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Gripping tale of a disastrous enterprise,
This review is from: The Confident Hope of a Miracle: The Spanish Armada (Paperback)
A parallel between the Spanish Armada in 1588 and D-Day in 1944 is obvious: an amphibious invasion plan during an ideological war between world powers. The difference is that the former turned out to be a dramatic debacle for the attackers. "Confident Hope" is the gripping tale and detailed historical account of this disastrous undertaking against the background of European politics, religious strife and personal ambitions.
Written as a history book, "Confident Hope" often reads as a novel with attractive characters and villains, exciting battle scenes, unexpected events and tragic personal adventures. In my opinion, the book builds up slowly, but once the Armada has left the Spanish harbours, the story picks up pace and keeps you mesmerised until the last page.
Although we are taught at school that it was mainly the storm on the North Sea that defeated the Armada, "Confident Hope" tells the story of all factors leading to the outcome and reveals some astonishing and shocking facts. Queen Elizabeth's refusal to finance the defence of coastal cities, the fate of Spanish soldiers washed ashore in Ireland and the fate of English sailors returning to their harbours after defeating the Armada made me shake my head in disbelief.
From a Dutch perspective, unlike our official history books the contribution of the Dutch in defeating the Armada is according to "Confident Hope" marginal. Yet, I highly recommend this book to every one interested in Europe's early modern history, Holland's "Gouden Eeuw" and the "Tachtigjarige Oorlog".