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In Confident Hope of a Miracle: The true history of the Spanish Armada, Neil Hanson - Compelling slice of European history,
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This review is from: The Confident Hope Of A Miracle: The True History Of The Spanish Armada (Paperback)
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.