The Pirate Queen
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The Pirate Queen

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  287 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Dubbed the "pirate queen" by the Vatican and Spain's Philip II, Elizabeth I was feared and admired by her enemies. Extravagant, whimsical, and hot-tempered, Elizabeth was the epitome of power. Her visionary accomplishments were made possible by her daring merchants, gifted rapscallion adventurers, astronomer philosophers, and her stalwart Privy Council, including Sir Willi...more
ebook, 512 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2007)
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jillian
This is an amazing book, researched in great detail, describing the reign of Elizabeth I through her foreign policy, especially when it came to her privateers. Elizabeth needed money to defend a vulnerable England against Catholic Spain, while aiding and abetting the Protestants in Spanish-owned Low Countries. Only through her relationships with Europe's Protestants could England maintain trade across the Channel. Where better to take the money than from Spanish treasure ships? This book describ...more
Jen
I have to admit that I am sooooo glad this book is done. Omigod glad. I might be skipping.

I should have loved this book. I should have whisked it away on a long holiday with me and a pony ride, and bought it drinks.

But it was fine.

It was like going out on a date with the perfect guy, and finding out you like him as a friend.

The book tells the story of Elizabeth's pirate adventurers like Drake and Raleigh and such. It's pretty fun.

It starts out however with a super snarktastic comment from the a...more
Linda Harkins
Excellent! The Virgin Queen assumed the throne at the age of 25. Hot-tempered and intelligent, the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn declared that she would never marry after witnessing what her father had done to her mother. Instead, she focused on building an empire.

Based on primary sources, including thousands of letters between merchant adventurers and Queen Elizabeth I, this rather fresh take on the times suggests that swashbuckling English pirates had everything to do with England's a...more
Annie Brady
This book assumed too much prior knowledge on the subject of economics. For instance, in one chapter, Elizabeth stabilized the runaway inflation by recalling the old currency and minting new coins. As I read it, I kept nodding, saying to myself, "Oh, so that's how you do it." I don't know enough about economics to know whether Elizabeth's strategy was brilliant or routine, risky or sure. When I read that chapter, I merely read a list of Elizabeth's actions, without being able to put them into th...more
Athena Ninlil
The book explores the "adventure-explorers" of the Elizabethan age. For everyone who has an image of the golden age being the age of an empire, the author deconstructs this myth and says that it wasn't so, what Elizabeth did begin however (thanks to those before her like grandfather Henry VII) was set the stage for the future British Empire. Everyone wanted to cash in on the colonies back then, it was the dream of every European country to have a settlement in the Americas, of course the country...more
Nerine Dorman
I've needed a book detailing the kind of socio-political-economic environment that would support piracy, and The Pirate Queen gave me exactly the kind of background I needed for my research. As background reading to inform my own writing, this volume provides a rough history of Elizabethan times written in such a way that one isn't too overwhelmed with an info-dump of names, places and famous battles. In other words, it's perfect for someone like me who needed a basic introduction to European hi...more
Louise
I don't know all the literature on this era, but I expect that Ronald's achievement is not in unearthing new information, but in putting it all together. The general works on Elizabeth and this period present pirates and piracy in piecemeal fashion and Elizabeth's benefits as serendipitous. This book shows that piracy was wed into her foreign policy as much or more than her marriage possibilities (which garner considerably more attention in books for the general reader and in film).

The author br...more
Jacko
What a spectacular read! I honeaty just picked this up for random reads but I was totally blown away by the clear and illustrious descriptions of 17th century England, the cunning and brave Queen Elizabeth and of course, her raving parties of corsairs and adventurers. I have not known anything about the incredible queen until I read this marvelous book, I have learned soo much and if possible Id like a movie or series to be based off this work of excitement! 5 stars man! Whhhooooooooooo
Christie
This book is really more about the "pirates" of the title than the "queen." Those with an interest in English history, naval history, etc. should find plenty to enjoy, but anyone expecting an account of the life of Elizabeth I in detail will be disappointed. There is much more about Sir Francis Drake (who sounds like an amazing person for any age, let alone such a ruthless one as that) than there is about Her Majesty, and European politics are discussed frequently. That being said, I learned a l...more
Alicia
I loved having more of the historical background on some of the famous names we all hear about in history classes. Sometimes it was confusing, though, to keep track of names and dates while she jumped around to follow the story line. Those were times that the book became a good sleep aid. It also struggled to wrap up the story and after several hundred pages, Queen Elizabeth dies and the summary is all of one paragraph before closing. I gave it a high score just because some of the information w...more
Rayah
How often can you describe a biography as a page-turner? As other reviewers have mentioned, there is a lot of time spent on Sir Francis Drake (and of course, now I want to go find a biography about him!), possibly at the expense of other important figures in the Elizabethan Court. I was hoping for some references to Shakespeare and - connected or not - to Edward de Vere. I might complain a little bit that the author seems a bit too forgiving of Elizabeth and some of her more questionable judgeme...more
Nick
Ronald captures the "gentleman adventurers" (read: pirates, corsairs, rovers, and the like) of the Elizabethan era flawlessly! I found it quite amazing just how dependent the little island-state of England was on plunder and booty in the mid-to-late 16th century. What's even more amazing is how these adventurers teamed up not once, not twice, but three times to defeat the Spanish Armada, and lay the groundwork for what would eventually become the United States of America. Absolutely amazing--a p...more
Russamun82
A refreshing view of the reign of Elizabeth. This book puts Elizabeth's reign in the context of the workings and history of the navel exploits of her reign; indeed a most interesting subject to Americans reading the book. Chronicling the Armada, Drake, Raleigh, and Roanoke, this book covers much hidden history of the age, not normally covered in such detail in a book about the Virgin Queen.
Elizabeth
Jan 15, 2010 Elizabeth is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very informative book mostly about the pirates during the time of Queen Elizabeth. I had thought it was another biography on QE1, but I was pleasantly surprised to see how the majority of it was really about all the different pirates. It was a piece of history I don't know much about at all!! I love that now I'll be able to banter with all the grand pirates out there!!
Andrea
Jun 06, 2009 Andrea rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history buffs, travelers, adventurists
This is good... Oh the high sea's of adventure. Lots of excerpts from documents of the era. Fantastic details of each "adventure" as the queen from taking the throne to passing controls the English trade and puts the first few cracks into the walls of the Spanish empire.

