Elizabeth : apprenticeship

by David Starkey

Paper Book, 2000




London : Chatto & Windus, 2000.


An abused child, yet confident of her destiny to reign, a woman in a man's world, Elizabeth I was to be famed as England's most successful ruler. This biography, by concentrating on the formative early years--from her birth in 1533 to her accession in 1558--shows how her experiences of danger and adventure formed her remarkable character and shaped her opinions and beliefs. In growing up, Elizabeth experienced every vicissitude of fortune and every extreme of condition. She was three years old at the time of her mother's execution; when she was a young woman, her step-father cut her dress off of her with a knife. She had been Princess and inheritrix of England--then bastardized and disinherited. At sixteen she was the head of a great princely household. Yet she was also an accused traitor on the verge of execution. Amid all this, she had mastered the most advanced classical curriculum of the day. But it was her lessons in the school of life that mattered more--and that taught her her humanity. David Starkey re-creates a host of extravagant characters, madcap schemes and tragic plots, while using original documents to point up the importance of the rituals of power and life at court. Elizabeth, whose own Protestant faith was personal and sophisticated, was extremely judicious in her handling of Reform, as in her choice of advisors and councilors. Here, too, is a fresh view of the famous rivalry between the daughters of Henry VIII: the pious Catholic Mary and her clever sister. While Elizabeth remained utterly devoted to her father, she was also determined not to lose her opportunity for power--and not to make the same mistakes as Mary. The skill with which she achieved her goal proved to be a sign that England had reached a watershed moment in its history. Starkey's close attention to detail and vivid storytelling ability combine to produce a narrative of these extraordinary years that reads like a novel.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member NielsenGW
Starkey’s half-biography is a paragon of modern historical scholarship. He tempers the dramatism of earlier historiographers while using contemporary accounts of the early life of Queen Elizabeth I. His stunning account is proof that non-fiction can be both exciting and accurate.
LibraryThing member keywestnan
A good concise summary of the dramatic story of Elizabeth's journey to the throne, especially her survival through her turbulent childhood and adolescence.
LibraryThing member soniaandree
Great historical novel (well, it doesn't read like a formal biography), the style is fluid, the storyline concise and to the point, the references (primary and secondary) are well researched and it doesn't dwell on sordid details, which is a plus. The author is well known in his field, and I would
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say that this book is a library essential, either for academics/students of English or for Gloriana buffs. Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member herschelian
I can't have too many books on Elizabeth l, she has always intrigued me ever since I read 'Young Bess' by Margaret Irwin when I was 12. This biography doesn't disappoint and Starkey has a dramatic writing style I very much like.
LibraryThing member jshillingford
This book spends more time on Elizabeth's youth than other biographies. The author obviously did a lot of research. His writing style is not as reader friendly as Alison Weir, but well worth the effort.
LibraryThing member Angelic55blonde
This is a great book from start to finish. Many people study Elizabeth during her later reign, when she was the strong "virgin" monarch. Starkey decided to focus on Elizabeth's life when it was the most unstable... from birth to her first acts as Queen.

Starkey is a great writer and this book is
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thoroughly researched. If you were looking for a study on her "private" life, you will be disapointed. Starkey only glossed over Elizabeth's well known loves Robert Dudley and the Earl of Essex.

This is a great book and anyone interested in Tudor/Stuart England should definitely read this. A must read for anyone who likes learning about Elizabeth I.
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LibraryThing member dellena
I enjoyed this book. It was an easy read, it focused mostly on her youth instead of trying to tell the whole story in one book.
Elizabeth, like most historical personages, was too complex to describe all in one work. I learned a lot about Elizabeth, although I felt the author was making excuses for
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her behavior.
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LibraryThing member luckycharm6139
A wonderfully researched book on the life of Englands Queen Elizabeth l, daughter of King Henry Vlll and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. It tells the story of Elizabeths tumoutuous childhood to her struggle waiting her turn to become Queen. A reccommended book for anyone who wishes to learn about
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Gloriana, as she was called, the Queen who brought Spains King Philip and his Spanish Armada to its knees!
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LibraryThing member neferset
A really readable biography of Elizabeth I focused mainly on the years leading up to her coronation and a quick synopsis of her reigning years at the end.
LibraryThing member la_femme_jennifer
An interesting look at the life of one of the most important Queens in history, though at times it gets a little too bogged down in the details and it can be hard to keep track of the vast number of characters involved. But if you like this kind of biography, you'll probably enjoy this.
LibraryThing member Kirconnell
This biography of Elizabeth I is a little different than most biographies because it covers the period of time before she became queen. You can see how she became the strong woman that she was and why she made some of the choices that she did. I really enjoyed this book and found it to be
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enlightening about one of my favorite female historical figures. I hope that Mr. Starkey follows through with his plan to cover the rest of her reign. Recommended for lovers of the Tudor period in England.
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LibraryThing member fist
First, a caveat: the book that I read had only "Elizabeth" as its title on the cover. Once inside, it turns out that it is called "Elizabeth - apprenticeship" and that it deals exclusively with the early, formative years. That cheap attempt at deception wasn't necessary, though, because the story
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of how Elizabeth went back and forth from being a legitimate heir to a bastard and back, fearing that at any moment she might follow her mother Anne Boleyn's footsteps - up on the scaffold - is riveting, as it fills the gap between the two well-known reigns of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Lots of cloak-and-dagger conspiracies, and moreover all this takes place before a dramatic backdrop of England being tossed back and forth between Anglicanism, Lutherism and Catholicism. The author manages to portray Elizabeth as person of flesh and (ice-cold) blood, and clearly sympathises with her. Slightly too much detail is given to certain theological matters dividing the various parties in the religious conflict, but overall, a solid read.
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LibraryThing member jerry-book
Her early years were quite difficult but they made her into one of the greatest queens in history.
LibraryThing member Auntie-Nanuuq
It was interesting, and I got over half way through, then I just gave up....... It was so dense, and this man he actually used the term "An abused child"..... but he never really delves into much depth about anything...... There isn't much personal about Elizabeth as I imagined/hoped there would
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There are many bits & pieces, for instance I didn't know that Edward's councilors & Elizabeth were a greedy lot and took most of his property for themselves...... That there was trading & conniving among until they had what they wanted... but when Edward died it all went back under the control of the new regime....

The writing seemed not scholarly, rather chatty at times, yet not contiguous as would a smooth timeline.
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LibraryThing member TanyaRead
It has more specific cites of historical relevant information versus speculation than some other biographies of Elizabeth I.
LibraryThing member kslade
Detailed account of Queen Elizabeth's early years when she barely survived to be ready to be Queen.


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