Queen Elizabeth I (The British Library Historic Lives)

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9780814719572: Queen Elizabeth I (The British Library Historic Lives)

Queen Elizabeth I, the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, reigned from 1558 until her death in 1603 and is remembered not only as a powerful, often ruthless and successful monarch but also as a virtuous, gracious, and caring ruler.

This new biography of Elizabeth I, by a leading scholar, reveals a tough and determined "Virgin Queen", whose education, wit, and wisdom enabled her to succeed in the often turbulent and hostile world of her reign. Charting Elizabeth's childhood, schooling, and family life as well as her relationships with her ministers and suitors, Susan Doran discusses her motivation and the personal qualities that sustained her as queen. Her years in power were often dominated by political intrigue, marriage proposals, disputes over the succession, plots against her life, and warfare. Elizabeth made clever use of events, such as the defeat of the Spanish Armada, and unique interests and attributes, such as her love of theatrical pageant, to enhance her reputation and status. In an era of political and religious upheaval, Elizabeth I emerges as one of the most skillful and formidable monarchs in history.

Illustrated throughout with portraits, rare historical documents, and letters in Elizabeth's own hand, this book provides an engaging, authoritative account of Queen Elizabeth I's life and times.

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About the Author:

Susan Doran teaches Early Modern History at Christ Church Oxford. She has written extensively on sixteenth-century England, and her books include Monarchy and Matrimony: The Courtships of Elizabeth I, England and Europe in the Sixteenth Century and two short studies: Elizabeth I and Religion and Elizabeth I and Foreign Policy.

From Booklist:

These two concise biographies, both published by New York University Press in conjunction with the British Library, are the opening volumes in a series of profiles of Britain's historical icons.

Doran teaches early modern history at Oxford. She greatly admires her subject while acknowledging her faults. Elizabeth could be vain, petty, and frighteningly ruthless. Yet, that ruthlessness guaranteed her own and her nation's survival during extremely precarious times. Doran rejects the assertions of some historians who give most of the credit for Elizabeth's successes to her counselors. Rather, she portrays Elizabeth as a brilliant manipulator of both men and events, who was also blessed with the ability to manage public opinion, thus reinforcing her virtually mythological status.

Lavery is curator of naval history at Britain's National Maritime Museum He has written a fast-paced, absorbing chronicle of Britain's most celebrated naval commander, who died while engineering the great victory at Trafalgar. At first glance, Nelson was an unlikely hero. He was short, frail, and given to fits of impulsivity. Yet, as Lavery illustrates, he was a natural leader of men, with both physical and moral courage. Despite an authoritarian streak, Nelson was able to form deep bonds of trust and affection with the common sailors under his command. While he also reveals Nelson's less attractive qualities, Lavery clearly believes Nelson deserves his place in the British pantheon.

These two works are an excellent beginning in what promises to be an informative and enjoyable series aimed at general readers with an interest in British history. Jay Freeman
Copyright American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Doran, Susan
Published by NYU Press (2003)
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