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The Life of Elizabeth I

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  27,403 ratings  ·  673 reviews

Perhaps the most influential sovereign England has ever known, Queen Elizabeth I remained an extremely private person throughout her reign, keeping her own counsel and sharing secrets with no one--not even her closest, most trusted advisers. Now, in this brilliantly researched, fascinating new book, acclaimed biographer Alison Weir shares provocati
Paperback, 532 pages
Published October 5th 1999 by Ballantine Books (first published 1996)
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W Mark B&N or Amazon are both good resources. When working in the UK, I lived in a house just outside London, near Windsor Castle. In reading actual…moreB&N or Amazon are both good resources. When working in the UK, I lived in a house just outside London, near Windsor Castle. In reading actual details of battles, I quickly recognized Queen Elizabeth I, reign and her strong ability to secure her role to ensure the people of England by traveling on horseback rather than by coach throughout England Spreading words of confidence. Her speeches still give pause today by Parliment & House of Commons (She gained knowledge & confidence by listen and learn from her people of the land). Her noble role endured a great depression, economic turn downs and many battles during her 45 reign was not easy, but some believe these difficult times in the mid 1500's or 16th Century paved the way for todays State of Royalty for the oldest reigning successful family in History and the various disputes over Taxation. To include supporting the Royal Famiy, Royal Army and Her Royal Court. All to maintain an Island as the strongest Nation in the world. To include the Longest Tenured Enhabited Single Home in the world remains "Windsor Castle".(less)

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4.06  · 
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Dec 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Interestingly, this is the first time I've read a history book that's just about Elizabeth. Considering how much I've already read about her parents and their lives, I thought it was weird that I didn't actually know that much about Elizabeth's life after her parents died. This was a really good place to start.
Alison Weir is probably my favorite historian - she doesn't make as many easily-disputable claims in her books, like Antonia Fraser, and her writing has clarity and a nice humorous touch t
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Quick question: Who is your favorite English queen?

I'm torn between Victoria and Elizabeth I. Both women are fascinating, they lived during interesting periods of history, and they had relatively long reigns. Previously I'd read a huge biography on Victoria (A. N. Wilson's Victoria: A Life), and I thought Miss Elizabeth deserved the same consideration, so I picked up this 500-page tome from Alison Weir.

My aim has always been to write a history of Elizabeth's personal life within the framework of
OK, here is my advice: if you want to read about the Tudors read this author; read Alison Weir. Read her non-fiction books. They are better than her books of fiction. Weir manages to make all the facts interesting. She is clear and she knows how to tell the story so it reads as fiction, but every little detail is 100% true! You have surely met people who REALLY know their subject; their knowledge enables them to have every fact at their fingertips. They know all the amusing details too. Alison W ...more
Apr 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Talk about having a disfunctional family.
Your Dad marries your Mom when he's still technically married to his first wife. No matter; your Dad is the King of England.
Your Dad gets bored with your Mom and she looses her head (literally). You then go from princess to bastard and get sent away until your Dad likes you again.
Your Dad remarries, and yet again a few more times. You cant help feeling a little insecure in such an unstable enviroment. You grow up loved and then hated then loved again.
I don't like nonfiction as a rule. But this was one of those rare nonfics that read like a piece of fiction and even though the book is a brick, I read the whole thing in under four days. It kept my attention from start to finish.

The medieval history of the English monarchy is interesting but not a subject I read about frequently. Alison Weir (whose name I always spell weird and have to edit) is deserving of the acclaim she has earned to date because she provides information AND entertains. Mos
Oct 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2013
Probably still the best Biography of Elizabeth, despite the 17 years since it's publication. Weir at the top of her game. A must read for anyone interested in the Tudors. The book that ignited my love of the history of the English Monarchy.
Pete daPixie
May 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-tudor
Just superb. As a long standing Elizabethan, reading this book has been a joy. Without a shadow of a doubt, the greatest English monarch and Alison Weir guides us through this golden time from under the oak tree at Hatfield Palace in 1558, to her passing at Richmond in 1603.
The level of research of contemporary documents, state papers and the almost twenty pages of bibliography provide a most intimate and extraordinary insight into the reign of good Queen Bess. The author provides no Notes, but
Mike Robbins
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Alison Weir’s magisterial biography of Elizabeth I left me with mixed feelings. It is an extraordinary work, and a treasure-trove for those who want to know what Elizabeth was truly like. What it does not show the reader is the country she ruled. But perhaps it was never meant to, and for anyone drawn to Elizabeth as an individual, it is essential reading – meticulous in its research, and very well written.

Weir gives us a splendid picture of the Queen as she navigated the shoals of potential mar
I find I really enjoy Alison Weir's style of writing history and biography: easy to follow and detailed/descriptive without becoming dry. I picked up this book because there are certain historical personages that I know a lot about yet can never resist reading about over and over again, Elizabeth I being one of them. While I am not an über history buff who checks and cross-checks the list of sources, I found that her biography of Elizabeth I was entertaining and factual as far as I can tell - wh ...more
More than a man, less than a woman.

