This book, part of the "Essential Lives" series, provides a picture of England during the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries in addition to describing the personal difficulties Elizabeth I faced before her advent to the throne and afterward. An astute politician, firmly keeping control of her destiny by making wise choices, she surrounded herself with loyal and intelligent advisors who uncovered the numerous plots against her life. These advisors helped her walk the narrow line preventing the religious wars racking the European continent from engulfing England, and together, they moved the world forward in exploration, the arts, finance, commerce and the rise of the middle class. With only 88 pages of actual text, this book will fill a void for students with a learning disability or those who need a rigorous, short, well-documented book without the depth of longer works on the reign of one of history's best known monarchs. Backmatter includes an extensive timeline from early 1530 to Elizabeth's death in 1603, essential information about her life, a brief glossary, additional resources and websites, relevant historic sites, source notes, and an index. Printed on high quality paper, clear serif font, richly illustrated, with explanatory sidebars, this book is highly recommended. Reviewer: Mary Bowman-Kruhm, Ed.D.