Books about Elizabethan History – General, Political, Historical

By , April 27, 2010 10:19 am
Elizabeth I, aged about 12 years

Elizabeth I, aged about 12 years

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.

Tudor England

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.

Tudor England – Amazon UK

Tudor England – Amazon USA

Elizabeth I's parents - King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn

Elizabeth I's parents - King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn

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It’s a little out of date now, in terms of the newest research into Tudor England, but is nonetheless a great and thorough guide to the sweep of Tudor history, from the accession of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.

England Under the Tudors – Amazon UK

England Under the Tudors – Amazon USA

Elizabeth I in about 1600, by Robert Peake the Elder

Elizabeth I in about 1600, by Robert Peake the Elder

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.

The Reign of Elizabeth I: 1558-1603 – Amazon UK

The Reign of Elizabeth I: 1558-1603 – Amazon USA

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.

Charitable Hatred: Tolerance and Intolerance in England, 1500-1700 – Amazon UK

Charitable Hatred: Tolerance and Intolerance in England, 1500-1700 – Amazon USA

Matthew Parker, Elizabeth I's Archbishop of Canterbury 1559 - 1575

Matthew Parker, Elizabeth I's Archbishop of Canterbury 1559 - 1575

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.

Elizabeth I: Religion and Foreign Affairs – Amazon UK

Elizabeth I: Religion and Foreign Affairs- Amazon USA

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.

Riot, Rebellion and Popular Politics in Early Modern England – Amazon UK

Elizabeth I in about 1575

Elizabeth I in about 1575

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.

Elizabeth and the English Reformation: The Struggles for a Stable Settlement of Religion – Amazon UK

Elizabeth and the English Reformation: The Struggles for a Stable Settlement of Religion – Amazon USA

Sir Francis Walsingham - Elizabeth I's Spymaster
Sir Francis Walsingham – Elizabeth I’s Spymaster

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.

The Elizabethan Secret Services – Amazon UK

The Elizabethan Secret Services – Amazon USA

4 Responses to “Books about Elizabethan History – General, Political, Historical”

  1. I have a lot of catching up to do. These look like amazing works, and you know I love this era.

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