This is the first book I have bothered to read on the defeat of the Spanish Armada (I'm more a land person) and I must confess I quite enjoyed it. Intially it takes a little bit of getting into but the author offers the reader an excellent account of the events leading up to the 'Enterprise of England' including the campaigns in the Low Countries and the Political manoeuvres of the leaders involved. This is an excellent account and I found myself drawn into the narrative, not knowing what was going to happen next although the end result is well known. This is a good piece of history and story telling!
No one would write a book about the Armada quite like this again - during the quadcentenial (1988), the interest seemed to focus on the ships, armaments and tactics. Mattingley is weak on these, and if that is your prime interest, look to Geoffrey Parkers book published in 1988. However, for narrative force, characterization and political background, Mattingley has no equals. For me, his account of the Armada, published over 40 years ago , is still the best by far. The narrative swings from Low Counries, to Madrid, to Cadiz, to Paris, finally to the Channel and Calais, then back to France. Mattingley shows that the defeat of the Armada ensured the survival of the Reformation and (not least) the independent survival of England, France and the Netherlands. Yet he is even handed at every stage, indeed Medina-Sidonia (the Armada's commander) is one of the heroes. Other heroes are Queen Elizabeth, the Duke of Parma and Henri III of France. Well, maybe anti-hero for Henri III, Henri of Navarre (Henri IV to come) is the true French hero. Indeed, for me, the nastiest figures in the book are not Spanish at all. One is Henri of Guise, Philip's co-conspirator in France, and Sir Francis Drake, who comes across as both paranoid and greedy. Read and be transfixed by its narrative sweep - each chapter is like a dramatic news bulletin adding to the powerful impact of the unfolding story.
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4,3 von 5 Sternen
Gary T. Moore
5,0 von 5 SternenReligious war, strong, opposing personalities; espionage; intrigue...this book has it all.
3. März 2016 - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
This book grabbed me in the first sentences and held me til the end. While ostensibly about the battle between England and the Spanish Armada, it is really about the political situation in Europe at that time...with emphasis not so much on the naval aspects of the battle (though these are covered) but rather on the people and political / religious forces which brought the battle about. This is history written as novel...with a broad perspective. I saw many analogies to today's world situation...religious war; strong, opposing personalities leading countries; espionage; intrigue; differing military strategies and weapons..... This is not so much a book for people who are interested in military history as for people interested in basic forces ...religious, political, interpersonal...and how they shape our world.
I don't usually read 'kings and queens' histories, as I prefer economic and cultural history, but Mattingly is unique. Even though he is a thoroughly serious academic, basing all his details on sources, he has a the skill of a novelist or gifted portrait painter. He deftly and vividly gets well known figures of history down on the page as real individuals, with all their psychological depth, not on a gossipy level, but to illuminate their choices as actors in the grand events of the conflict between England, France and Spain. And through the window of following the events of the ARmada as if it was a thriller, he actually gets you to be interested and informed about the intricate diplomatic and military conflicts of the 16 century. it is a grand tour de force and very enjoyable.
5,0 von 5 SternenDramatic, amazing story behind the story
6. April 2009 - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Pros: History is so much more than dates, and the depth of Mattingly's work is staggering. The history of England, Spain, and the U.S. are all linked in what occurs between the covers of this book. The defeat of the Armada is placed within the spell of personal and political intrigues that are partially glossed over or hinted at in the movie "Elizabeth, The Golden Age". Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Combo HD DVD and Standard DVD) [HD DVD] Very glad I bought THE ARMADA. The subject matter might have been handled in a more cut and dried style, yet the approach here is history-as-story, complete with subplots, character development, and personalities. Cons: My only complaint is that if you are searching for just the dates, names, bare-bones facts, you have much to wade through. (Sometimes you just want the date.) The chapter titles are romantically inspired and the writer in me loves the wording and wordiness, but the history-buff in me wishes for the addition of more nuts and bolts - a timeline - a summation, something that would enhance the work by filling the scope more fully while distilling the mountain of words into bite sized pieces. Summary: It's a marvelous reading of history but a bit troublesome for a quick glance to dig up something for a factual reference.
4,0 von 5 SternenAfter a slow start, a great read!
18. Dezember 2009 - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
I would definitely recommend this book. The first 2 or 3 chapters were a little slow as he describes how everyone reacts to Mary's execution, but picks up quickly beyond that and reads like a good novel. He delves into various parts of the King Philips campaign to convert Europe to Catholicism and provides great detail that enhances the storytelling rather than putting the reader to sleep. This is definitely not a "text book" about 1588. He says he wrote this for the layman rather than for academics, which is why I bought it.
My journey to find this book began after I read "The defeat of John Hawkins". I am a descendant of John Hawkins and was interested in reading about him. It was a fantastic read. Then I found "The secret voyage of Sir Francis drake", which picks up right from where the first left off. Drake is a cousin of John Hawkins and accompanied him on his journey in the first book. These two books take place about a decade before 1588 and provide great context for "The Armada". Drake more than Hawkins is talked about in "the Armada", but he does describe how both were instrumental in the battle. I would recommend all three to be read -in order- for a nice make-shift trilogy.