This award-winning story of the defeat of the Spanish Armada has been hailed as a historical masterpiece. The book covers Queen Elizabeth's reign over a turbulent nation, while the Duke of Parma plans the invasion of England from the Netherlands. The crucial period from February 1587 to December 1588 is presented in a series of detailed, dramatic scenes. The second part of the book is devoted to the naval battle from the first sight of the Armada off the Scilly Isles to the return of its broken remnants to the ports of Spain.
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An excellent book, a very readable review, with no little drama, enabling the contemporary reader a proper feel for the logistics and personalities of the Armada; it is particularly helpful for the reader with some broader idea of Elizabethan England and the Counter Reformation, though with Google Earth or Maps and Wikipedia handy, a little digression to add a portrait of one of the key personalities or points of geography helps immeasurably.
The original work was not published in 1987, as recorded here. In my hands is a First Edition, and elders History Book of the Month release copyright 1959. No matter. Mattingly did his homework, what must have been a herculean labor in the diplomatic archives in London, Madrid, Lisbon, Paris, etc., to determine who said what and when, adding true-to-life drama that is scholarly maintained in a sweep of events that passes almost too quickly. It is not dry narrative at all. Hardly. One is able to be on-board with English and Spanish fleets, with Philip in his Escorial hermitage, with a lead into the loss of the Spanish Armada that illustrates the reasons, more complex than mere hubris, as history sometimes dismisses these important events, that shaped our world at its spring.
"If, when the Armada finally sailed," Mattingly writes, following Drake's raids on Cadiz and elsewhere on the Spanish coast, "its water butts proved leaky and foul, if much food spoiled because of green barrel staves and ill-made casks, the smoke which hung over Sagres was to blame."
PERPLEXITY OF A QUEEN
THE END OF A GAY SEASON
PLANS OF OPERATIONS
THE BITTER BREAD
GODS OBVIOUS DESIGN
THE WIND COMMANDS ME AWAY
A BEARD IS SINGED
THE INVINCIBLE SETS SAIL
xxi THE ADVANTAGE OF TIME AND PLACE
ENTRANCE TO THE ARENA
Start Point to Portland Bill July jiAugust 2 1588
IN FORMIDABLE ORDER
THE ORDER BROKEN
The Portuguese coast May 220 1587
BARREL STAVES AND TREASURE
AN ARM IS CUT
THE USES OF VICTORY
THE OMINOUS YEAR
THE COMPANY OF THESE NOBLE SHIPS
INTHE HOPE OF A MIRACLE
THE DAY OF THE BARRICADES I
Paris May 121588 and after