Customer Reviews


12 Reviews
5 star:
 (8)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A culture of official piracy portrayed in the right context.
In modern parlance, it is said that `one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.' Had such an expression been coined in the 16th Century it might so easily have been; `one monarch's naval captain is another monarch's pirate!'

Described as `Corsairs' in this enthralling and deeply researched work by Hugh Bicheno, we find the lives of such famous...
Published 19 months ago by Ned Middleton

versus
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A history lesson
Not so much a novel or story, more a list of facts as they happened. I found it heavy going. I think anyone who is particularly interested in the seafarers of the Tudor age will appreciate it for its very thorough facts. The author has obviously done a great deal of research to bring it all together. There are lots of maps associated with the Spanish Armada which are...
Published 13 months ago by bookworm


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A culture of official piracy portrayed in the right context., 23 Dec 2012
By 
Ned Middleton (British professional underwater photo-journalist & author) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
In modern parlance, it is said that `one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.' Had such an expression been coined in the 16th Century it might so easily have been; `one monarch's naval captain is another monarch's pirate!'

Described as `Corsairs' in this enthralling and deeply researched work by Hugh Bicheno, we find the lives of such famous Elizabethan sailors as Drake, Frobisher, Hawkins and Co were preceded by those who paved the way for the dashing and adventurous exploits which continue to live in fact and legend. And on the subject of legend, I should also point out that many a well-voiced myth about the lives and times in question are laid to rest in this book.

The English Channel is that narrowing stretch of water which lies to the south of the English mainland. On the opposite shores are France and, somewhat further away, Spain. All three nations were empire builders and each had access to riches from their overseas territories - none more so than Spain and her treasure ships. What one overseas territory had, however, another lacked and it was the refusal of King Philip II of Spain to allow free trade with his overseas colonies which led to raids on his heavily laden vessels. Many were laden with gold bullion - a fortune in each treasure ship which was much needed to fund Spain's expensive religious wars. Once the English Corsairs had discovered the routes of the treasure ships - they were never likely to go in search of other commodities such as cloths and spices. Eventually, Philip became so incensed by the antics of the English he launched his famous Armada against them in 1588 and, of course, the rest we think we know...

In this book, however, we have the very first complete account of the origins of those Corsairs - which began long before the more famous names already mentioned were even born. We also learn how they prospered with and without official approval, of the pinnacle of their popularity and, eventually of their final decline.

In an age when the very words `English Navy' were taken to include Ireland, Scotland and Wales, we find a monarch who was nothing more than a receiver of stolen goods - taking the lion's share for the royal coffers in return for funding the expedition itself, and her courtiers no more than accomplices in downright piracy.

Most important of all, however, we also come to understand how they were all the very products of their day and, as is clearly and fascinatingly revealed in this unbiased work, we learn to understand the times and the reasons why they were what they were and why they behaved as they did.

In this excellent work, I believe this culture of official piracy has, for the very first time, been portrayed in the context of the ways of life which existed at that time and for that I congratulate the author on a splendid job of work.

NM
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AVAST ME.............., 8 Mar 2013
By 
A. Taylor (Surrey England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This is the way all history books should be written, like a bloke you've met at a pub telling you the story over a pint. It's comprehensive, argumentative and quite delicious. I haven't come across as many digs at the `establishment' and other historians since I read a particular book about Hadrian's Wall.

For example "it says much about the demise of once- thriving Tudor scholarship in England that the most recent biography of Sir John Hawkins is a prissy tome whose premise is that he was `Queen Elizabeth's Slave Trader', written by Harry Kelsey, an American archivist so mired in the modern obsessions of the American academy that he projects them back to the 16th century." It gets you partisan, gets you interested and gets you going, and to think I only picked it up on spec.

As one would expect covers all the major `sea dogs' and some I suspect you won't have heard of and in some detail. Put's Philip of Spain's problems as well as Elizabeth's in a new light (as least to me) not least of all because the author does not assume that all that's written down is necessarily true. Or that peoples motives are always simple and obvious.

Some 370 pages long the book is liberally endowed with B&W line drawings and reproductions of 16th century maps including those of the Armada engagements completed shortly after the event which the author uses to explain the engagement in a way that almost put's one in the cockpit of an English ship. There are also quite a few, high quality, colour plates. And, the icing on the cake is Appendix B which is an illustrated index of all the ship types mentioned in the book.

