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Sir Walter Ralegh and the Quest for El Dorado
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Sir Walter Ralegh and the Quest for El Dorado

3.32  ·  Rating Details ·  57 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
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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Feb 07, 2015 Courtney rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Well written and I enjoyed the historical accounts of Elizabeth's courts. Nicely aided by maps and pictures, without relying on them too heavily.
Abby Johnson
Nov 01, 2016 Abby Johnson rated it it was ok
Read for my Sibert class.
Melanie Abril
Nov 30, 2014 Melanie Abril rated it really liked it
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
Apr 24, 2008 Emese rated it liked it
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
Oct 30, 2013 Adriel rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 22, 2008 Sandy rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Susanne E
Mar 09, 2015 Susanne E rated it did not like it
I'm not a big fan of the "romantic hero" or "tragic hero" or any other heroic type, which is how Ralegh is presented here, and I didn't really like how much Aronson pushed the boundaries of biography - there were entire chapters that barely mentioned Ralegh because they were filling in the context of Protestants vs. Catholics or the first English colonization attempts in the Outer Banks.
Sep 20, 2015 Tim rated it liked it
Quite a fascinating tale of this European adventurer. A quintessential man of the age - ruthless, acquisitive, biased, yet brilliant. Another book that adds to the dark side of the age of European exploitation.

And then to find out it was written for the youth market!
Jan 16, 2016 DaveH rated it liked it
A fun read about one of early histories most gregarious adventurers and explorers. I read this as a young man and fell in love with early american history and the role of england. A must read for history afficianados...
Shanna Alpers
One sentence review: How could Ralegh and the other "explorers" be so stupid?
Although I had some trouble getting into it, I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would. I never would have though I would enjoy something so . . . historical.
Aug 24, 2011 Heather marked it as to-read
Shelves: awards-sibert
2001 Robert F. Sibert Medal Winner
Jul 16, 2012 Jennifer rated it liked it
My notes say it was very good and very readable history. My memory says.....?????? Hmmm. May have to re-read
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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...

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