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Hakluyt’s Promise: An Elizabethan's Obsession for an English America Hardcover – January 10, 2007

3.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The time is right for a new study of Hakluyt, and this lively and readable book fills the gap.”—Glyn Williams, author of Voyages of Delusion: The Quest for the Northwest Passage

 


(Glyn Williams)

“Peter Mancall follows Richard Hakluyt through the crooked streets and paneled private rooms of late Renaissance London and Paris—and shows for the first time how this scholar and writer, who rarely left the south of England, became his country's most eloquent impresario of travel, trade and colonization.”—Anthony Grafton, Princeton University
(Anthony Grafton)

“The most approachable and digestible account of intellectual and cultural life in the age of Shakespeare that I have read. This is an engaging, thoughtful, and important book. Mancall uses all of the tools of the cultural and social historian to recreate Hakluyt's life and his world. He provides an account of the origins of the Atlantic World and the British Empire that will challenge current paradigms.”—Steven Pincus, Yale University
 
 
(Steven Pincus)

“This is an outstanding piece of literary contextualization.  The author relates Hakluyt’s career to his own publications—and those of European contemporaries—on ventures into the unknown.”—Nicholas Canny, National University of Ireland, Galway.
 
 
(Nicholas Canny)

“No Elizabethan promoted England’s imperial ambitions more vigorously than Richard Hakluyt, an elusive man who lives on mostly through his published works. Peter Mancall brings Hakluyt to life in this beautifully illustrated, elegantly written, and innovative biography that is moving, entertaining, and informative.”—Alison Games, Georgetown University
 
 
(Alison Games)

"Mancall has captured the life of the elusive Hakluyt and put him firmly in place at the heart of Elizabethan maritime enterprise. A splendid achievement."—Robert C. Ritchie, The Huntington Library
 
(Robert C. Ritchie)

“More than a meticulous biography of the great Elizabethan geographer and promoter of colonization, Hakluyt’s Promise is a fine study in intellectual history and of the intersection of learning, mythology, and creative enterprise.”—Bernard Bailyn, Harvard University
 
 
(Bernard Bailyn)

“With the quadra centennial of the founding of Jamestown looming, Peter Mancall provides an imaginative and indispensable study of Richard Haykluyt without whose writings the colonization of America might have played out differently. Haykluyt's Promise is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the intellectual origins of English America.”—Louis P. Masur, Trinity College
 
 
(Louis P. Masur)

"A sixteenth-century publicist, Richard Hakluyt arranged nature's wonders and mysteries into ordered systems meant to inspire overseas colonies in North America. In that spirit, Peter Mancall now weaves a latter-day wonder: a lively and insightful biography that recovers Hakluyt's complex personality and enduring importance. With thorough research and a keen wit, Mancall illuminates Hakluyt as the ultimate man of the Renaissance, an age that combined magic and science, art and reason."—Alan Taylor, University of California, Davis
 
(Alan Taylor)

About the Author

Peter C. Mancall is professor of history, University of Southern California, and director of the USC–Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute. He lives in Los Angeles.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 378 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; First Edition edition (January 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300110545
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300110548
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,764,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book provides an in-depth picture of the life of England's greatest naval chronicler. It is very well researched, and places his life and achievements in the context of his time, a period of great expansion and achievement for Elizabethan England.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This new study of Hakluyt gives the scholar-propagandist his due. I remember reading A.L. Rowse's books at school covering some of the same ground, but I suppose they are not much read now and this brings the picture to a new generation. I enjoyed the book and found it pleasantly informative; I was, however, worried by the number of slips I observed on a fairly casual reading:

p16 contains great confusion. Eleanor of Castile died in 1290 and was Edward I's wife, not Henry III's [his wife Eleanor of Provence died in 1291]. Clearly neither was being buried in the 1490s;

Bishop Fox of Winchester founded Corpus Christi College, not Christ Church;

'Kinneston in Hereford' is actually Kinaston in Herefordshire;

it is strange to assert as if all agree that the Black Death started in India;

p92- 'memento mori' is misused;

William the Silent was not Elizabeth I's cousin [though princes addressed each other in such polite terms];

the forms Madre de Deus and Madre di Dios both occur;

Hugh Castlehaven was not a prelate [actually the term canon is also misused at one point with the phrase 'the canon' as if a cathedral only has one. I think clerical titles confuse our author at times.]

Well, it is still a good book but it does shake one's confidence a little.
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Format: Hardcover
If one wants to waste his time reading about conjectures without any facts or much in the way of relevant primary sources, at least through the first third of this book, he will be in hog heaven. Also, the organization is often hap-hazard and frequently irrelavent to anything I thought the book might be about. There in unneeded repetition that slows the story, unless one skims well. The author puts in his suggested opinions everywhere with essentially no scrap of convincing evidence for me. Then, there are the historical errors, some of which have been mentioned.

Some of the writing is informative and entertaining. The maps and pictures of that period are darn fascinating and the author clarifies those nicely, but there are many other sources for those.

The fundamental flaw for me is that there isn't enough known about Hakluyt to think that one can write a 300 page "bio" about him.
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