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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good and balanced account
This is a very well researched and generally very readable biography of the great sea captain and adventurer. He was of humble origins and the year of his birth is not known (some time between 1538 and 1546). This rise from humble origins inspired great loyalty from his men later on, but sometimes resentment and discomfort from his maritime peers so, for example, he...
Published 13 months ago by John Hopper

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars an easy read?
A word of caution about the compact format paperback edition: text is very small and layout very tight. Pimlico are not alone in this, but here it is made very much worse by the print job: in my copy at least, most of the text is heavily over-inked (frustratingly some short sections, such as preface and postscript, are fine). Unless your vision is 20:20 or better, you...
Published on 7 Jan 2012 by MJ


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good and balanced account, 2 Jun 2013
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John Hopper (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sir Francis Drake (Paperback)
This is a very well researched and generally very readable biography of the great sea captain and adventurer. He was of humble origins and the year of his birth is not known (some time between 1538 and 1546). This rise from humble origins inspired great loyalty from his men later on, but sometimes resentment and discomfort from his maritime peers so, for example, he could not be appointed supreme commander of the fleet fighting the Spanish Armada, but had to be vice admiral to Lord Howard of Effingham (though they seem to have worked together well). This book traces his career from his early roles as an officer on John Hawkins's slave trading missions through his numerous and, frankly, rather repetitive missions to attack Spanish colonies in the New World. These actions are sometimes described as piracy or private adventuring: and yet there was no state navy in the sixteenth century and all missions were at least partially and sometimes wholly financed privately, though Drake was not primarily motivated by personal gain, but a profound belief in the cause of his Protestant Queen and country. His circumnavigation of the globe is covered slightly disappointingly briefly (this was my chief reason for reading the book), whereas there is extensive coverage of the Armada invasion and repulsion. Little is known about Drake's personal life - he had two wives but no children and his heir was his younger brother Thomas. A good examination of his life. 4.5/5
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Drake Revealed, 18 April 2013
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This review is from: Sir Francis Drake (Paperback)
Having read Sugden's briliant Nelson biography, this came as a real treat as it lived up to expectations.

Diverging slightly I was trying to explain to the wife why I enjoyed Sugden's work and I think I nailed it finally - he writes about the life of the person but actually does not shy from showing you their flaws. Admittedly Nelson was more recent and therefore figuratively has more recent 'history' to draw on, but given he's going back a further couple hundred years, this gives you a real insight into what Drake might have been like.

As another reviewer has said the print is small, but not too bad. What is bad is the print quality - some pages appear 'bold' and others quite faint. I'd actually go so far as to say the print quality is pretty shoddy.

Above all that I hate reviews of say, DVDs and Blu Rays, that dwell on the quality of the box and knock it down for that. So this gets a Five Star from me but bear in mind what to expect.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 11 July 2014
This review is from: Sir Francis Drake (Paperback)
brilliant quality when arrived which was a little long to wait. great read very well researched
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great book, 17 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Sir Francis Drake (Paperback)
I purchased this book for my husband as he is extremely interested in Sir Francis Drake. He loved it. The book is well written, well researched and offered more information on the subject than previous books he had read.
Would recommend this book to anyone interested in Sir Francis Drake.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars an easy read?, 7 Jan 2012
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MJ (Cornwall, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sir Francis Drake (Paperback)
A word of caution about the compact format paperback edition: text is very small and layout very tight. Pimlico are not alone in this, but here it is made very much worse by the print job: in my copy at least, most of the text is heavily over-inked (frustratingly some short sections, such as preface and postscript, are fine). Unless your vision is 20:20 or better, you should consider a larger format edition, or wait for a digital one.

Top marks for the book itself, the best on its subject.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars review, 1 Feb 2009
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This review is from: Sir Francis Drake (Paperback)
Typically well researched book by John Sugden. Lots of background and facts - a very good read for those interested in this era.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Drake, 15 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Sir Francis Drake (Paperback)
Historians can be run-over by their own hyperbole due to their astonishment at the achievements of their subjects. Corbett's view of Drake was too favourable in a similar but differently nuanced way to Churchill's Marlborough. Sugden (like Chandler on Marlborough) offers a more balanced view of Drake, if no less enthusiastic, because his achievements never pall. Drake was a huge small man, a giant of the Elizabethan world. This was due to his spirit, a spirit unconquered even by death because it still lives on in our collective memory which lifted him out of a life of poverty to great riches, enormous fame and huge status in British naval history. A spirit driven by the protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism. Drake was a ruthless man with an eye on the main chance such as so deftly renaming his ship as a way to court favour after executing one of his men to allay controversy in England. That face of the stocky man which stares out at us from the Marcus Gheeraerts portrait was more than ready to draw that rapier. Sugden's Drake is the best work on its subject partly becuse it is the latest offering by a Phd scholar with all the known apparatus. Part of this lies in the wealth of modern research that Sugden has been able to utilise (see bibliography).This is manifested by the detail in its pages, for example no other biography has so much on Drake's wealth, how much he got after the circumnavigation and the manors he bought with it. You look in vain for such detail in Thomson. Sugden's Drake is the wonderful antidote to the modern world.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 19 July 2014
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This review is from: Sir Francis Drake (Kindle Edition)
full and informative book
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Sir Francis Drake
Sir Francis Drake by Dr John Sugden (Paperback - 25 May 2006)
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