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Elizabeth I
     

Elizabeth I

by Wallace MacCaffrey
 

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In this major biography, MacCaffrey focuses on Elizabeth's career as a practicing politician, taking into account her formative personal experiences, her temperament, her own view of her role, and the constraints she frequently faced.

Overview

In this major biography, MacCaffrey focuses on Elizabeth's career as a practicing politician, taking into account her formative personal experiences, her temperament, her own view of her role, and the constraints she frequently faced.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Queen Elizabeth (1533-1609) ruled England for more than 40 years, marking an age and establishing her country as a significant power. MacCaffrey, a professor emeritus of history at Harvard, concentrates on the queen as a politician and analyzes her successes and failures in this scholarly study of her statecraft. He highlights such historical events as the Spanish Armada (1585) and the establishment of the Church of England (1599). The queen's decision to send an army to fight Spanish rule in the Netherlands plunged her country into war; she was, however, able to supplant Catholicism and establish Protestantism as the state religion without causing a civil revolt at home. As portrayed by MacCaffrey, the strength of Elizabeth's reign rested on her great popularity; but she was frequently plagued by indecision, one of her few weaknesses.” —Publishers Weekly

“She claimed to have the heart and stomach of a king, though in the frail body of a weak woman. Elizabeth I of England inspired the love of her people, encouraged arts and learning, longed for peace while waging war--and with her vacillation and dithering could drive her privy counselors mad. MacCaffrey, fellow of the Royal Historical Society and author of two previous works on Elizabeth, focuses on the politician behind the Virgin Queen, her vision shaped by years of court intrigue and fear, and her fallibility as well as statecraft...Well-researched...sheds new light on a complex, contradictory queen. Recommended for larger history collections.” —Library Journal

“As presented by MacCaffrey the resolutely unsentimental Elizabeth I is less the indomitable, manifestly destined virago of English national myth than a wary practitioner of royal Realpolitik, gingerly testing the waters before plotting any course in the unpredictable seas of late Renaissance statecraft. In fact, given the conventional heroic picture of the Elizabethan Age, the Virgin Queen proves a surprisingly cautious, even timid, helmsperson here, loath to commit her authority to a consistent path in domestic politics or to expend her nation's slim human and material resources on overseas adventures. She appears as a compulsive consensus-builder always conscious of the fragility of her constituency and the challenges to her authority posed by her sex, the religious schisms still racking the English polity, and the constant intrigues of her Scottish cousin and rival, Mary Stuart. MacCaffrey organizes his study well, defining and dealing with each of the major political issues of Elizabeth's reign in turn--notably, the domestic religious situation, its international repercussions, and Elizabeth's interactions with Mary and the monarch's other rivals, suitors, and aspiring successors. In the author's convincing portrait, we see a political establishment in the throes of a sometimes uncertain transition between a waning feudalism and a nascent, still very uncertain, modernity. But the almost exclusively political focus here threatens to engulf its human subject in the sometimes bewildering machinations of Tudor diplomacy: MacCaffrey's speculations, for instance, that the spectacular theatricality of the Elizabethan court &'grave;probably helped to fulfil the emotional needs of a lonely and isolated human being'' are an exception to his strict reliance on the documentary record. A solid, scholarly study that will please historians--but leave latter-day monarchists still searching for the human essence of the fascinating Elizabeth I.” —Kirkus

“Now at last it [Sir John Neale's 1934 biography of Elizabeth I] faces an academic challenge.” —The Times Higher Education Supplement

“Surely the most important [biography] since Neale's appeared nearly sixty years ago...gives us a persuasive picture of the queen, sympathetic but wholly without hagiography” —History

“The strength of Professor MacCaffrey's treatment lies in the clarity with which he presents the portrait of Elizabeth as policy maker, and her strengths and weaknesses in that capacity. As a public figure his skills do justice to her role.” —Archive for Reformation History

“Shrewd judgments are numerous, and the narrative incorporates subtle analyses of events, personalities, and the relationships between them.” —Journal of Modern History

The Times Higher Education Supplement

Now at last it [Sir John Neale's 1934 biography of Elizabeth I] faces an academic challenge.
History

Surely the most important [biography] since Neale's appeared nearly sixty years ago...gives us a persuasive picture of the queen, sympathetic but wholly without hagiography
Archive for Reformation History

The strength of Professor MacCaffrey's treatment lies in the clarity with which he presents the portrait of Elizabeth as policy maker, and her strengths and weaknesses in that capacity. As a public figure his skills do justice to her role.
Journal of Modern History

Shrewd judgments are numerous, and the narrative incorporates subtle analyses of events, personalities, and the relationships between them.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This study, the author's 1981 volume, Queen Elizabeth and the Making of Policy, 1572-1588 (-10112-4), and his 1969 work, The Shaping of the Elizabethan Regime: Elizabethan Politics, 1558-1572 (-00767-5), are being released as uniform paperbacks for $18.95 each. (Sept.)
Library Journal
She claimed to have the heart and stomach of a king, though in the frail body of a weak woman. Elizabeth I of England inspired the love of her people, encouraged arts and learning, longed for peace while waging war--and with her vacillation and dithering could drive her privy counselors mad. MacCaffrey, fellow of the Royal Historical Society and author of two previous works on Elizabeth, focuses on the politician behind the Virgin Queen, her vision shaped by years of court intrigue and fear, and her fallibility as well as statecraft. This well-researched, scholarly work lacks the personal color of Mary Luke's Gloriana ( LJ 10/1/73) and Anne Somerset's Elizabeth I ( LJ 10/1/91), but as a secondary source it sheds new light on a complex, contradictory queen. Recommended for larger history collections.-- Nancy L. Whitfield, Meriden P.L., Ct.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780340614556
Publisher:
Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date:
04/21/1994
Series:
A Hodder Arnold Publication
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
496
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.99(d)

Meet the Author

Wallace MacCaffrey is a professor emeritus at Harvard University

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