this amazing woman.
"A captivating look at Englands first great Queen"
A richly detailed look at Elizabeth I with fascinating insights in to the way she ruled, managed other princes, court factions and overcame the prejudices against a female monarch.
Although so far my favourite Alison Weir is her book on Lancaster and York, this is still a captivating listen.
"History through Biography"
This enjoyable scholarly account of the life of Elizabeth I was well worth listening to, but there were often mispronunciations that grated and spoiled an other wise good narration for me.
The woman behind the Queen. Elizabeth the first is a detailed story of the life of England's most successful queens. Although many of her actions were prompted by her dedication to her country, most were because of her personal desire, such as her inability to marry. A fantastic read.
No, but I enjoyed it. Lots of information
Her ongoing liaison with Dudley.
I enjoyed all of it, such a rich book of information
No, it's a piece by piece book.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.