Queen Elizabeth the First has always been one of my favorite historical figures. As a child, I remember reading quite a lot of historical fiction centered on Elizabeth prior to her ascension. Last year for Christmas I asked for this biography on Elizabeth because I have heard positive things about Alison Weir's nonfiction on the Tudors. And this year, at age 25, I felt a sudden urge to read it. Turns out, Elizabeth was coronated when she was 25. She ruled for o
Rio (Lynne)
May 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75 Stars. At times I was annoyed with "what if's and opinions" being written as facts. A good biography or non-fiction book should show both sides or "who knows what she really was thinking" but not "here is what she was thinking" or the author quoting her opinion of Elizabeth being silly over the marriage thing and saying "what was wrong with her?" I believe Elizabeth was brilliant in playing the marriage game, not a needy, I need a man, my womb hurts from not having a child, weeping kind of ...more
Jun 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biographies
I absolutely LOVE this book! I think that Weir gives a very refreshing view of Elizabeth and her motives. Compared with David Starkey's "Elizabeth: The Struggle for the Throne", I would choose Weir hands down.
While Starkey writes with a pompous style that seems to scream "I am the one and only expert on all things about Tudor England", Weir comes straight out and says that, aside from predetermined fact, she offers theories about what may have happened.
Also, I may be naive, but I like the fact
Jan 07, 2008 rated it liked it
The cover boasts this book as a member of the New York Times best seller club. I question how many of the book's purchasers actually read the book in its entirety. I spent months reading the book due to other obligations consuming my time and my inability to keep up with the name changes. A character map would have greatly helped me keep up with who the Duke of ___ and Lord __ were in 1540 compared to different men with the same names in 1585. How many different titles/names did Robert Dudley ha ...more
Harold Titus
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Elizabeth the Queen" is a lengthy biography meticulously written by Alison Weir. It is a detailed portrayal of a remarkable queen whose reign spanned nearly 45 years (1558 to 1603). The author succeeds in conveying the uniqueness of the monarch, the dangers -- foreign and domestic -- that she consistently confronted, the grandeur and extravagance of the royal court, the connivances of courtiers, the jealousies of competing counselors, Elizabeth’s unwavering affection for her subjects, and her p ...more
Steven Peterson
Sep 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is an absolutely wonderful biography of Queen Elizabeth I. The story begins with her uncertain childhood, following the death of her mother, Anne Boleyn, by order of her father Henry VIII. Her first passion is briefly told and her fears for her life as her sister, Mary, reigned.

But it is really the tracing of the arc of her reign that is at the heart of this book. The volume weaves together Elizabeth's personal life, her court life, and the political context in which she operated. You need
Jun 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biographies
After having some doubts with Weir's authorship with Mary Boleyn: The Mistress of Kings, I was glad to be reassured with her biography of Elizabeth I of England.

I've always loved Elizabeth. Her story captivated me. The girl who had lost her mother at such a young age and lived in such a perilous age brought glory to her country once again. I had watched countless movies with her and the fascination grew from there.

I knew of the important facts of Elizabeth's reign, but with this book I got a bet
Nov 05, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Weir’s account of QE1’s final days had me spilling tears. I hadn’t realized that I’d become so emotionally involved with her. The awful, and awesomeness, of her heroism during those final days seems a fitting coda to the awful, awesome, heroic life she led. Has there ever been a woman like her before or since? Would that our current political leaders had half the backbone and statesmanship
she displayed.

Forget the movies you’ve seen about this Queen and get stuck into a more source based account.
Dana DesJardins
Jul 16, 2014 rated it liked it
While it is fascinating to learn that Elizabeth Regina had 3,000 dresses and new pairs of shoes made to order every week, I had thought that maybe it would be useful to know a bit about the political world she brought to abeyance during her forty-five year reign of relative peace. There is entirely too much back and forthing about how she kept suitors at bay and not nearly enough explanation of the geo-political context. Why weren't the English able to establish colonies in the Americas when Spa ...more
Kiesha ~ 1Cheekylass
Elizabeth is my absolutely favorite female monarch. It's such a shame that she didn't have kids to carry on her the Tudor line. This book is richly detailed in giving the reader an up close and personal view of the characters and their various personalities in addition to the historical detail of their surroundings. I love how smart, witty and forceful Elizabeth could be but on the other hand, she could be very vulnerable--a perfect balance for a queen IMO. The host of people throughout Elizabet ...more
May 28, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, history
The Life of Elizabeth I by Alison Weir, is more 'the reign of Elizabeth I', in that it only gives the bare essentials of background before starting with when succeeds to the throne of England at the age of 25. However, Weir has covered the earlier parts of her live in other books, so there isn't much reason to go into it here.

