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The Confident Hope Of A Miracle: The True History Of The Spanish Armada
 
 

The Confident Hope Of A Miracle: The True History Of The Spanish Armada [Kindle Edition]

Neil Hanson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Review

" Hanson's precise and sparkling narrative captures the cataclysmic urgency of political and religious conflict in early modern Europe. He is obviously a historian with a winning hand." - "The Houston Chronicle"
" An exciting narrative. . . . Never before has actual battle been described in such detail and rarely with such flair." - "Los Angeles Times Book Review"
" Excellent. . . . Hanson does a good job of conveying the excitement and danger of the individual sea battles." " - Chicago Sun-Times
"" Brilliant. . . . Hanson is a meticulous historian and a compelling storyteller. This is one of those rare works of popular history that, like Alan Morehead's "The White Nile" or Barbara Tuchman's "The Guns of August," makes a half-remembered story from school seem both real and relevant." - "Newsday"

Book Description

The real story of the Spanish Armada

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 7042 KB
  • Print Length: 514 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital; New Ed edition (30 April 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004URRYTO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #258,371 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

The path that led me to become an author was a pretty rambling one. Along the highways, byways and frequent cul de sacs of a very chequered career, I've been a plasterer's mate, an ice-cream salesman, a holiday camp redcoat, an art gallery director, and simultaneously an art critic and a rugby commentator - now there's a combination you don't see every day. I've also been the editor of the drinker's bible, The Good Beer Guide, and the owner of the highest pub in Britain, and I've travelled round the world twice, edited an assortment of obscure magazines, made a couple of television films, been a radio broadcaster in Britain, Australia and New Zealand, and written for newspapers around the world.

However, the world's longest adolescence finally had to come to an end one day and since then I've been pretty much a full-time author with around 50 published books to my name so far. Under my own name I write narrative non-fiction - popular history, though the sales figures suggest it's not quite as popular as I'd like it to be. I'm not a member of what you might call "the David Starkey School" of history, I'm less interested in kings, queens, prime ministers and generals than I am in what happens to ordinary people caught up in great events. I don't like "winner's history" either; I want to know the view from all sides of a conflict or issue and I'm as interested - and sometimes more interested - in the aftermath of great events than I am in the events themselves. Some of the best stuff I've written (in my opinion at least) really catches fire at the point where most other historians leave off, and that's as true, I think, of my book about the Spanish Armada "The Confident Hope of a Miracle", "The Dreadful Judgement" about the Great Fire of London, and The Custom of the Sea, as it is of "The Unknown Soldier", my book about the Unknowns buried in Westminster Abbey and at national shrines in Paris, Washington and all over the world.

My day-job is as a ghostwriter: a writer of other people's books for them. Clients have included a treasure diver, a kidnap negotiator, an explorer, a spy, a long-distance walker, a submariner, an England football coach, a cricketing legend, a controversial historian, an undercover investigator, an IRA informer, several travellers and adventurers, two fast-jet pilots and half a dozen SAS men. At various times I've also written screenplays, thrillers, short stories, a serious novel, a playscript for a musical, travel journalism, and book reviews. The one thing missing from my portfolio is poetry and believe me, there's a very good reason for that...

If you can still cope with yet more of me boasting about myself, my website is: http://www.neilhanson.co.uk

and my facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/pages/Neil-Hanson/456508287757319

and if you're still not sated, you can find the talk I gave about my book The Unknown Soldier at the Pritzker Military Library, Chicago at
http://www.pritzkermilitarylibrary.org/Home/Neil-Hanson.aspx

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is a fascinating book detailing the melodramatic sea battle between the English and Spanish navies during the high-summer of that most infamous of all years in English history; 1588!
This book is an interesting and very detailed account of the Spanish Armada during that year, a summer every bit as important as the Battle of Britain was in 1940. For, as in 1940 against the Germans, England was in peril of being invaded and subjugated by a foreign power.
It covers all the action in the English Channel, the failed Spanish attempt to link up with the Spanish army in the Spanish Netherlands and the Armada's subsequent wrecking on the way home.
English Queen Elizabeth's miserly attitude to the supply and provision of her ships and sailors is exposed too. Overall, she doesn't receive a very flattering portrait; coming across as distant from the action and somewhat greedy for Spanish booty in the way she pestered her sea captains. Not quite the legend we've come to believe...
Flamboyant and charismatic English heroes such as Francis Drake, John Hawkins and Lord Charles Howard are also mentioned and come off as far more attractive characters. They're talented and patriotic Englishmen who do all within their means to hinder the Spanish invasion, despite often having to fight against stubborn and ignorant superiors in the English government, far away in London.
The Spanish are also detailed in an unbiased way, giving us a much better understanding of their actions and decisions. Contrary to the simplified, popular history version of events, the Spanish weren't incompetent, but intelligent and resourceful soldiers and sailors.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Victor HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book describing the near invasion of England by the Spanish Armada in 1588. The book uses the death of Mary, Queen of Scots as it's starting point, and proceeds to set the political and social scene of the times, showing the reasons for the Armada, the planning and preparation, the launch of the enterprise, the reasons for its failure and finally the aftermath and legacy.

It is a book with a grand scope. Neil Hanson has a thorough grasp of his subject, and writes with a clear narrative style that guides the reader through some tangled webs with great clarity. The book is well organised and structured, allowing the story to flow well.

As well as the history lesson this is an excellent and entertaining adventure story. History from this period is rich with great characters, from Queen Elizabeth, Francis Drake, Phillip II of Spain etc, etc. It is also rich with great tales of daring, adventure, piracy, sea battles and Machiavellian politics. Hanson paints both people and adventures vividly (but not luridly, there is always a thorough grounding in historical fact) and makes this a thrilling read.

I was especially interested in the descriptions of Elizabeth - used to the picture handed down by history it was fascinating to have a description of what lay behind the mask, and the lengths she went to protect her image.

An excellent history and a rip roaringly good read. In a world of dull, dry and lifeless history tests this really stands out as a good and instructive read. 5 stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Narrative History At Its Best 25 Aug 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Spanish Armada is one of those subjects everybody knows of, but like most people I had no idea of the exact details. Generations ago this would probably have been taught in school as one of Englands finest hours, but in recent years its become unfashionable to celebrate Englands victories. So it was that I started reading this book knowing very little about the subject.

The Confident Hope Of A Miracle covers everything you could possibly want to know about the Spanish Armada and it does so in a very readable and enjoyable style. The first half of the book mainly concentrates on the events leading up to and the preperations for the Armada. After that the actions of the Armada itself reads almost like a novel with plenty of colourful descriptions of what it must really have felt like to be there. The book also gives a huge amount of background detail covering naval warfare in the 16th Century and helps explain where Britains naval supremacy really began.

The author, Neil Hanson, is quite neutral throughout the book, showing a great deal of sympathy for both sides in the conflict. He is none too complementary about Elizabeth I however, and highlights again and again her indecisiveness and her stinginess when it came to paying for Englands defence. The real hero of the story is Sir Francis Drake, and this book helped clear up the confusion I had after watching the film 'Elizabeth The Golden Age' where Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh are blended into one person.

I would highly reccomend this book to anyone wanting to know more about the Spanish Armada, the history of the Royal Navy or just more detail about the Elizabethan Age. This really was a major event in British history and, if the Armada had succeeded I would probably have been writing this review in Spanish right now.
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