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Elizabeth: The Struggle for the Throne

Elizabeth: The Struggle for the Throne
Author: David Starkey
ISBN 13: 9780061367434
ISBN 10: 61367435
Edition: Later Printing
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: 2007-09-25
Format: Paperback
Pages: 363
List Price: $14.99

An abused child, yet confident of her destiny to reign, a woman in a man's world, passionately sexual-though, as she maintained, a virgin-Elizabeth I was to be famed as England's most successful ruler. This brilliant new biography, by concentrating on the formative early years-from her birth in IT33 to her accession in 1558-shows how her experiences of danger and adventure formed her remarkable character and shaped her opinions and beliefs. A uniquely absorbing tale of one young woman's turbulent, courageous and seemingly impossible journey towards the throne, it is the story of the making of a queen.

In growing up, Elizabeth experienced every vicissitude of fortune and every extreme of condition. She was three years old at the time of her mother's execution; when she was a young woman, her stepfather cut her dress off of her with a knife. She had been Princess and inheritrix of England-then bastardized and disinherited. At sixteen she was the head of a great princely household. Yet she was also an accused traitor on the verge of execution. Amid all this, she had mastered the most advanced classical curriculum of the day. But it was her lessons in the school of life that mattered more-and that taught her her humanity.

David Starkey re-creates a host of extravagant characters, madcap schemes and tragic plots, while using original documents to point up the importance ofthe rituals of power and life at court. He writes with exceptional clarity about religion and constitutional history. Elizabeth, whose own Protestant faith was personal and sophisticated, was extremely judicious in her handling of Reform, as in her choice of advisors and councilors. Here, too, is afresh view of the famous rivalry between the daughters of Henry VIII: the pious Catholic Mary and her clever sister. While Elizabeth remained utterly devoted to her father, she was also determined not to lose her opportunity for power-and not to make the same mistakes as Mary. The skill with which she achieved her goal proved to be a sign that England had reached a watershed moment in its history. Starkey's close attention to detail and vivid storytelling ability combine to produce a narrative of these extraordinary years that reads like a novel. Meticulously researched and enormously compelling, Elizabeth is a masterpiece of biography.

Evening Standard

The best account in English of the early years of Elizabeth... Both a racy read and a first-rate history...A tour de force.