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Shakespeare Beyond Doubt?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 May 2015
Exceptional scholarly book ,it buries the feeble so called academic Oxford press book of the same name.Alexander Waugh and John Shahan ,are fighting the good fight with impeccable research and faultless logic ,argued exceptionally.This along with "Shakespeare by another name" and of course J.Thomas Looneys pioneering work hypothesising that Edward de Vere was the author ,are 3 corners to a Triad of excellence and stunning intelligent work of clarity.All of the points made so incessantly by antequated Stratfordians have been taken apart and demolished ,down to the atomic level i've run out of superlatives to pick for the minute detail in this monumental work.Please all you orthodox Ostriches take your head out of the sand and marvel at your days of arrogance and helping to propagate an absurd fallacy,come join the real debate and see Shakespeare truly come alive after burying Shakspere once and for all.Though this work primarily demolishes mainstream belief ,this will point you in at least the right inquisitive reasoning ,which the other books will conclusively help your academic epiphany.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 May 2015
Another convincing book to show that the man from Stratford-on-Avon could not have and did not write all those plays. It is so full of good reasons that you wonder how the mistake was ever made that he did write them.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 10 November 2014
I began to read this book as a convinced Stratfordian, and finished it with the conviction that there are grounds for reasonable doubt, which is all the various contributors seek to assert. Probably we shall never finally resolve the question of the authorship; certainly, though, this work is wholly fascinating. Right or wrong, the Stratfordians stand convicted of bluster.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 April 2015
Excellent! It should be read in all schools, colleges and universities.
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18 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 26 July 2013
For anyone who is genuinely interested in why some people doubt that the works of William Shakespeare were written by the man from Stratford-upon-Avon, this book is essential reading. Here you can forget the usual slurs that it is because they are snobs, conspiracy theorists or crackpots, and simply look at the evidence they present which leads them to suspect that for all these years we have most probably been the unwitting victims of a hoax.

Wisely omitting any mention of just who the real author might have been if not "William Shakspere" of Stratford, the book sticks closely to the simple question of whether or not there are reasonable grounds for doubt. This is an obvious response to the recently published Shakespeare Beyond Doubt: Evidence, Argument, Controversy, edited by Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells, in which the clear assertion is that there are not.

In the first part of the book, the Stratford-born William Shakspere (the most common spelling of his name) is looked at in depth. The name itself, his signatures, the documentary record, what was said about him, his Will, reactions to his death - each of these is put under the microscope. Some will complain that much of this concerns what is not there rather than what is, and that absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence. The answer here is that it is absence of evidence which really *should* have been there (such as there being not a single tribute paid to him at the time of his death), and that such absences are just as significant.

It then considers the amount of knowledge apparently possessed by the author William Shakespeare, concentrating upon just three areas - the law, medicine, and his detailed knowledge of Italy, wondering just how Mr. Shakspere could have acquired it. The next section discusses the two main pieces of evidence apparently linking the playwright to Stratford-upon-Avon - the First Folio and the Stratford monument. Although I do not personally find the argument that today's monument is significantly different from how it was originally all that convincing, I was particularly impressed by John Rollett's chapter on the engraving cut "for gentle Shakespeare" in the First Folio. In this he shows quite clearly that what appears to be the front of the sitter's left shoulder is in reality the back view of his right shoulder. There can be no doubt that this was done deliberately, and is as clear an indication as there can be that there's something fishy about the whole thing!

In September 2012 the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust's website launched its campaign against doubters with "60 Minutes With Shakespeare" in which 60 eminent actors, writers and scholars were recorded addressing one of 60 authorship-related questions for 60 seconds each. Part two of the book transcribes all of these answers, together with a response to each of them by some of the best scholars in the authorship movement. Only the half dozen questions related to specific candidates are omitted.

For anyone who has, just out of interest, read either James Shapiro's Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? or Edmondson & Wells's Shakespeare Beyond Doubt and found it quite convincing, this book is precisely what they need to understand the opposite viewpoint, which anyone with a reasonably open mind must surely want to do.

