[book review] Thomas Cogswell, James I: The Phoenix King

cover cogswellThomas Cogswell, James I: The Phoenix King (Penguin Monarchs), (London:  Allen Lane, 2017)

Thomas Cogswell’s biography is recognisably one of the Penguin Monarchs series.  That means it’s concise (just 109 pages) and informative; a good general introduction to the king who succeeded Elizabeth. For those studying Shakespeare or the Early Modern period, the information about James’ early life is useful and potentially revealing.

It’s also often neglected.

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[book review] Helen Castor, Elizabeth I: A Study in Insecurity

cover castorHelen Castor, Elizabeth I: A Study in Insecurity (Penguin Monarchs Series), (London:  Penguin, 2018)

Helen Castor is – perhaps despite the title – sensibly objective in this short (117 pages) but useful biography of Elizabeth. Early on, she admits that the queen was almost unknowable to her subjects and rivals, let alone to us from a distance of over 300 years.
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