Past that, it is a biography, and good one too. Weir takes us on a tour of Elizabeth's life, and talks about her court, her politics, her intrigues, her courting.... Weir u
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It wasn't a bad book.
Alison Weir is clearly someone who is immensely informed about Queen Elizabeth, there is no doubt to that. She is someone who goes directly to the original source material, as given by the dense information this book contained. Every sentence in that book can be traced back to original source material. So you can imagine how long it would take to get through it. Thankfully, the narrator did a good job in giving life and depth to the characters.

Review Continued Here
Crystal Withem
Oct 11, 2012 rated it did not like it
I really did not like this book. I tried so hard to like it, but I just got upset every single time I had to read the same thing over and over again. I understand that Elizabeth I did not want to get married. I didn't need it repeated to me 5-6 times in one chapter. It felt like there was allot of filler was used to make this book longer.
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
(Audiobook) — This biography concentrates on Queen Elizabeth's approximately 40 year reign, giving just a brief summary of her earlier life. And even so, there is a lot to cover in these 600+ pages, and some important topics, like the Spanish Armada, are discussed rather briefly. The book thoroughly covers Elizabeth's friendship/flirtation with the Earl of Leicester, the long saga of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Elizabeth’s negotiations for marriage with various foreign princes, which formed an imp ...more
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Queen Elizabeth I—Ah! Cate Blanchett streams within my consciousness. Her portrayal was entertaining, well done even. However, this woman ruled England and Ireland for 44 years. A two hour biographical drama does not have the capacity to cover that reign or lifetime.

Alison Weir uncovers letters, written history and reports to gather as much information as possible on Elizabeth I. Fortunately for us, she shares these facts with her readers. The conflicts of selecting a consort for Elizabeth I is
Borrowed from Open Library.

Elizabeth I is one of those famous historical figures I knew only basic facts about, and really wanted to learn more. The Life of Elizabeth I was an excellent pick: I was amazed by Weir’s scrupulous account and I devoured every single page. It is my favourite Alison Weir book so far (or maybe tied with The Lady in the Tower).

Elizabeth I had many good qualities as well as defects, and, if I have to find one complaint about Weir’s book, is that she tends to justify the q
Rebecca Wilson
Apr 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: histories, british
History is, without a doubt, my favorite nonfiction, and The Life of Elizabeth I has easily catapulted to a place in my top three. I read Weir's Six Wives of Henry VIII last year, which was very good, but this one captivated me from page 1. Partly because of the tight focus on one person rather than six (actually seven, counting Hank), but mostly because Elizabeth I was a hard-ass mf'er and all-around badass.

Even at her most ridiculous, she was so much more grounded and responsible than her fath
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Without doubt the best biography on Queen Elizabeth I ever written. Alison Weir draws you in as a reader so close to the life of England's arguably most famous- and one of its most successful- Monarchs, that you really feel as if you are getting to know Elizabeth herself. Although not intended as a biography and more of a detail about Elizabeth's personnel life and court. Weir gives the reader much detail about Elizabeth's Palaces, and progresses, the entertainments put on for her by her nobles ...more
Lukasz Pruski
Apr 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not being qualified to provide a competent review of this history book I can only express my admiration for the amount of meticulous research that went into writing "Elizabeth the Queen" and congratulate Alison Weir on her dedication and literary talent. This is another monumental work, on par with "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" and "Children of England". The author used so many sources (the list spans 20 pages) that there are some periods in the Queen's reign that almost each day is documented, ...more
Jan 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was a wonderfully written and superbly informative book on this perhaps the most famous of all British monarchs other than her father, Henry VIII. Elizabeth was able to be the all to so many and brought England in her many years of reign to a place where her people were well cared for, felt beloved by her, and made advancements to position England as a major player in the history of seventeenth century Europe.

She was indeed the strength her country needed, a brave and strong monarch who one
Oct 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant account of Elizabeth's life from her succession to her death. How amazing, how eye-opening a book this was. Elizabeth, after the terrible, bloody reign of her half-sister Mary I, had the enormous task of re-uniting the nation of England, pay back incredible debts, and make people believe in the Tudor's once again.
Her shrewd intelligence and negociating skills held back the Spanish for so long, and even when she could not stop the Armada coming, she defended her country with the utmo
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Alison Weir is a British writer of history books for the general public, mostly in the form of biographies about British kings and queens, and of historical fiction. Before becoming an author, Weir worked as a teacher of children with special needs. She received her formal training in history at teacher training
“She was not so forbearing when it came to bad breath. After receiving one French envoy, she exclaimed, ‘Good God! What shall I do if this man stay here, for I smell him an hour after he has gone!’ Her words were reported back to the envoy, who at once betook himself back to France in shame.” 1 likes
“At Sandwich, in 1579, she paid the magistrates’ wives a great compliment when, without employing a food taster, she sampled some of the 160 dishes they had prepared for her and even ordered some to be taken to her lodgings so that she could eat them later.” 1 likes
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