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Elizabeth: The Struggle for the Throne (2001)
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060959517, Paperback)The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, Good Queen Bess; Elizabeth I holds a unique place in the English imagination as one of the nation's most powerful, charismatic, and successful monarchs. Elizabeth usually is imagined as the icy, untouchable figure, re-created memorably on screen by Bette Davis and Dame Judi Dench, but that vision of Elizabeth ignores the turbulent years of her early life, from her birth as the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn in 1533 until her accession to the throne in 1558 after the death of her sister Mary. It is these early years that are the subject of David Starkey's fascinating Elizabeth, which was written to accompany the television series about her life.
Starkey argues that Elizabeth, in her first 25 years, "had experienced every vicissitude of fortune and every extreme of condition. She had been Princess and inheritrix of England, and bastard and disinherited; the nominated successor to the throne and an accused traitor on the verge of execution; showered with lands and houses, and a prisoner in the Tower". He draws on his skills as a respected Tudor historian to produce a deft account of the religious, political, and dynastic maelstrom of mid-16th-century England that reads "like a historical thriller." The book carefully picks its way through the finer points of contemporary religious conflict and the peculiarities of Tudor court ceremony, while exploring also the formation of Elizabeth's character in relation to a murdered mother, a charismatic father, a tortured sister, and a predatory guardian. Highly readable, and written with verve and pace, this is a fascinating account of the young Elizabeth. --Jerry Brotton, Amazon.co.uk
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:02 -0400)
In this spirited United Kingdom bestseller, Starkey presents a brilliant examination of the formative years of the "Virgin Queen, " recreating a host of extravagant characters, mad-cap schemes, and tragic plots, while using original documents to depict the princess's tumultuous life before her accession to the throne in 1588. Two 8-page color photo inserts. An abused child, yet confident of her destiny to reign, a woman in a man's world, passionately sexual -- though, as she maintained, a virgin -- Elizabeth I is famed as England's most successful ruler. David Starkey's brilliant new biography concentrates on Elizabeth's formative years -- from her birth in 1533 to her accession in 1558 -- and shows how the experiences of danger and adventure formed her remarkable character and shaped her opinions and beliefs. From princess and heir-apparent to bastardized and disinherited royal, accused traitor to head of the princely household, Elizabeth experienced every vicissitude of fortune and extreme of condition -- and rose above it all to reign during a watershed moment in history. A uniquely absorbing tale of one young woman's turbulent, courageous, and seemingly impossible journey toward the throne, Elizabeth is the exhilarating story of the making of a queen.
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