Saturday 7 April 2012
Neville Williams, The Life and Times of Elizabeth I
I'm becoming an expert on books about queen Elizabeth I. I'm still considering writing an online article about her (for Squidoo), so I have some rational explanation for this almost-obsession. By now, selecting an Elizabeth-related book has become an integral part of my library trips. They still have a few titles left, so if you are into British monarchy, check back now and again - there's more to come.
The Life and Times of Elizabeth I is a very good introduction to the studies of the famous queen. The book begins with her birth and ends with her death (unlike two other Elizabeth related books I've read and reviewed so far). It describes all the main events of her reign without going into too much confusing detail - the book is only three hundred pages long so there's not much space for an in-depth analysis. A serious scholar would probably be disappointed but a beginner - relieved.
I have to admit - I'm not won over by Williams's style of writing. The data seems correct, the narrative smooth and informative and yet... I feel that he failed to bring Elizabeth to life. His version of the queen is too proper for my liking. OK, but not exceptional.
Only one thing saves the day - pictures. The Life and Times of Elizabeth I is full of high quality images of the queen, her courtiers, residences, letters and more. A teenager interested in history would probably love the book.
As to the older readership - let's just say it is worth remembering that the book is there.