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The Cecils: Privilege and Power Behind the Throne [Hardcover]

David Loades
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 Sep 2007
For over 50 years one family dominated England's high offices of state. William and Robert Cecil, father and son, held unparalleled power as statesmen, diplomats, counsellers and spymasters throughout the reign of Elizabeth I and beyond. Tudor historian David Loades reveals the personal and political lives of these great unsung heroes, and how as book lovers, genealogists, builders and planters they captured the spirit of the age.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: The National Archives; 1st edition (30 Sep 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905615205
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905615209
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2.8 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 384,015 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Daivid Loades is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wales and an associate of the Centre for Early Modern History at the University of Oxford. He is a well-known and popular writer on the personalities and events in Tudor history. His recent books include Henry VIII. Court, church and conflict and Mary Tudor: The tragical history of the first queen of England.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An honest look at the Cecils. 24 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating period of history with plots, religous strife and the problems facing England when ruled by a monarch with no heir. What I liked was the attitude of David Loades who, correctly to my mind, believed that everything was connected and that topics like foreign policy, religon and home affairs were all interlinked. He also made you realise how much Elizabeths policies were forged by the Cecils and vice versa. It was a kind of political duel between the Queen and her advisors. The author was good in that he admitted to gaps in the records and that we will never really quite know what the Earl of Essex was actually thinking and that we don't know much at all about Robert Cecils private life. I would rather this than speculation and it is good to know that in the past people were not quite as self obsessed as we currently are and even the most powerful people kept some things to themselves! Finally, three cheers for Robert Cecil, a real hero who sorted out the succession and even a change of royal house without having to spill torrents of blood. Good for him!
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does not clarify the problem of 1560 12 April 2010
Format:Hardcover
This is very readable with wonderful photographs. The letter of Bishop de Quadra to Philip 11 of Spain is included but not explained. He was the Spanish Ambassador but this letter is an absolute mystery. It claims that Cecil said in secrecy to him that the Queen and Dudley were planning to 'destroy' Dudley's wife Amy. The source is given as Calendar of State papers, Spanish. As it is so perplexing - Cecil would never have said anything in secret to a man who wrote to Philip, a Catholic Monarch, especially something treasonable I thought I would like to read the letters but with the information given cannot find where the primary source is which makes me concerned that the writer has simply repeated this from other books without looking at the original context to explain to us what might be behind it.
As many other writers have suggested quite far fetched things based on this letter eg.that Cecil's position at this point was threatened by Dudley with whom at this point he is not getting on so he organizes Amy's murder and throws up a smoke screen that Dudley is responsible so ensuring that Dudley can never marry Elizabeth because of her guilt by association I think some kind of explanation is called for. How do we fit this letter into the picture of Cecil that is created by David Loades? It does not fit, so either the author of the letter's honesty is suspect or we have to ask ourselves why Cecil deliberately gave such damaging mis-information. These questions are not looked at unfortunately; only the Ambassador's 'mischief' and desire to show Philip he was at the hub of the court given as a reason. This really needed clarifying and explaining. How could he possibly have made up such a story?
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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful
By S. Hugg
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I could not put this book down. I read it within a week.

Who could believe that fact could be more compelling than fiction?

It was amazing to read about these characters and the immense power that they wielded through the reigns of several monarchs. Our politicians seem fairly ineffectual by comparison.

I wanted to read the book because I live next door to William Cecil's house in Stamford and was interested to find out more about my neighbour. I think the book should be available in all the local schools and also would recommend it to fans of Philippa Gregory, who writes extensively about Cecil in her novel, "The Other Queen".
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4.0 out of 5 stars Different perspective 7 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Tudor period is well documented but I always welcome a book from that period that covers someone other than the Royals. An interesting read of the life of a powerful, influential and intelligent man.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Cecils 14 April 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
On time and as described. A book which sheds light on this very influential family and live in tudor times. i found it very absorbing and a good way to understand history.
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