SIR FRANCIS DRAKE by George Malcolm Thomson


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An exuberant Boys' Life rendition of corsairs on the Spanish Main which features Drake as a sporting, seafaring Robin Hood jovially relieving Spanish ships of their New World treasures from Santa Domingo to Cartagena to Cadiz. Insofar as 16th-century Spain was rich and England was poor, this approach may have a modicum of justification but not Thomson's debonair dismissal of the more vicious and mercenary aspects of Drake's around-the-world piracy (including his key role in inaugurating the English slave trade). Nor does Thomson probe the mercantile economics behind the Anglo-Spanish rivalries or the politics of the Privy Council and the equivocal support it gave the terrible El Draque. Even at the Armada (not so much an English victory as a Spanish defeat) Drake is treated as the instrument of benign Protestant and English-speaking Providence. And Thomson credulously incorporates the more storied feats -- such as the alleged landing in California -- into this glib, garrulous narrative.

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 1972
Publisher: Morrow