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Mary, Queen of Scots, and the Murder of Lord Darnley Paperback – February 10, 2004
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Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The general impression of Scottish politics at this time is of dozens of ruthless, power-seeking noblemen all changing sides, lying, scheming, and double-crossing each other at a rapid rate. The numerous documents relating to Darnley's murder (of which the Casket Letters are only a small, though vital, part) are almost all filled with contradictions, inconsistencies, blatant omissions, deliberate distortions, and attempts to blame or clear specific individuals; and are closely tied to political, religious or financial interests. To try to find the truth in this whole mess is like cleaning the Augean stables. Weir has done about as good a job as anyone could, in analyzing everything logically and looking at it in the light of common sense. I think that this book makes a real contribution to the topic.
Weir says about her conclusion, "Even after extensive research, I believed, as I began to write this book, that Mary was guilty. But when I came to analyse the source material in depth, it became increasingly obvious that such a conclusion was not possible." She makes a good, clear, well-reasoned, consistent case, always referring back to the original sources and weighing them carefully.Read more ›
However, what it comes down to -- as it so often does with Mary -- is the question of the Casket Letters. Weir discounts their authenticity vehemently and exonorates Mary of any complicity in her husband's death. This begs the big issue of Mary's character as a ruthless schemer, brought up in Machiavellian France, losing her head over plots against Elizabeth. Weir makes a case here, but does not convince nor provide new interpretations of old evidence.
If you are a Marian, this book will add ample fuel to your fire. If you are not, the last sentence will make you gasp in righteous indignation.
Yet, Weir also has a knack for building assumption on frail assumption, trying to build a house of bricks on a foundation of straw. As an example, she speculates that the illness that plagued Darnley in the months before his death was not smallpox (as commonly assumed) but rather an intermediate stage of syphilis. She acknowledges that this is not clear from the record, but merely speculation, and outlines both the pros and cons for her view. Weir is clear enough: there's some reasonable chance she is right, but she acknowledges that, across the years, it is impossible to establish her position with certainty. Weir then builds on this assumption, suggesting it was "inconceivable" that Mary did not find out that syphilis ailed her husband, making assumptions about Mary's state of mind, whether or not she may have had another pregnancy, and how she interacted with other men and her husband based on the speculations about Darnley's disease. This is but one example.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Thorough. Insightful. Passionately written. Period documents cited. Really, everything I wish to find in a biography, especially of someone so well known.Published 18 hours ago by Amazon Customer
A very well written book and somewhat convoluted, but a good read. It can be difficult as it is written in a very scholarly style that differs from American English. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Sudi
I buy her books because of the extensive research she does before writing, and her photos.Published 2 months ago by Maria Greco
this is a well researched and interesting history of a story that has experienced many opinions and fictional tellings. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Sis
Doesn't get any better than a history book by Alison Weir. This book is a serious, in-depth read. Loved it.Published 3 months ago by Allison Gupton
This book is very thorough in its detail of the murder of Lord Darnley. Alison Weir definitely exhausted the resources when compiling this book. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Kristin