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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 12 May 2017
At last a biography I can understand! Well written and easy to read.
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VINE VOICEon 26 September 2007
A splendidly detailed and magisterial, yet also very readable biography that can also serve as a reference guide to all aspects of Elizabeth's personal life as well as her reign. Perhaps the definitive one volume biography - all aspects are given full coverage, including the political, constitutional, military, religious and economic dimensions of her rule. The index is also very reliable and comprehensive, not always the case in equally outstanding works. The only slight criticism I have is that the chapters are rather too long and the narrative could be broken up into more and shorter chapters with less opaque titles (the habit of using not very obvious contemporary quotes as chapter titles is one I am not too keen on). Excellent.
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on 28 June 2006
Anne Somerset's biography of Elizabeth 1st, is quite frankly the best.

I have read several other biographies on Elizabeth 1st and none have been able to capture the exciting nature of this time in history, whilst staying true and faithful to historical accuracy.

Anne Someret's biography shows Elizabeth in the kindest light, without coming across as overly bias.

She tells us the facts, and does so in an amazingly fluent and beautiful story-telling way.

I flew through the book. Not once. Nor twice. But three times!

The book sticks on Elizabeth throughout - which may sound obvious, but I've read one particular biography of Elizabeth where half the book is devoted to the people linked to her, rather than Elizabeth herself. Anne Someret manages to still mention all the same facts and the same events, whilst staying on track.

My all-time favourite biography! Love it!
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This is an excellent book and a lively and interesting read. Anne Somerset gives an insight into all sides of the character of Elizabeth. Her moods and feelings, (she was renowned at the time for her short temper), both as a woman and a Queen.

The glamour of the Tudor court and what it was like to be in or out of favour in a clique where a careless word could in some cases cost you your life.

Elizabeth did not suffer fools gladly and the book examines her religious feelings, her sexuality and the way she dealt with conflicts both at home and abroad in what was essentially a man's world. Elizabeth was nobody's fool and although she would listen to her advisers, she had a mind of her own, shrewd and extremely intelligent, and was quite capable of using her authority as monarch to make important decisions for herself.

The book is a delight for anyone with the slightest interest in history.
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on 17 July 2006
This is an excellent book and a lively and interesting read. Anne Somerset gives an insight into all sides of the character of Elizabeth. Her moods and feelings, (she was renowned at the time for her short temper), both as a woman and a Queen.

The glamour of the Tudor court and what it was like to be in or out of favour in a clique where a careless word could in some cases cost you your life.

Elizabeth did not suffer fools gladly and the book examines her religious feelings, her sexuality and the way she dealt with conflicts both at home and abroad in what was essentially a man's world. Elizabeth was nobody's fool and although she would listen to her advisers, she had a mind of her own, shrewd and extremely intelligent, and was quite capable of using her authority as monarch to make important decisions for herself.

The book is a delight for anyone with the slightest interest in history.
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on 25 February 1999
She was the virgin queen, the woman who would give her name to a glorious era in England's history. The truth, however, was somewhat different as Anne Somerset points out in absorbing detail in this new biography. For the Queen's long reign would be judged years later after many years of unsuccessful and occasionally disastrous Stuart rule. Elizabeth had a disturbing childhood. Her mother was put to death by Henry VIII and she was constantly at risk during the brief reign of her Catholic sister Mary. Perhaps because of this, Elizabeth grew into a powerful and independently-minded monarch who knew precisely how to deal with her male courtiers and to use her sex to her best advantage. In an age when women were considered weak and hopelessly inferior, Elizabeth proved the opposite. Somerset charts the milestones of her reign in detail - the execution of Mary Queen of Scots and the Spanish Armada to name but two. There is much discussion on the religious issue, the succession and her relationship with foreign courts but it is the woman herself who time and again proves so fascinating.
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This is an excellent book and a lively and interesting read. Anne Somerset gives an insight into all sides of the character of Elizabeth. Her moods and feelings, (she was renowned at the time for her short temper), both as a woman and a Queen.

The glamour of the Tudor court and what it was like to be in or out of favour in a clique where a careless word could in some cases cost you your life.

Elizabeth did not suffer fools gladly and the book examines her religious feelings, her sexuality and the way she dealt with conflicts both at home and abroad in what was essentially a man's world. Elizabeth was nobody's fool and although she would listen to her advisers, she had a mind of her own, shrewd and extremely intelligent, and was quite capable of using her authority as monarch to make important decisions for herself.

The book is a delight for anyone with the slightest interest in history.
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on 13 February 2006
This book is a heavyweight tome (both literally and metaphorically), which provides detailed account of the life and reign of Elizabeth I. Although doubtless of great interest to those who are fascinated by the period and the woman herself, this is not exactly a page-turner to read on the daily commute. Each individual act and event is pored over at great length, with considered investigation of the motives and actions both of Elizabeth and those surrounding her. While this proves to be a good and accessible route to take for what is essentially an academic textbook, the level of detail - for example a five-page breakdown of the formation and constitution of Elizabeth's first Privy Council - does tend to impede the narative flow. Reading this book you come away with a hugely wide overview of the whys and wherefores of events during the second half of the 16th century, but if you want entertainment you would be better off with another book.
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on 30 January 2016
Really good book for everyone, who is interested in Elizabeth I and her reign.
Main pros:
1) author's neutrality, presenting narrative, allows to make your own conclusions;
2) Elizabeth is placed in context of her time and space - one must remember that her actions and decisions were influenced by various events abroad and at home, morals of 16th century's society, politics of the day, opinions of people around her and her own uneasy experiences.
Somerset explains it all very well.
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on 4 January 2015
Anne Somerset has really done a fantastic job of going into the accounts of Englands most famous and inspiring historical Queen. I would strongly advise you purchase this as its a must read.
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