Peter Farey
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19 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on 16 July 2013
This is an excellent book and does exactly what it claims, i.e. it exposes the weakness of the Stratfordians' claims. If you are new to this subject, or if you have already done a bit of research, (or a lot!) this book is a must. It puts the case for doubting that William Shakspere, the glover's son from Stratford-upon- Avon, was the author of the works of William Shakespeare, clearly and eruditely. Read also 'Shakespeare Beyond Doubt,' edited by Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells. (To suggest that the similarity in title is to fool the gullible, as a previous reviewer has, is childish, and to suggest that readers of these books would be fooled is condescending to say the least!) Compare both books. Edmondson and Wells begin with a gross insult by referring to doubters as anti-Shakespeareans. All doubters, in my experience, love Shakespeare; but you can see what they are doing. This is one of their ploys, to deliberately muddy the waters by making no distinction between 'Shakespeare' and 'Shakspere,' when it has been shown 'beyond doubt' that the Stratford man always used 'Shakspere' or, occasionally, a close variant; never 'Shakespeare,' whereas when the name started to appear on the plays it was always 'Shakespeare' or 'Shake-speare, not once did it appear as 'Shakspere.' This is just one of their tricks. Another is to suggest, which they do often, that all doubters are snobs, not willing to believe that a 'common' person could write the plays and poems. This is utter nonsense, of course. These, and other underhand Stratfordian tactics are exposed in 'Shakespeare Beyond Doubt?' Notice how the Edmondson/Wells book never answers the really important questions. These are discussed lucidly in the Shahan/Waugh book. Buy it; read it. Make up your own mind!
Terry McIntee
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16 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 31 August 2013
This book falls short in providing essential proof.

For the theory that WS is not the author to be considered true, four people must be proven to be liars. Each of them knew Shakespeare personally and professionally, and each put their names to works that give Shakespeare's name as the author.

They are: John Heminges - Editor of the 1st folio; member of the same acting company as WS; mentioned in WS's will; and a shareholder in the Globe.

Henry Condell - like Heminges an editor of the 1st folio; member of the same acting company as WS; mentioned in WS's will; and a shareholder in the Globe.

Ben Jonson - Contributed introductory material to the 1st folio; mentioned WS to other writers who recorded the conversation; WS is listed as a cast member in a Jonson play.

Richard Field - Was the first publisher of WS's poetry; like WS he was born in Stratford Upon Avon and was the same age as Shakespeare; it is highly likely that they knew each other as boys and attended the same school.

All four of these people could not be mistaken or misled. They all worked with and knew Shakespeare personally, and by placing their names to works that give WS as the author they are either telling the truth or lying.

In history when four individuals, who definitely should know, make a claim then the weight of evidence is that the claim is true.

The alternative is a conspiracy. Conspiracies do happen but undiscovered conspiracies are rare and they require proof (not theories) before they can displace the documentary evidence.
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7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 24 October 2013
Have you heard of a world-class writer who, so far as we know, knew the mighty of the land and yet never wrote a letter, who was never once claimed to be, or was referred to as a writer in his lifetime, whose educational achievements went entirely unrecorded, who never once visited the places he wrote so convincingly about, who could barely sign his name, and who though his works showed evidence of extensive learning, possessed on his death not a single book? Only one person this side of antiquity meets any of those criteria: Will Shakspere, the alleged author of the Shakespeare canon.

Of all the candidates for authorship, this obscure, apparently mean-minded small businessman from Stratford-upon-Avon has the least to commend him. And yet the Stratfordian juggernaut rolls on, and the best they can do is to shower the doubters with vituperation and insult. At least two of the negative reviews on this site provide neat examples of this trait.

The articles in this book don't say that Shakspere was definitely NOT the author: the book merely sets out evidence that makes an undeniable case that there is cause for reasonable doubt. For example, legal and medical experts show just how good and faultless was the author's knowledge of the principles and practice of both medicine and the law; Alexander Waugh describes in detail how much detail about life in Italy is contained in the plays; there is an interesting piece on the famous but bizarre frontispiece to the Folio edition, which consists of expertly drawn individual ineptly combined into a physically impossible composition.

I should also say that I found the writing style of the contributors both vivid and accessible, a joy to read.

Though I am an expert neither on literature or history, this book makes it plain to me that the evidence that Will Shakspere was not the author is pretty much unanswerable. That leaves two great mysteries. Firstly, who was the actual author? Secondly, why do the Shakespeare experts as a body not accept the evidence and apply their considerable energies and abilities to establishing who the true author was?

Buy this book: you will not be disappointed.
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 12 November 2013
A must read for all students of Shakespeare. It answers most of the questions regarding did the bard from Stratford write the plays and sonnets, it does not concern itself with who was the actual writer, which is perhaps the more interesting question. However a great addition to the topic.
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7 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 28 July 2013
This book is a must read for anyone who has an interest in the Shakespearean authorship debate. It takes a highly critical and very well argued stance against the 'evidence' traditionally expounded by Stratfordians including an extensive response to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust's "60 minutes with Shakespeare". It shows that the majority of the Stratfordian arguments are very weak, often without substance, sometimes outright forgeries and that many writers have continued to repeat such evidence (often simply because they read it in an earlier book supporting the Stratfordian cause) without critically examining it.

As the book says on the front cover, it is "exposing an industry in denial" and it does this very well indeed and in a very readable manner. It should be made essential reading for anyone studying Shakespearean literature at either school or graduate/postgraduate level along with "The Man who was never Shakespeare" by A J Pointon and "The Shakespeare Guide to Italy" by Richard Paul Roe. At last, the evidence why the Stratford man's case is so weak is becoming increasingly accessible to a wider audience.
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