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Sir Francis Drake


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Definitive life of one of Britain's great maritime heroes by the acclaimed author of NELSON- A DREAM OF GLORY.

About the Author

Dr John Sugden has pursued a busy trans-Atlantic career as a lecturer, senior research fellow and writer. He is the author of a series of acclaimed articles and books, including Tecumseh: A Life, which won the Distinguished Book Award of the American Society for Military History, and Blue Jacket, which won the Ohioana Award, Nelson: A Dream of Glory, and, most recently, Nelson: Sword of Albion.


Circumnavigator of the globe, naval nemesis of Philip II of Spain, Sir Francis Drake (1543?-1596) personified England's coming-of-age as a sea power. In this long-overdue biography (there has been no major treatment of Drake in memory), Sugden ( Tecumseh's Last Stand ) incorporates into his lively narrative fresh information about Drake's family, his slave-trading expeditions to the West Indies, his command of English sea forces against Ireland, his hit-and-run raids on the Spanish main and his leading role in the defeat of the Armada. The book includes a gripping account of Drake's 1577-1580 voyage around the world and his audacious challenge to the Spanish (the author points out that King Philip's naval resources were roughly six times those of Elizabethan England), culminating in his preemptive strike at Cadiz in 1587 and his decisive action against the Armada in the English Channel a year later. Drake's nonmaritime deeds receive equal treatment in these pages: as vigorous social climber, businessman and parliamentarian. No armchair admiral will want to miss this one. Illustrations. (Mar.)

"Excellent...It deserves to become the standard Drake life. His scholarship is impeccable" -- Frank McLynn Sunday Telegraph "Excellent...he gives us throughout a highly sympathetic though not unbalanced portrait of a remarkable man" -- Linda Colley "The scope of his book, and the skill with which he handles generally unreliable sources, is impressive...The accounts of the circumnavigation, the attack on Cadiz and the defeat of the Armada are a comprehensive, and as readable, as any that have yet appeared" -- Brendan King Literary Review

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