This is a selection of book reviews about Elizabethan England – about the politics, reign of Elizabeth, general history, and the Elizabethan Church Settlement of 1558.
For book reviews about Elizabeth I and her relatives, see this page. For book reviews about exploration and social history in Elizabeth’s time, see this further page.
by John Guy
John Guy is one of the leading historians of Tudor England. He states, in the preface to Tudor England, that he intends to produce “a clear narrative account of the period of English history from 1460 to the death of Elizabeth I in a manner equally accessible to the general reader and to the student”.
I think he succeeds; this is a scholarly and academic book, which concentrates more on the development of the state, the Reformation, and political happenings than economic or social history.
This is a great, thorough introduction to the Tudor Age.
England Under the Tudors
by G.R. Elton
Professor Elton revolutionised the study of Tudor England in the 1950s and 1960s, and did a great deal of original research.
This general guide to the period was first published in 1955, and has been in print ever since.
It’s a little out of date now, in terms of the newest research into Tudor England, but is nonetheless a great and thorough guide to the sweep of Tudor history, from the accession of Henry VII after the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 to the death of Elizabeth I in 1603.
The Reign of Elizabeth I: 1558-1603
by Stephen J. Lee
This is a great summary of Elizabeth’s reign – the politics, foreign affairs and religious turmoil of Elizabeth’s England. It’s shorter than the above volumes (220-odd pages) but is well-referenced and a good read.
Charitable Hatred: Tolerance and Intolerance in England, 1500-1700
by Alexandra Walsham
This book looks at religion, charity, and views of different beliefs in Tudor and Stuart England.
In an age where people all too often went to the stake to be burned alive for what they believed, this is a fascinating study of what and why people thought about crucial religious and intellectual issues of the day.
Elizabeth I: Religion and Foreign Affairs
by Dr John Warren (Author)
One of a number of texts in a series about Tudor England, this is a great and very accessible introduction to the Elizabethan Church Settlement and to foreign policy.
The two were closely related, because Elizabeth’s protestant Church of England was on a collision course with Catholic Spain and France – the two major powers in Europe in the Early Modern Era.
Riot, Rebellion and Popular Politics in Early Modern England
by Andy Wood
Political histories tend to concentrate on what the Queen or Lord X were up to.
This is a great book about general political feelings, and the uprisings and revolts which occured in Tudor England when the government went too far, as seen by the population as a whole.
It’s a well-written and interesting account of dissent throughout the Tudor and Stuart periods.
Elizabeth and the English Reformation: The Struggles for a Stable Settlement of Religion
by William Haugaard
The Elizabethan Church Settlement of 1558, and the Convocation of 1563, laid down the structure and dogma of the Church of England not only for Elizabeth’s reign, but for the Church up to the present time.
After the extreme Protestant Church of Edward VI (1547 to 1553), and the abrupt return to Catholicism and the Pope in Mary I’s reign (1553 to 1558), the Elizabethan Church Settlement was crucial in striking a more moderate path and calming down the frenzy.
This is a detailed and very interesting book about religion and the Church in Elizabeth I’s reign.
The Elizabethan Secret Services
by Alan Haynes
Elizabeth’s England was under threat. The two major powers in Europe were Catholic – France and Spain. They both detested the Protestant England established across the English Channel, and took note of the Pope’s Bull that Elizabeth was to be disobeyed and targeted by Catholics.
Elizabeth’s ministers responded – by setting up the first modern espionage and secret service network. This book is a wonderful and detailed account of the spies, the codes, the networks, and the struggle.