georgia-haire
13th February 2012

Review: The Elizabethans by A.N.Wilson. 4 stars

After great success with The Victorians, Wilson attempts to capture the spirit of the Elizabethan era in this single-volume work, aptly titled The Elizabethans. As a History student, I have come to be extremely wary of condensed historical narratives but Wilson’s new survey of the period proved to be an interesting and entertaining read. Wilson […]
Review: The Elizabethans by A.N.Wilson. 4 stars

After great success with The Victorians, Wilson attempts to capture the spirit of the Elizabethan era in this single-volume work, aptly titled The Elizabethans. As a History student, I have come to be extremely wary of condensed historical narratives but Wilson’s new survey of the period proved to be an interesting and entertaining read. Wilson ultimately wants to convey the parallels between modern British society and the Elizabethans, and that this was the era that laid the foundations for later British power and prosperity, such as English sea-power.

By acknowledging these links and deep rooted connections between past and present, Wilson tackles the danger of being too dismissive and judgemental of past societies, and in turn, so does the reader. Wilson also glorifies the cultural brilliance of the Elizabethan age with great and infectious enthusiasm, discussing not just the burgeoning amount of exceptional literature and drama, but also music and the magnificent architecture produced in the era that survives in the form of great manor houses, schools, gatehouses and staircases.

As expected from a popular history book that squeezes so much into one volume, I did find myself wincing slightly at some of the sweeping generalisations, but that is probably just the little history lecturer at the back of my mind talking.

An easily digestible overview of the period that offers some interesting new perspectives.


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