September 2016
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The Life of Elizabeth I, Alison Weir

Elizabeth I is fascinating. She reigned for nearly fifty years without ever marrying or declaring a successor; she brought England onto the broader world stage for the first time in centuries. This book details her life from her succession to her death, with a focus on much of her government. Both positive and negative aspects of her reign are discussed, but mostly the book just serves as a chronicle of her life and times.

This was a good biography. It took me a while to read because it involves a lot of information. Weir does a lot less persuading than in some of her earlier biographies, probably because she was given much more to work with in the Elizabethan era. Usually a myth is easily dispelled with factual evidence and no persuasion is needed. In this case, that works very well, but it doesn’t challenge any ideas or propose new viewpoints. Generally I prefer when a historian does some guesswork, or at least extrapolates from the evidence, but for the most part Weir just reports from the sources. It works for a biography, but doesn’t add much to historical understanding, just popular understanding.

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