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Elizabeth I: The Exhibition Catalogue Hardcover – 27 Apr 2000

4.2 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus; 1st ed. edition (27 April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701169397
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701169398
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 3.1 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 392,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, Good Queen Bess; Elizabeth I holds a unique place in the English imagination as one of the nation's most powerful, charismatic and successful monarchs. Elizabeth is usually imagined as the icy, untouchable figure memorably recreated on screen by Bette Davis and Judi Dench, but that vision of Elizabeth ignores the turbulent years of her early life, from her birth as the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn in 1533, until her accession to the throne in 1558 following the death of her sister Mary. It is these early years which are the subject of David Starkey's fascinating Elizabeth I, written to accompany his television series about the life of Elizabeth.

Starkey argues that in her first 25 years Elizabeth "had experienced every vicissitude of fortune and ever extreme of condition. She had been Princess and inheritrix of England, and bastard and disinherited; the nominated successor to the throne and an accused traitor on the verge of execution; showered with lands and houses and a prisoner in the Tower". He draws on his skills as a respected Tudor historian to produce a deft account of the religious, political and dynastic maelstrom of mid-16th century England that reads "like a historical thriller". The book carefully picks its way through the finer points of contemporary religious conflict and the peculiarities of Tudor court ceremony, whilst also exploring the formation of Elizabeth's character in relation to a murdered mother, a charismatic father, a tortured sister, and a predatory guardian. Highly readable and written with verve and pace, this is a fascinating account of the young Elizabeth. --Jerry Brotton

Review

"Fresh and lively... Vividly told... He sets before us not only the woman behind the throne but the girl behind the woman" (Sunday Times)

"The best account in English of the early years of Elizabeth... One of the most zestful pieces of narrative history written...a racy read and first-rate history" (Evening Standard)

"What a page turner! A white knuckle ride through history...inspired research, from the clues embedded in the portraits to court ceremonial to the often circumlocutory letters" (Time Out)

"I found myself compelled by David Starkey's vivid recreation of the hazardous uncertainty of Elizabeth's early life, her successive exclusions from the centre of power, the studiedly ambiguous answers she offered her interrogators, her inevitable implications in conspiracies and narrow escapes from execution" (Times Literary Supplement)

"Combines a relaxed and unfussy style with a thorough knowledge of the period and a sharp eye for detail. Elizabeth's life makes for a compelling story and Starkey tells it well" (Spectator) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
ElizabethBy David StarkeyThis book is definitely not just for the history buff as demonstrated by the fact that when published in hardback last year it topped the best-seller charts. The author David Starkey is an expert in his field and the passion that he feels for the topic shines from every page, elevating it out of the realms of a dull historical account to a very engaging human story. The author¹s name may seem familiar because last year he presented the acclaimed Channel Four series based on this book and again, through knowledge and enthusiasm, he brought the historical period to life.This book tell the story of Elizabeth the first and her unique position as the most powerful women in the land caught in a male dominated world. Starkey gives a gripping account of her troubled and lonely upbringing and the abuse she suffered at the hands of the adults around her, each one driven by their own agenda. Despite the hardships she encountered at the royal court, she grew up an extremely confident young woman, certain of her destiny to reign. In this book, Elizabeth manifests herself as a bundle of contradictions; on the one hand she is passionate and sexual while remaining a virgin; while famed as England¹s most successful ruler, she actually did very little.The English court was a hotbed of deceit and suspicions and Elizabeth had to use her wits for her very survival as both a ruler and a woman. She became increasing protective of herself and, surrounded by betrayal at every turn, she felt as though she could trust no one. This book presents Elizabeth as a product of her harsh upbringing and yet it goes further to show the real personality behind the virgin queen.Read more ›
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By Stracs VINE VOICE on 25 Jun. 2004
Format: Paperback
David Starkey is an excellent historical writer and this book on Elizabeth 1 does not disappoint. More than any other I have read (and as a history undergraduate I read a few!) it brought to life this most fascinating of historical figures, providing insights into her character and relationships, and the way these affected her actions in life. Starkey really brings alive the human face behind a monarch who at times can appear as a characture in our nations past. Elizabeth was clearly an admirable woman who many modern women would do well to have as a role model.
Starkey's narrative itself is far more gripping and readable than most historians, with the exception of Simon Schama. As a history student at University I read many historical texts. For me reading this was a pleasure rather than a necessity and brought life and atmosphere to our history. Also, and perhaps most importantly, Starkeys book is historically accurate and as you would expect the theories he puts forward very sound. Elizabeth's early life is much less explored than her later life as the more recognisable face of the Virgin Queen. There is much more life and vitality to this younger character and it is interesting to learn of the young Elizabeth and the way in which her character was moulded by events and people around her. Well worth a read, whether as a student or just for pleasure.
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Format: Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed David Starkey's "Elizabeth" and found it to be a splendid read. The author brought Elizabeth to life in the pages of his book.
While not as long or detailed as Alison Weir's biography, Starkey approaches his book from a unique angle. He concentrates mainly on Elizabeth's early years from birth until she becomes Queen. He writes of her years of apprenticeship as one of England's greatest rulers and confesses, "The woman I have half fallen in love with is the young Elizabeth as she appears in the picture she gave to her father just before his death."
In between birth and her accession as Queen, the reader gets to see Elizabeth as a child, strong-willed and precocious like her father, Henry VIII, and dressed in finery provided by her mother, Anne Boleyn. As a child she displays a strong aptitude for learning and a quick wit as evidenced by Thomas Wriothesley, Royal Secretary to her father the King, who remarked, "If she be no more educated than she now appeareth to me, she will prove of no less honour and womanhood, than shall beseem her father's daughter."
Starkey conveys well the precarious position Elizabeth found herself in when her half-sister Mary took the throne after Edward VI's death. One can almost imagine how she must have felt when she was held prisoner at The Tower. Yet somehow in spite of the many dangers she faced, she was able to remain focused and resolute, choosing the right associates to advance her cause, such as Sir William Cecil. This habit of knowing what company to keep served her well through her long life as one of the greatest queens England has ever known.
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Format: Paperback
David Starkey is an excellent historical writer and this book on Elizabeth 1 does not disappoint. More than any other I have read (and as a history undergraduate I read a few!) it brought to life this most fascinating of historical figures, providing insights into her character and relationships, and the way these affected her actions in life. Starkey really brings alive the human face behind a monarch who at times can appear as a characture in our nations past. Elizabeth was clearly an admirable woman who many modern women would do well to have as a role model.
Starkey's narrative itself is far more gripping and readable than most historians, with the exception of Simon Schama. As a history student at University I read many historical texts. For me reading this was a pleasure rather than a necessity and brought life and atmosphere to our history. Also, and perhaps most importantly, Starkeys book is historically accurate and as you would expect the theories he puts forward very sound. Elizabeth's early life is much less explored than her later life as the more recognisable face of the Virgin Queen. There is much more life and vitality to this younger character and it is interesting to learn of the young Elizabeth and the way in which her character was moulded by events and people around her. Well worth a read, whether as a student or just for pleasure.
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