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Burghley: William Cecil at the Court of Elizabeth I

Overview

William Cecil, Lord Burghley (1520?1598), was the closest adviser to England?s Queen Elizabeth I and?as this revealing and provocative biography shows?he was the driving force behind the Queen's reign for four decades. Cecil?s impact on the development of the English state was deep and personal. A committed Protestant, he guided domestic and foreign affairs with the confidence of his religious conviction. Believing himself the divinely instigated protector of his monarch, he felt able to disobey her direct ...

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Overview

William Cecil, Lord Burghley (1520–1598), was the closest adviser to England’s Queen Elizabeth I and—as this revealing and provocative biography shows—he was the driving force behind the Queen's reign for four decades. Cecil’s impact on the development of the English state was deep and personal. A committed Protestant, he guided domestic and foreign affairs with the confidence of his religious conviction. Believing himself the divinely instigated protector of his monarch, he felt able to disobey her direct commands. He was uncompromising, obsessive, and supremely self-assured—a cunning politician as well as a consummate servant.

This comprehensive biography gives proper weight to Cecil's formative years, his subtle navigation of the reigns of Edward VI and Mary I, his lifelong enmity with Mary Queen of Scots, and his obsession with family dynasty. It also provides a fresh account of Elizabeth I and her reign, uncovering limitations and concerns about invasions, succession, and conspiracy. Intimate, authoritative, and enormously readable, this book redefines our understanding of the Elizabethan period.

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Editorial Reviews

The Journal of Ecclesiastical History

"This well-researched, thoughtful and highly readable biography--by one of the most productive scholars currently working on the later Tudors--is full of revelations about Cecil...No one who reads this fine account will be able to doubt that Elizabethan England was in many respects, as Alford labels it, ''Burghley''s commonwealth.''"--William R. Robison, The Journal of Ecclesiastical History

— William R. Robison

The Journal of Ecclesiastical History - William R. Robison
"This well-researched, thoughtful and highly readable biography—by one of the most productive scholars currently working on the later Tudors—is full of revelations about Cecil...No one who reads this fine account will be able to doubt that Elizabethan England was in many respects, as Alford labels it, 'Burghley's commonwealth.'"—William R. Robison, The Journal of Ecclesiastical History
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300170887
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 5/31/2011
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 1,359,240
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Alford was educated at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, and is Fellow in History at King's College, Cambridge. He is the author of Kingship and Politics in the Reign of Edward VI and The Early Elizabethan Polity. He lives in Northumberland, UK.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations x

Preface xi

Acknowledgements xiv

Family Trees xvi

Part 1 Apprenticeships

1 The Cyssylls of Stamford 3

2 St John the Evangelist 12

3 London and Court 24

4 Servant and Secretary 33

5 Conscience or Treason? 50

6 'Some Fruit Made of an Evil Time' 65

Part 2 'A Shop for Cunning Men'

7 Master Secretary's Device 85

8 'This Famous Isle' 103

9 'As Sheep without a Shepherd' 121

10 Household and Family 139

11 Conspiracy and Rebellion 151

12 Vomiting up a Poison 167

13 To Kill a Duke 184

Part 3 Burghley's Commonwealth

14 'The Poorest Lord in England' 205

15 A Gaping Gulf 223

16 The Execution of Justice 241

17 The Commission 260

18 To Kill a Queen 279

19 Burghley Triumphant 296

20 'Better for Heaven than for the World' 315

Epilogue 332

Reflections 335

Notes 348

Select Bibliography 372

Index 389

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Good for both scholars and general readers

    Alford is clearly writing in part for a popular audience (really, does anyone who seriously works on Elizabethan England not know who William Cecil is or how influential he was?) but his extensive archival research made this a very helpful book for my own research. Particularly, Alford's exploration of Cecil's household added to an area that's crucial for me (and interesting to the general reader). I would have liked a few more notes in places, but too many would have damaged the book's ability to reach a general audience.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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