Brilliant.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating book, 25 Nov 2012
I am not a professional historian, so my comments are purely a personal reaction to this book. In a word, I would call it "brilliant".

The period under discussion is very interesting in, and of, itself. It includes the Armada and the various raids carried out against Spain's empire, before, during and after Elizabeth's reign. Covering such swash-buckling individuals as Ralegh, Hawkins, Drake and Frobisher, the book rattles along in a steady progression from the outset of the "Sea Dogs" to their eventual demise (Old Sea Dogs do die...).

I have read numerous books on the Armada, but this is the first one (at least, as far as I have read, to date) that rounds up exactly what happened to each of the ships (as far as is currently known, anyway). The Appendices (which can sometimes be as dry as dust - but not in this case) also include details of the various artillery guns (including the physics behind them) and a full description (with sketches) of all the various types of vessel mentioned in the book.

Most of the mariners mentioned in the book come across as pretty unlovely characters. I have to say that I like the fact that Hugh starts and finishes the book by reminding us that they were men of, and for, their times. We can not really judge them by today's standards. Similarly, they were pretty much choir boys compared to the pirates who were their eventual successors.....

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in any of the following: naval history; exploration; land and/or sea warfare; the Tudor period; the early stages of the English empire; and piracy (even though the Sea Dogs were NOT pirates in the strictest sense).

My only fear on opening this book was that Hugh would be American and write with an American idiom (as sometimes happens). OK - that is my personal prejudice and my problem, but it does make my blood boil when words are not spelt using the Queen's English. That was not the case here - Hugh writes in what I would call English English (as opposed to American) - a true breath of fresh air. (Hugh is actually dual American/British - with his own very interesting back story!).

I can not recommend this book enough. With its total clarity (meaning that there are minimal footnotes and no need for end notes) it is one of the best written books I have read this year.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elizabeth's Sea Dogs, 2 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book is not a novel but often reads like one.
We talk of Great Britain without any idea of the thieving and brutality that we perpertrated on other nations to earn that feared reputation!
I Loved it so much that I ordered a copy to be sent to a sailing friend.
John
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good overview of neglected period in naval history, 16 Sep 2013
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Elizabeth's Sea Dogs (Kindle Edition)
Most naval history concentrates on the Napoleonic Wars - but this book gives a new insight into the beginnings of Britain's naval ascendancy when seafarers who learned their trade as quasi pirates soon became essential for national survival.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very detailed account, 22 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Elizabeth's Sea Dogs (Kindle Edition)
I learn't a great deal of the English exploits in Elizabeth's time. This is an interesting read and is recommended
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History brought to life, 1 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Elizabeth's Sea Dogs (Kindle Edition)
Fantastic amount of detail but written in a style that is up to date and interesting. Recommended to anyone interested in this period.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Good, 21 April 2014
By 
Red Hazel "Haze" (Stalybridge, England) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My husband tells me that he does like this book. Not one to be read all at once - he keeps going back to it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that boys will enjoy, 15 Mar 2013
Boys need excitement when they read history. This book gives it to them. It is also very well written and based upon real research.

This is a great book for teachers to inspire their male pupils that history is for them. And female teenagers will enjoy it too.

At its price it is also a bargain.

Well worth the effort.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive book upon the subject, 14 April 2013
By 
C. Catherwood "writer" (Cambridge UK and Richmond VA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Hugh Bicheno has written the definitive book upon the subject. Like all his books it is an excellent read - exciting even - and he wears his scholarship lightly, though it has been meticulously researched and possesses a unique degree of accuracy upon this subject.

It is also fun! That is unusual for a book of this kind but it is as good as reading a novel, except that it is also true. Anyone who loves Hornblower or the Master and Commanders series will love this work, though it is set many years earlier.

Hugh Bicheno also knows the area about which he is writing well, and this comes over superbly in the book.

The Summer holidays are coming - I can think of no better book to take with you to the beach!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Elizabeth's Sea Dogs
Elizabeth's Sea Dogs by Hugh Bicheno
5.99
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews