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England and the Spanish Armada: The Necessary Quarrel Hardcover – May 11, 2005
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"This is a good book full of intriguing sidelines and byways." -- Frank McLynn, The Literary Review
The British came to view the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 as victory over an alien and ambitious empire, yet they themselves had fueled the conflict. This book examines the process by which the Spaniard, a long-term ally and friend, became in English eyes the epitome of human depravity and how this helped shape an emerging sense of nationhood.
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The Armada was created by Phillip II in 1588 with the hopes of bringing the Catholic church back to England by the Sword. General Parma's troops were massed in the Netherlands to be floated across the channel under the tutelage of the massive Armada made up of Caravels and even Triremes. The Armada was paid for by the Churchs gold, it was to be a crusade. England was a provincial backwater, not yet a sea power, and Elizabeth an untested queen, her captains like Sir Francis Drake were pirates. However the Armada failed. It fell into issues in the Channel, the weather was bad, it blew out to sea, foundered in Ireland(where later Eamon De Velera was a descendant of Catholic shipwrecked Spaniards). Elizabeth and her interesting assortment of naval commanders were made heroes. England gained a defining moment that would be replayed when she faced down both Napoleon and then Hitler across the same Channel and was miraculously saved both times. Protestant Europe survived and as we know much of the world was altered by the victory.
The author is an expert on Maritime studies and specializes in privateering and naval warfare. This makes him an excellent choice for storyteller of this momentous clash, since so much of it rests on the differences in ship design, wheather and captaincy. A good, pleasing read, and a wonderful contribution to the subject matter.
Seth J. Frantzman