The Elizabethans by A. N. Wilson

85%

20 Critic Reviews

...for anyone who has some knowledge of the events and characters of the time, this book will fill in a great deal of detail about the colorful and important era that changed a tiny island country into a world power.
-Blog Critics

Synopsis

A time of exceptional creativity, wealth creation, and political expansion, the Elizabethan age was also more remarkable than any other for the Technicolor personalities of its leading participants. Apart from the complex character of the Virgin Queen herself, A. N. Wilson’s The Elizabethans follows the stories of Francis Drake, a privateer who not only defeated the Spanish Armada but also circumnavigated the globe with a drunken, mutinous crew and without reliable navigational instruments; political intriguers like William Cecil and Francis Walsingham; and Renaissance literary geniuses from Sir Philip Sidney to Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare. Most crucially, this was the age when modern Britain was born and established independence from mainland Europe—both in its resistance to Spanish and French incursions and in its declaration of religious liberty from the pope—and laid the foundations for the explosion of British imperial power and eventual American domination. An acknowledged master of the all-encompassing single-volume history, Wilson tells the exhilarating story of the Elizabethan era with all the panoramic sweep of his bestselling The Victorians, and with the wit and iconoclasm that are his trademarks.
 

About A. N. Wilson

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A. N. Wilson is an award-winning biographer and a celebrated novelist. He lives in North London.
 
Published April 24, 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 464 pages
Genres: History, Travel. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Elizabethans
All: 20 | Positive: 17 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Excellent
Feb 15 2012

Wilson makes a strong case for his underlying principle...

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
Apr 16 2012

Wilson's ruminations are cerebral, incisive, witty, and well informed.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by James Shapiro on Jul 13 2012

Wilson unwittingly acknowledges the unreliability of his sources...

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Blog Critics

Above average
Reviewed by Rhetta Akamatsu on Nov 19 2013

...for anyone who has some knowledge of the events and characters of the time, this book will fill in a great deal of detail about the colorful and important era that changed a tiny island country into a world power.

Read Full Review of The Elizabethans | See more reviews from Blog Critics

Financial Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Philippa Gregory on Sep 02 2011

But for those who are content to revisit some well-known scenes and also encounter some surprises, there is much to treasure.

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The Telegraph

Excellent
Reviewed by David Horspool on Sep 15 2011

The Elizabethans is itself a fitting monument to an expansive epoch.

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Washington Independent Review of Books

Excellent
Reviewed by Arthur Schwarz

The Elizabethans is an excellent book for anyone with more than a casual interest in England’s last Tudor monarch...

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Express

Below average
Reviewed by Tracy Borman on Sep 04 2011

Although the book is organised into four broadly chronological parts, it takes a thematic approach...This does make it rather disjointed in places and there is little overall sense of progression.

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New Zealand Listener

Excellent
Reviewed by Nelson Wattie on Jan 14 2012

...a powerful account of events that have led to and shaped many others...

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Literary Review

Excellent
Reviewed by Eric Ives

Do not look to The Elizabethans for an authoritative narrative. Read it to understand why, despite 'the Difficulty', Queen Elizabeth I and her subjects still do matter.

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London Evening Standard

Excellent
Reviewed by Lucy Worsley on Sep 08 2011

Wilson retains his eye for amusing detail and at the same time skates impressively over swathes of intellectual history.

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Wichita Eagle

Excellent
Reviewed by Gaylord Doid on May 06 2012

And despite its occasional journalistic off-handedness in phrase, “The Elizabethans” remains an entertaining and useful popular history.

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The Mancunion

Excellent
Reviewed by Georgia Haire on Feb 13 2012

An easily digestible overview of the period that offers some interesting new perspectives.

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Otago Daily Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Gillian Vine on Mar 31 2012

The Elizabethans is a splendid, easy-to-read overview of Elizabeth's reign from a prolific and always enjoyable writer.

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Standpoint

Below average
Reviewed by Laura Keynes on Dec 01 2011

I've scrawled all over it in the process of correcting its faults.

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Country Life

Excellent
Reviewed by Roy Strong on Sep 11 2011

This book rekindles my pride and passion for what, without doubt, was our greatest age and greatest ruler.

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Slugger O'Toole

Excellent
Reviewed by Brian Walker on Jan 02 2012

“The Elizabethans “is a good mind stretcher for tackling one of the big themes of for 2012.

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Scotsman.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Stuart Kelly on Aug 28 2011

...eminently readable volume on the original Elizabethans...

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History Today

Good
Reviewed by Anna Whitelock on Feb 07 2012

More something old than something new it is nevertheless a pacy and engaging read.

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The Mancunion

Good
Reviewed by Georgia Haire on Feb 13 2012

An easily digestible overview of the period that offers some interesting new perspectives.

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Reader Rating for The Elizabethans
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Nancy Keuthan

Nancy Keuthan 5 Sep 2013

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