There s something to be said of the feministic slant common among Elizabeth s female biographers which make this sometimes princess, sometimes not a sympathetic young character Just being Anne Boleyn s daughter would have been problematic for any individual regardless of character and circumstances We recognise that these female biographers have done their job when we re compelled to empathise with the young Elizabeth Such personal connection allows us special access into her psyche.
I was unsurprised to find this often unforgiving exploration less empathic than bluntly incisive I was able to factor in that Starkey was famously tagged misogynistic by historian Lucy Worsley in a heated moment of sensitive scholarly debate Even his famous sobriquet as the rudest man in Britain I knew was partly just the result of an old television debate panel beat up.
I took into account that reviews of Starkey s own recent TV documentaries unfairly drew on this aspect of him, calling him pompous and acerbic David Sarky was one nickname.
I could therefore put aside Starkey s overt dismissal of other historians ideas here His provocative, self opinionated manner is partly a contrivance, I knew.
This is a great historian of our time, a master of his genre, no mere popular history writer To enjoy his quality we must compromise by accepting his style The effort is worth it.
Elizabeth s early years are undoubtedly what forged much of her persona These are finely scrutinised without sentiment or bias Starkey s erudite points are masterfully fleshed out, eloquently phrased and expertly documented.
Elizabeth s formative years of being pampered royal heiress then shunned royal bastard are satisfyingly cited as one trigger of her later infamous episodic neurosis.
Her much debated time spent in Queen Catherine Parr s house is examined at length So is the overwhelming probability of her being systematically seduced by her stepfather, the scheming Thomas Seymour, Baron Sudeley, who lost his head for his treasonous shenanigans This well covered ground, consistent with general consensus, shines the obligatory light into Elizabeth s later famous reluctance towards open romance Her confusing return to royal favour under brother Edward offers context as plots thicken around replacing her and half sister Mary with Lady Jane Grey, the nine days queen who then lost her head on the block under the rightfully placed Queen Mary I Elizabeth s subsequent persecution as heir again, under childless Mary, is well explained, with the effect of Elizabeth growing shrewder, a defining feature she would put to great use once on her throne.
Her potential involvement in Protestant plots to dethrone Catholic Mary is perhaps contentiously asserted, with Starkey gratuitously cherry picking to back up his conjecture We are left with little doubt that she was at least privy to than she owned up to being involved in, all of which she naturally denied to save her own neck.
A superbly written study, by a talented academic, of perhaps England s most popular queen Notwithstanding its conspicuous departure from kinder, feministic angles, this important book deserves its place on our shelves.
David Starkey writes with the assumption that he is always right He never argues his point, just states it while dismissing other historian s research I love the subject matter, but cannot bear his tone.
I find Tudor history to be fascinating I have always been a big fan of the Tudors Elizabeth I is a particularly fascinating historical figure This historical biography mainly concerns Elizabeth as a young woman In fact it is around page 238 before Elizabeth becomes queen Therefore we find out a huge amount about Elizabeth in the years of Edward VI s, and Mary s reigns The political and religious upheaval of the time, was complex, and David Starkey shows just how attune to it all Elizabeth was, and how close she really came to suffering the same fate as Lady Jane Grey and others Elizabeth emerges as very bright even as a child she was really very gifted Surrounded by loyal supporters Elizabeth wasn t always assured of the crown and some of her supporters made her perilous position worse during the Bloody Marian years Of course as we all know Elizabeth succeeded to the English throne, and became one of the most successful monarchs in British History.
I am glad that I have read this book quite slowly, as I have enjoyed coming home every day to the English court of the 1550 s and indulging my love of Tudor history A brilliant book, utterly fascinating.
Wow for a nonfiction highly scholarly biography, this is a surprisingly excellent read Extensively and intimately researched I am completely enraptured by this time period and the behind the scenes politics and personalities that steered the English ship of state this way and that This is a fascinating portrait of Elizabeth focusing almost entirely on her years from birth to ascending the throne thereafter ruling for 45 years While I have read many books on the subject, this one is the most illuminating and manages to both clarify and debunk many popularized myths about this queen and her motivations Starkey has done his homework and extensively quotes the principal players using their own words from speeches, letters, diaries, formal events, and so on Did you know that Henry the VIII s love letters to Anne Boleyn are housed in the Vatican library How bizarre is that So, if you enjoy real history, this is for you The author is a very accomplished writer.
This book gives an excellent biography of Elizabeth and how the transition between Catholicism to Protestantism was made in England during the 16th century.