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Players: The Mysterious Identity of William Shakespeare

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  107 ratings  ·  18 reviews
For centuries scholars have debated the true identity of the author of the magnificent body of poems and plays attributed to William Shakespeare. The majority of academics and other "Shakespeare authorities" have accepted the idea that the author was indeed one William Shakspere, the historical figure who hailed from Stratford-upon-Avon, acted on the London stage, and co-o ...more
Hardcover, 308 pages
Published 2005 by Harper
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Apr 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have to give this book 5 stars.

I don' t agree with everything that the author has written but, he provides a good argument for his opinion

I did learn some interesting facts though. During the Elizabethian era the name "Shakespeare" had 82 different variations.

Also that Christopher Marlowe almost didn't graduate from Cambridge.

Reading this text also helped me bone up on some of my Elizabethian history.

The theories presented in this book will have deridders. But, we are given a unique perspecti
Lucy McCoskey
Nov 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
an interesting whodunnit, as in who really wrote the Shakespeare plays. logically presented, including appropriate historical & literary clues. several candidates pass, several fail, including the "Stratford Man" ...more
Kaethe Douglas
Jan 17, 2012 marked it as stricken
I have little patience for the anti-Stratford position and the reviews here are bad.
Nathan Albright
Aug 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: challenge2017
There is a deep hypocrisy at the heart of this book, one that is shared by many of its type among those who posit alternative theories for the authorship of Shakespeare's plays [1].  Throughout this book, the author heaps scorn and contempt upon the supposed 'man from Stratford,' perhaps because calling him by his given name, by any of their spellings, would be to appear to legitimize him as one of the greatest writers in the English language, something the author is unwilling to accept.  In add ...more
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Bertram Fields seems "middle of the road" or "straddling the fence" about the question "Did William Shakspere or Shakespeare of Stratford-on-Avon write the famous plays and poems attributed to him?" He's even-handed in saying, in effect, that most of the "evidence" does not prove that Will of Stratford did write the plays and it does not prove that he didn't. Perhaps he's a waffler; but he does say there is a case to answer, which is more than most Stratford supporters say. William Shakespeare t ...more
Heather Marie
May 05, 2021 rated it it was ok
I always found the conspiracy about William Shakespeare to be fascinating so I decided to give this book read. In the first chapter the author does a good job at luring the reader in, however, quickly the information becomes convoluted making it hard to concentrate. Out of sheer curiosity I flipped to the back to see references as the author quotes from numerous texts and discovered that no references are listed. As someone who reads history books and was a history major this blew my mind.
El (book.monkey)
It had some interesting, only read this for it's information on The Tempest, and in Shakespeares whole life it was a very small part.
The chapter about his sexuality was interesting.
Caitlin P.
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love a good mystery (or conspiracy theory), so this was quite interesting to me.
Dec 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
The author makes the best choice from the chosen possibilities, but is not totally convincing. I recommend Shakespeare by Another Name by Mark Anderson, who claims that the two gentleman whom Fields claim collaborated for the works of Shake-speare (with a little help from others) never met each other or had any relationship to each other, or Shakespeare: The Evidence by Ian Wilson, who finds ample reasons to give the Stratford man his due. I kind of like the reasoning that Bacon and Jonson, who ...more
May 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
this book was written by a lawyer, and it is very obvious...
i can see this putting off readers because he really does hammer way at what is assumed...

so far i'm very much enjoying's as if shakespeare's been put on trial for fraud and you're reading the pre-trial discovery of one of the lawyers...

i would have liked to see more references, he makes a lot of factual statements and paraphrases arguments without giving any sort of citation...this is a problem...

otherwise, it was very well arg
Sep 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
No. This is not about athletes. It is about the "players" involved in the academic game of "Who was Shakespeare (or, as Fields refers to him, the "Stratford Man")? Following an examination of England at the time, the author discusses factors to be considered such as education, politics, and religion among others. Finally, he itemizes those who are possible candidates from Marlowe to Queen Elizabeth. No conclusions are reached as "After all, when we refer to reading, understanding, or loving "Sha ...more
Kelli Callis
May 06, 2012 rated it it was ok
I appreciate the author's attempt to be objective, but it was a little hard to read pages of evidence, then have him dismiss it all with one sentence.

I'm lending it to a friend & I'm going to tell her to skip to the chapters about the potential authors. The stuff about the Stratford man goes on & on & on, and isn't very interesting. I kept thinking, "Maybe he was ill, that's why his signature on his will is illegible! Let's get back to Oxford!"

xoxo Oxford.
Jan 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2007, history
Fields is known for being a "celebrity" lawyer in California. My expectations weren't high starting reading this book, however, I found it to be well-written and thoroughly researched. ...more
Douglas Wilson
Jan 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary-study
A thorough review of the issues surrounding the identity of Shakespeare.
Dec 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book. I feel like my knowledge of many different areas grew immensly. It did feel a little long though.
Mar 21, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
careful, Bertram. Your biases are showing!
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Bertram Fields is an American lawyer famous for his work in the field of entertainment law; he has represented many of the leading studios, as well as individual celebrities including Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Warren Beatty, James Cameron, Mike Nichols, Joel Silver, Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman, Mario Puzo, and John Travolta.

In addition to his work with the law (which includes teaching at Stanfo

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