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Sir Walter Ralegh and the Quest for El Dorado
by Marc Aronson
In this extraordinarily well researched and insightful biography, Marc Aronson explores the amazing accomplishments and dismal failures of one of the most flamboyant figures of the Elizabethan age. Best remembered for laying his coat in a muddy puddle so that Queen Elizabeth I could walk across it, Sir Walter Ralegh committed himself to pleasing his monarch and obtaining p ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published April 17th 2000 by Clarion Books
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Marc Aronson goes into the life of the infamous Sir Walter Ralegh of the Elizabethan Age through this thoroughly researched biography. Most kids just know the name Sir Walter Ralegh from their history textbooks only repeated once or twice when discussing the Spanish Armada or the Lost Colony in the New World or maybe even for his quest to El Dorado, this portrait reveals this historical figure in a new and exciting way that goes above and beyond the simple textbook definition. In only 186 pages, ...more
Aronson chronicles the rise and fall of Sir Walter Ralegh. He came from humble beginnings to become a powerful courtier, then adventurer. He successfully contributed to the colonization of the New World, but he failed in his attempts to capture El Dorado. He was imprisoned and released for his deeds and allegiances, then died as a traitor at The Tower of London. The biography includes photos of maps, documents and paintings that add to the detailed recounts of Ralegh's expeditions and his affair ...more
I was very surprised at the author's ability to deal with some heavy historical realities gracefully and without throwing blame at just one group of people. He deftly placed Sir Walter in a historical context that did not excuse him or his peers from their incredibly violent treatment of other people, but it did allow him to be a sympathetic character with a cultural context that allowed for the decisions made to massacre the Irish or try to steal gold from the Native people of South America. Ve ...more
This was a very interesting book that put the pieces from this period of history together so that we could see how they actually fit. Normally in school colonization is taught as a part of American history and Elizabeth I is world/European history, but the two are expertly drawn together in this book through the life of Sir Walter Ralegh. A really nice timeline at the end further draws everything together and adds the dates that are often missing from the narrative to important events.
Aronson has won many awards for his books for young readers and has a doctorate in American history. His lectures cover educational topics such as mysteries and controversies in American history, teenagers and their reading, the literary passions of boys, and always leave audiences asking for more.More about Marc Aronson...