The Death of Queen Elizabeth I, the Return of the Black Plague, the Rise of Shakespeare, Piracy, Witchcraft, and the Birth of the Stuart Era

Book - 2004
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1603 was the year that Queen Elizabeth I, the last of the Tudors, died. Her cousin, Robert Carey, immediately rode like a demon to Scotland to take the news to James VI. The cataclysmic time of the Stuarts had come and the son of Mary Queen of Scots left Edinburgh for London to claim his throne as James I of England.

Diaries and notes written in 1603 describe how a resurgence of the plague killed nearly 40,000 people. Priests blamed the sins of the people for the pestilence, witches were strangled and burned and plotters strung up on gate tops. But not all was gloom and violence. From a ship's log we learn of the first precious cargoes of pepper arriving from the East Indies after the establishment of a new spice route; Sharkespeare was finishing Othello and Ben Jonson wrote furiously to please a nation thirsting for entertainment.

1603 was one of the most important and interesting years in British history. Christopher Lee, acclaimed author of This Sceptred Isle , unfolds its story from first-hand accounts and original documents to mirror the seminal year in which Britain moved from Tudor medievalism towards the wars, republicanism and regicide that lay ahead.
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2004
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9780312321390
Branch Call Number: 942.055 L51s 2004
Characteristics: xi, 368 p. : ill. ; 25 cm


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Mar 24, 2013

This is an okay book. It's really great if you like reading lengthy passages of original documents in 16th and early 17th century English. Those are really fun (not) - not only is the spelling and word choice odd to us, these people had no idea what a period was to be used for. The sentences are almost a page long in many cases. So it's a a real challenge to read the lengthier passages of these quotes. And I found that the extensive quoting of these passages was unnecessary. A little of this goes a long way. I think the author could have achieved the same thing with shorter quotes and more of his own explanation. But I did enjoy the topic-drivien arrangement of the book and the glimpse it gives into what life was really like in 1603.


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