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Elizabeth's Sea Dogs: How England's Mariners Became the Scourge of the Seas [Anglais] [Broché]

Hugh Bicheno

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Amazon.com: 4.8 étoiles sur 5  4 commentaires
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A culture of official piracy portrayed in the right context. 23 décembre 2012
Par Ned Middleton - Publié sur Amazon.com
In modern parlance, it is said that `one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.' Had such an expression been coined in the 16th Century it might so easily have been; `one monarch's naval captain is another monarch's pirate!'

Described as `Corsairs' in this enthralling and deeply researched work by Hugh Bichemo, we find the lives of such famous Elizabethan sailors as Drake, Frobisher, Hawkins and Co were preceded by those who paved the way for the dashing and adventurous exploits which continue to live in fact and legend. And on the subject of legend, I should also point out that many a well-voiced myth about the lives and times in question are laid to rest in this book.

The English Channel is that narrowing stretch of water which lies to the south of the English mainland. On the opposite shores are France and, somewhat further away, Spain. All three nations were empire builders and each had access to riches from their overseas territories - none more so than Spain and her treasure ships. What one overseas territory had, however, another lacked and it was the refusal of King Philip II of Spain to allow free trade with his overseas colonies which led to raids on his heavily laden vessels. Many were laden with gold bullion - a fortune in each treasure ship which was much needed to fund Spain's expensive religious wars. Once the English Corsairs had discovered the routes of the treasure ships - they were never likely to go in search of other commodities such as cloths and spices. Eventually, Philip became so incensed by the antics of the English he launched his famous Armada against them in 1588 and, of course, the rest we think we know...

In this book, however, we have the very first complete account of the origins of those Corsairs - which began long before the more famous names already mentioned were even born. We also learn how they prospered with and without official approval, of the pinnacle of their popularity and, eventually of their final decline.

In an age when the very words `English Navy' were taken to include Ireland, Scotland and Wales, we find a monarch who was nothing more than a receiver of stolen goods - taking the lion's share for the royal coffers in return for funding the expedition itself, and her courtiers no more than accomplices in downright piracy.

Most important of all, however, we also come to understand how they were all the very products of their day and, as is clearly and fascinatingly revealed in this unbiased work, we learn to understand the times and the reasons why they were what they were and why they behaved as they did.

In this excellent work, I believe this culture of official piracy has, for the very first time, been portrayed in the context of the ways of life which existed at that time and for that I congratulate the author on a splendid job of work.

3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Now I want the hard copy! 7 juin 2013
Par LINDA A. ROOT - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I am a writer of epic historical fiction and I needed to know more about 16th century pirates and privateering. I downloaded Under the Black Flag by David Cordingly, and it was very helpful, but its emphasis is on the Golden Age of Pirates, about 100 years off for thepurposes of my research. I found this book, of all places, in the reference notes in Wikipedea regarding the battles in the English Channel during the latter half of Elizabeth's reign, precisely what I needed. And it was hard to find, because the title of the original hardbound edition displays differently. Also, I understand the paperback is not available until September. But Eureka! AmazonUS had it onKindle. So I downloaded itfiguring that even if all I got out of it was a single salient fact I could use in my novel, I would be happy. Besides, it is deductible. Then I started at the beginning just to get the feel of the book, and there is no way I am putting this wonderful book down. My research and writing can come later --along with sleep and dinner. For years I thought nothing would approach Garrett Mattingly's Armada. This is more informative and every bit as good. No, I have not finished it. After all, it is over 400 pages packed with delight after delight. I have read the first 110 and skimmed the rest for overview. I came to the product page so I could budget the hard copy into my private purchases. I have to have this book on the shelf, between Mattingly's Armada and John Guy's My Heart is my Own (I have two copies of it as well) . Anyone who thinks this book is just about Elizabeth and her unscrupulous band of Sea Dogs is in for a surprise. So far I have found a bonus on every page. This is the best overview of life in Elizabethan England that I have found. I feel like today is my birthday and that some anonymousfriend sent me a present. If everyone who wrote history wrote like Hugh Bicheno, there would be many more history buffs. This is a wonderful book!
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Full of details 9 août 2013
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Great details and well written, albeit in spots a bit difficult to follow. If you love the sea read this book.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Sea Dogs' Elizabeth 5 stars 15 juin 2014
Par D J Kuznetzov - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
It is all here in this brilliant book. How a foggy island begot a few pirates who morphed into a matchless maritime and commercial empire that perdured until June 6th 1944 when America became Europe's supreme power. On the antiseptic side of decks' running with blood and human intestines Bicheno renders a superb, almost overdone recitation of the complex treaties and agreements that finally proved useless for their interlocutors in the smoke of English shot and shell. The book gets down and dirty with ruthless Drake, Frobusher superb in battle, felonious ashore and Raleigh who disobeyed his Queen's orders and the unwritten laws of the sea. Hawkins starved his sailors to fatten up his prisoners for sale at the next port.The boardings and sieges were awful and bloody. There was no penicillin, only the surgeons' sharp saws.
It is little known that Elizabeth's reign passed almost always in a state of penury and that pirates kept her well gowned from her share of their gettings. She had up to one hundred sixty armed ships privately owned, privately plundering and royally documented, all serving her unending needs for gold, silver and vendable cargoes in order to finance everything from adventures in Ireland to squads of lute players. These plunderers have been described as Elizabeth's captains. The more apt description would be Adventurers Seafarers and their Piratical Queen. Sixteenth century history's famous names are all there, but the thousands of ruthless captains and their avaricious crews who manned Elizabeth's stormed battered surrogates of her sovereignty are missing. There were too many of them.
Burghey, for example, kept the wheels greased in court. Keeping the power balanced at home required no little skill among blood seeking adventurers at sea or Thames side. That is a major point. Military success at sea, fed Elizabeth's mojo in negotiations and finally because these hundreds if not thousands of cruel, competent and adventurous men at sea beat down Dutch, French and Hapsburg pretentions. Reading these pages almost convince the reader that these these captains' triumphs were ordered by the stars and could not help but change English culture and society ashore. Inhuman military behavior at sea and on the littoral fuel one of history's most glorious ages. And for that we must examine the next four hundred years.
The prose here is racy enough to keep the dimmest reader alert and the historian waiting for the next page. 5 Stars. Buy this book.
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