Heavy in the old English, so many parts were a "huh" and re-read of the chapter...but completely worth it.
Diane
A good overall look at Great Britain's beginnings on the high seas. Queen Elizabeth, Cecil, Frobisher, Raleigh and all the adventurers become a colorful reality instead of the dust from our history books. This was a pick up put down for me. Definitely worth the read though.
Jenny
A really good look at the adventuring side of Queen Elizabeth's reign. I even learned some things about the colonization of North America that they don't teach at school, the Brits were landing in Virginia/Canada long before "glory, god, gold, and the virgina company".
Michelle
Really, really interesting overall, though it didn't focus as much on Queen Elizabeth as it did on all the various English "gentlemen adventurers" who took to the seas during the sixteenth century. It was a fascinating look at the time.
Joy
Another view of Queen Elizabeth and her merry men - Drake, Raleigh Hawkins, Essex, Burghley , Leicester...It talks of her "pirates", "corsiars", "gentlemen adventureres" who helped to establish England on the map.
David R.
Top marks for an insightful study of the difficult Elizabethan years. Ronald brings to sharp focus the difficult policy choices faced by the Tudor state given religious and economic conflict with Spain.
Carol
Greatly detailed account of the importance of trade, religion, and control of the seas during Elizabeth's reign. The book brings all the players to life, especially Francis Drake.
Pabloslist
16th Century England: Elizabeth I's success in financial survival thru piracy, prevailing over Spain, avoiding marriage.
Sam
it was great history, well researched, well written. it was just so dry...it felt more like a textbook to me.
Leslie Edelman
Love this book and the awesome history lesson about the British navy, its privateers and adventurer's!
Isabella
I really enjoyed this . I went on to watch a few documentaries after reading this, very interesting
Matt
Starts slow but overall a fantastic read, especially once Drake enters the scene.
Kaileen
This lady is awesome. Yes Its a short book but Its very fun.
Luci
It was well researched but somewhat tedious. Comprehensive but dry.
☯Bettie☯
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As the title suggests, this book is about commerce and quite a lot of the examples are about one-sided commercial transactions. (see how I did that! haha Unsure that calling an English monarch a thief is not still treasonable). Refreshing tone and meticulously researched with sources available.
Joe
Pure history, very well done.
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What about the Irish? 1 3 Aug 14, 2011 10:19AM  
  • Elizabeth and Essex
  • After Elizabeth: The Rise of James of Scotland and the Struggle for the Throne of England
  • Her Majesty's Spymaster: Elizabeth I, Sir Francis Walsingham, and the Birth of Modern Espionage
  • The Virgin Queen: Elizabeth I, Genius Of The Golden Age
  • Elizabeth & Leicester: Power, Passion, Politics
  • Elizabeth the Great
  • Death And The Virgin: Elizabeth, Dudley and the Mysterious Fate of Amy Robsart
  • Elizabeth's Women: Friends, Rivals, and Foes Who Shaped the Virgin Queen
  • Elizabeth's London: Everyday Life in Elizabethan London
  • Anne of Cleves: Henry VIII's Discarded Bride
  • The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn: Family Politics at the Court of Henry VIII
  • Lady Jane Grey: Nine Days Queen
  • Henry VIII: Man and Monarch
  • Mary Tudor: The Spanish Tudor
  • In the Shadow of Lady Jane
  • The Secret Voyage of Sir Francis Drake: 1577-1580
  • Divorced, Beheaded, Survived: A Feminist Reinterpretation Of The Wives Of Henry VIII
  • Catherine of Aragon
Heretic Queen: Queen Elizabeth I and the Wars of Religion The Sancy Blood Diamond: Power, Greed, and the Cursed History of One of the World's Most Coveted Gems The Pirate Queen: Queen Elizabeth I, Her Pirate Adventurers, and the Dawn of Empire 1568: Elizabeth I's Piratical Year 1568: Elizabeth 1's Piratical Year

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