Top critical review
6 people found this helpful
Well presented but heavily biased in places.
on 13 June 2009
Let me preface this by saying that I do like David Starkey and I find his programmes informative and entertaining. He has a way of summarising history that cuts through the tedium and just gives you the important events. That being said - every historian has their bias and David Starkey is no exception.
I didn't know a great deal about some of the early Tudor kings so I happily listened to Starkey's re-telling of events. Then he got to Elizabeth I - and I got annoyed. From Starkey's version of events you would think that Elizabeth was the noblest of souls, untainted by the corruption of man. No mention of the fact that far from being a virgin - she had a lover whom she then had executed (Essex). No mention of the phenomenal amount of catholics who were exectued for various excuses - some treason for allegedly plotting to kill her, others for miscellanious other crimes. Minor mention made of the execution of Mary Queen Of Scots, although apparently in this Elizabeth was an innocent party who Francis Walsingham duped into executing her own cousin against her wishes (although if there were a grain of truth in that I suspect he may have lost his head rather soon after). However it wasn't apparently against her wishes to hold her under house arrest for 19 years under no charge. I could mention a tonne of other unjust acts commited under Elizabeth's rule but I won't. I am not claiming that Starkey's version of events is inaccurate - but it is very rose tinted spectacles and oh so one sided. It made me wonder how balanced his other accounts were about the monarchs regarding whom I had less foreknowlege.
Sorry but I just had to let that rant out - polemic historians can be very irritating.