Elizabeth I by Anne Somerset

Elizabeth I
by Anne Somerset
New York:  Alfred A. Knopf  1991
636 pages

When I was selecting a book for my husband to read on Elizabeth I, there was no hesitation: Anne Somerset’s, Elizabeth I.  I had read it more than 20 years ago and considered it one of the finest, researched biographies on the queen.  While doing research for blog entries on Elizabeth, Somerset’s text was my go to title.  Oddly enough, I did discover that it was no longer as infallible as previously thought.  Material was quoted but the citations were unspecific.  It was frustrating to look up a source and not be able to identify it.  The sources were listed together usually by paragraph so the first and last could be targeted.

My approach to history is still favored by facts and information, which Somerset does present, rather than a narrative style where the author tells me what the person was thinking and feeling with no evidence to back it up.  Somerset does keep her text no-nonsense which is appreciated by this reader.

This is still one of the best books on Elizabeth I.  Somerset, working away from the prejudices of previous historians and revisionist views, sets forth a sound volume.

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