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Summary

An abused child, yet confident of her destiny to reign, a woman in a man's world, passionately sexual yet, she said, a virgin, Elizabeth I was to be famed as England's most successful ruler. This absorbing new book, by concentrating on the early years from her birth in 1533 to her accession in 1558, shows how her experiences of danger and adventure formed her remarkable character and shaped her opinions and beliefs.

For in her youth she had experienced every vicissitude of fortune and every extreme of condition. She had been Princess and inheritrix of England, then bastardized and disinherited. At 16 she was the head of a great princely household. Not much later she was an accused traitor on the verge of execution in the Tower. Among all this, she had been taught the most advanced curriculum of the day. But it was her lessons in the school of life that mattered more, and that taught her humanity.

Dr David Starkey recreates a host of extravagant characters, mad-cap schemes, and tragic plots, while using original documents to point up the importance of the rituals of power and life at court. He writes with admirable clarity about religion and constitutional history. This brilliant book contrasts the daughters of Henry VIII: the pious Catholic Mary and her clever sister. The key to understanding Elizabeth is her determination not to make the same mistakes as Mary.

©2001 David Starkey (P)2001 Harper Collins UK

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very enjoyable

I've always enjoyed history especially the dramatic turbulent outcome to the Tudor dynasty and David Starkey is one of, if not the best of them all. Forget all the films, even the two best with Cate Blanchet, I agree there's always poetic license but unadulterated truth was bliss to listen too, Patricia Hodge was very good and accent wise provided gravitas but not snobbery.
I would definitely recommend this for actual history from the master of fact who doesn't indulge in fluffy fiction.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mrs
  • Manchester, United Kingdom
  • 18-05-13

one strong woman

its quite evident that she had quite a hard time to start with after all her mother didnt help. Im really into royal family history and found the book really informative.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Walking a tight rope

Elizabeth I was so many times so close to losing her life from her birth that it is only by her exceptional quick-wittedness and intelligence that she survived to become queen.

The story of her birth and the roller coaster events of this turbulent period make gripping listening, even if the facts are familiar.

An excellent story, well-told and well-read. It puts the turbulent period of Tudor England into the context of late 16th century Europe.

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Brilliant - as far as it went

I thoroughly enjoyed this history of Elizabeth but was disappointed that it ended when her reign began.