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Sir Francis Drake

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Overview

Sir Francis Drake (1540–1596) assured his place in history when, in his lone ship the Golden Hind, he sailed the Pacific to become the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe. Drake the man, however, is an enigma and relatively little is known about his personal life. Historians today have struggled to reconcile the heroic legend with the facts, which show that Drake achieved his status almost exclusively through acts of theft, piracy, and aggression.

Drake, who championed ...

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Overview

Sir Francis Drake (1540–1596) assured his place in history when, in his lone ship the Golden Hind, he sailed the Pacific to become the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe. Drake the man, however, is an enigma and relatively little is known about his personal life. Historians today have struggled to reconcile the heroic legend with the facts, which show that Drake achieved his status almost exclusively through acts of theft, piracy, and aggression.

Drake, who championed England's Protestant queen, used courage and seamanship to gain wealth and fame, and in doing so helped establish England's maritime empire. Yet, after his Armada success, the accomplished lone privateer rarely functioned effectively as part of a larger force, and he fell from royal favor, ending his days feeling cursed.In this new biography, Peter Whitfield, a leading expert in exploration and map history, examines this dilemma to shed light on Drake the man and the legend. Illustrated throughout with original documents, maps and portraits, this biography offers an accessible and highly readable account of one of the greatest explorers of all time.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

”Whitfield, a well-regarded historian of Cartography, straightforwardly recounts Drake's adventures for readers new to the sea dog, such as the circumnavigation of 1577-80 and the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588.”

-Booklist,

”Cartographic historian Whitfield indicates that the 19th- and 20th-century romanticizing of Sir Francis Drake is well off the mark. Though compact, this is an exciting and wholly convincing interpretation of an important British figure. Highly recommended for both public and academic libraries.”

-Library Journal,

”This is a book that would make Francis Drake proud.”

-Itineraries,

Library Journal
Two brief biographies of Oliver Cromwell and Sir Francis Drake continue the winning new series published by NYU Press in conjunction with the British Library. Written by specialists, these bright, concise biographies are nevertheless accessible to general readers and young people, making them enormously valuable. Gaunt, the author of numerous books on Cromwell and the British Civil War, is an engaging writer who takes the reader through Cromwell's life, campaigns, and Protectorate. Readers learn the basics about Cromwell and more. Not just a Puritan but a God-driven man, Cromwell might well be compared to George W. Bush. There are few extant records about Cromwell, and historians hotly debate many of the earlier works written about him. This "Cromwell Lite" demythologizes much of that literature and sets the record straight. Similarly, cartographic historian Whitfield indicates that the 19th- and 20th-century romanticizing of Sir Francis Drake is well off the mark. Drake's reported family history appears bogus; he was a privateer, willing to destroy friends for the sake of his ambitions, certainly flamboyant, and ultimately a flawed man. Again, though compact, this is an exciting and wholly convincing interpretation of an important British figure. Highly recommended for both public and academic libraries.-Gail Benjafield, St. Catharines P.L., Ont. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814794036
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2004
  • Series: Historic Lives Series
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 535,994
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Whitfield is an independent scholar and a leading expert in map history and exploration. He is a former director of Stanford's International Map Centre in London. His previous books include The Charting of the Oceans: Ten Centuries of Maritime Maps; New Found Lands: Maps in the History of Exploration; and Astrology: A History.

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Table of Contents

1 The young adventurer (c. 1540-77) 6
2 To the fearful strait (1577-78) 38
3 An Englishman in the Pacific (1578-85) 62
4 Open warfare (1585-87) 90
5 The Armada campaign (1587-88) 112
6 Last voyages and the Drake legend (1588-96) 128
Chronology 156
Further reading 157
Index 158
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2008

    The best book on sir francis drake

    The book is outstanding because it gets right to the point and its talks about when he was bore and what happen in his life and it tells about what he did in life and how he did what he did i think it was smart of him how he defeated the spanish armado, and how he claimed californiafor england

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