A sensationally sophisticated, erudite and informative biography so well researched that I boughta second for a young man (I am 77) who works behind a food counter and who, when times are slow in the shop, is always reading demanding and scholarly history books. This is one brilliant fascinating from the first word, and the author and book should be photographed for posterity seated on a throne and both wearing the same crown. Thank you Carollly Erickson for such writing, for such logic, for so much empathy with your subject, for the illustrations and for so much information new to me. I hope I can find a hard cover for a child of mine who was Shakespeare Scholar of her university a little whle ago. thank you thank you thank you.GK
Amazing how much some of us long to get to know historically famous people, or at least some of them: Elizabeth I and her mom being cases in point. It doesn't matter that ER's been dead over 400 years, that she saw the world VERY differently than we do, or that my common birth would probably (if not certainly) preclude my ever getting near her in a psychologic sense. As soon as I invent time travel, ER is my first stop. Meanwhile, the itch to know Great Bess in a personal way can be scratched by this book, whose focus is on character and personallity, rather then Historical Events. The big-time events of the reign (e.g., another Northern Rebellion, the Armada, Ireland) are all but omitted. Look elsewhere for that stuff. But if you want to know things like what 'flavor' of ale ER demanded, which side of her mouth had the worse teeth, or that a popular color at her court was called, "Dead Spaniard," then this is the book for you. I found myself asking, "How can we possibly know this?" But apparently it's all gleaned from surviving materials, and not made up.
Repectfully, I disagree with those who recommend this as a first book on Elizabeth. I suspect you will appreciate it more if you are already somewhat familiar with the big-time stuff. I liked this book a lot, and I will seek out the other books on Tudor personalities by Erickson.
In-depth but super interesting take on the life of Queen Elizabeth I. Some folks would love to travel back in time to experience all these events, but I am very grateful to be living in the 21st century and enjoy these stories from a distance.
What sets this book apart from others about Elizabeth I is Carolly Erickson's very engaging writing style. Unlike other writers who have not understood that one can be academic and interesting at the same time, Erickson has written a book full of fascinating information and insight, and she has done so in a style very amenable to enjoyment. Other drier writers should take a lesson from Erickson, who has not only the accuracy of her history in mind, but also the conveyance of that history to a rapt audience.
Carolly Erickson is one of the first biographers of Elizabeth the First to discuss frankly the scandals around her name that circulated in France and Spain. Knowing that the idea of the "Virgin Queen" was a political ploy, necessary at the time but fictional nevertheless, gives us a better picture of the real woman behind all the mythology. Personally, I like the human Elizabeth better than the icon. Helen H. Gordon, Ed.D. Author of the book THE SECRET LOVE STORY IN SHAKESPEARE'S SONNETS.
I had to read this for a class I was taking on Tudor-Stuart England but I ended up really enjoying this book. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in studying British history. It is very interesting and informative and gives you a much better understanding of Queen Elizabeth and England at that time.
The First Elizabeth. was a wonderful book. This writer has shown a more personal side of what the life of Elizabeth could have been. I enjoyed reading about the viewpoint of many other well known characters of the times.