A fresh elucidation of this precarious period of Elizabeth’s reign.




A nicely fleshed-out portrait of Elizabeth I (1533–1603), with new revelations of the queen in love and the man who sought desperately to marry her.

Two years into her reign, Elizabeth was besotted with the dark, athletic Lord Robert Dudley, whose father had been beheaded by Queen Mary for his treasonous backing of the short-lived Lady Jane Grey. Elizabeth and Dudley had known each other since childhood, sharing the same tutors, and he was given the plum job of Master of the Queen’s Stable, allowing him daily access to her and an assured rise of his fortune and titles. Elizabeth was expected to marry, wooed by all the princes of Europe, while Dudley, of a lower status, was married to Amy Robsart—probably out of love, though their marriage remained childless. In September 1560, just as rumors about the queen and Dudley were rampant, Amy was found dead at the base of a short stairwell at Cumnor Place. Her neck was broken, though the coroner’s report noted several “dyntes” in her skull, which could have resulted from the fall. The death caused a scandal, and suspicion fell on Dudley, although he was absolved of wrongdoing. British author Skidmore (History/Bristol Univ.; Edward VI: The Lost King of England, 2007) moves engagingly back and forth in the story, dwelling on how fresh scrutiny of the evidence may point to the answer of this terrible death. Some of the evidence is well-known: Amy had been acting strangely that morning, praying on her knees, and insisted that the entire household attend a nearby fair, as if she had “an evil toy in her mind.” Moreover, there were indications in her correspondence that she might have been suffering from breast cancer. On the other hand, there had been rumors at court that Dudley was planning to poison her. Skidmore revisits a libelous tract that appeared in 1584, Leicester’s Commonwealth, as well as other accounts, in his thorough sifting of the historical record.

A fresh elucidation of this precarious period of Elizabeth’s reign.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-312-37900-1

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Oct. 18, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2010

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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