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Drake: The Life and Legend of an Elizabethan…

Drake: The Life and Legend of an Elizabethan Hero

by Stephen Coote

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An excellent account of the so-called pirate, but more like the deliverer of Christian Europe from the greedy clutches of the Vatican. If not for Drake, we'd likely be pittance wage earners for Rome.
You can also see the hand of God in bringing Rome to heel.
Continue the story in the book "Armada". ( )
  natipal | Feb 13, 2014 |
Coote's book contains an interesting discussion of the way in which the Victorians edited the history of Drake to conform with their need for heroic early founders of the British empire.

He makes clear that the current accepted account (which dates from Victorian times) is very selective, and he convincingly puts this right while respecting Drake's tremendous achievements in for example circumnavigating the globe and mapping the Pacific coast of South America.

The author shows that Drake had a giant ego, not permiting anyone to stand in his way, and resulting in one case in the murder (with the thinnest veneer of legality) of his gentleman companion Thomas Doughty on a beach in Patagonia, or for example, ignoring the vital direct order of queen Elizabeth I to destroy the regrouped Armada in Santander, preferring as always to pursue piratery and looting Spanish and Portuguese ports for personal gain. Even in the famous battle with Armada he dropped out to loot an enemy ship, much to Frobisher's disgust.

Overall a balanced and readable account of the prototype 16th century English pirate seaman. ( )
  Miro | Aug 28, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743468708, Paperback)

Sir Francis Drake: pirate, explorer and Protestant zealot, a man princely in his bearing, heroic if sometimes foolhardy in his enterprise, a genius at once awe-inspiring and riddled with faults. He is the archetypal Elizabethan sea-dog, and Stephen Coote's brilliant new book rescues him from the dusty pages of history to breathe new life into one of the great maritime adventure stories. Focusing on the episodes that made Drake's reputation -- and exploring not just the nature of that reputation but how it also, for better or worse, came to epitomise a sense of nationhood -- Stephen Coote re-creates all the excitement and terror of the raids on Spanish Caribbean ports during Drake's privateering days; the extraordinary feat of the circumnavigation aboard the 'Golden Hind'; and Drake's role in the famous defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. Told with novelistic verve, DRAKE is a thoroughly modern re-assessment of a man who embodied all the ebullient courage and personal shortcomings of the great age of Elizabethan expansion. Was Drake just a rabid anti-papist, a state-sponsored terrorist and slaver? Or was he the embodiment of English sang-froid, an empire-builder and hero? This gripping and entertaining biography gives us a picture of the man altogether richer and more interesting than we could have imagined.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:54 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"Stephen Coote's re-evaluation of this self-made Elizabethan hero is a portrait of the man and his era. Vividly re-creating the key episodes in the construction of the Drake legend, from the West Indies voyages to the Nombre de Dios expedition, the Armada and, of course, the extraordinary circumnavigation, Coote shows how his reputation was made, challenged and finally manipulated for other ends in the centuries following his death."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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