England and the Spanish Armada


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The Necessary Quarrel

James McDermott

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The Anglo-Spanish War of 1585–1603 was, to most contemporary Englishmen, a conflict for the soul of the nation. To their descendants, the Armada campaign of 1588 represented a watershed in European history that both preserved English freedoms and halted the momentum of an ambitious and alien empire. Yet the victorious nation had contributed much to 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 resistance to his imagined goals helped shape an emerging sense of nationhood.
The antipathies generated by this process ensured that the Armada campaign was a battle for different ideals of civilization. The protagonists expected the clash to be decisive, but what ensued was no heroic encounter. Instead it was an inconclusive affair, redeemed—for England—by atrocious weather and poor Spanish understanding of the coastlines of western Scotland and Ireland.

James McDermott is the author of Martin Frobisher: Elizabethan Privateer, published by Yale University Press.

"A worthy book. . . . McDermott's detailed descriptions of the preparations and conduct of the naval conflict are interesting and informative, and he offers fresh insights and analyses of the fight between two enemies, who were a far closer match in reality than they appeared on paper. Recommended."—Choice


"The analysis . . . is a brilliant one and one which deepens our understanding."—Contemporary Review

"[This book} looks certain to introduce a fresh and welcomely subversive current into the otherwise rather becalmed waters of Tudor history."—John Adamson, Sunday Telegraph

"This is a good book full of intriguing sidelines and byways."—Frank McLynn, The Literary Review

"This is a provocative and vividly written book that will stimulate debate."—David Potter, The International History Review

"A reader wanting to gain insight into how high-level Renaissance decision makers communicated, acted, and reacted, and on which information and constructions of reality they based their decisions, will find ample information here. The frequent quotes are given in their original contemporary orthography, thus providing a sense of the 'feel' of the period—and they were obviously not selected without a good sense of humor and a twinkling eye, adding considerably to the pleasure of reading the lucid text of this work. The reviewer hopes that one day a work of comparable depth will permit us to re-read the story through Spanish eyes."—Thomas Scheben, H-War

"Extensively documented. . . . Very detailed and readable. . . . Useful to the scholars of this period as well as those who are just beginning their study of this era of history."—John P. Miglietta, Sixteenth Century Journal
ISBN: 9780300219104
Publication Date: August 1, 2015
432 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
16 b/w illus.
Martin Frobisher

Elizabethan Privateer

James McDermott

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