The story of the Spanish Armada is one of the great epics, with a cast of characters as rich and varied as any in history and results that shaped Europe for centuries to come. Neil Hanson — acclaimed author of The Great Fire of London — traces the origins of the conflict from the Old World to the New, delineating the Armada campaign in rousing prose. He illuminates the lives of kings and popes, spymasters and assassins, military commanders and common sailors, and the ordinary men and women caught up in this great event when the fate of nations hung in the balance. The Confident Hope of a Miracle is authentic and original history written with the pace and drama of a novel.
About The Confident Hope of a Miracle
The real story of the Spanish Armada.
In the winter of 1587 the Spanish Armada, the largest force of warships ever assembled, set sail to crush the English navy. This breathtaking overview of one of the most fascinating campaigns in European history begins with the execution of Mary Queen of Scots, the event that precipitated the launching of the Armada. From the first whispers of the threat against England and the English crown, to the return of the battered remnants of the fleet to Spain eighteen months later, it is a story rich in incident and intrigue. In this controversial study, Neil Hanson claims that Francis Drake’s intention was not to sink the Armada ships but to disable and plunder them. He further claims that Queen Elizabeth was a monarch who left many of the survivors of the battle to die of disease or starvation and whose parsimony, prevarication and cynicism left her unable to make crucial decisions.
Drawing on previously undiscovered personal papers, Neil Hanson conveys in vivid detail how the highest and the lowest in the land fared in those turbulent months when the destiny of all Europe hung in the balance.
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“Hanson’s precise and sparkling narrative captures the cataclysmic urgency of political and religious conflict in early modern Europe. He is obviously a historian with a winning hand.”–The Houston Chronicle
“An exciting narrative. . . . Never before has actual battle been described in such detail and rarely with such flair.”–Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Excellent. . . . Hanson does a good job of conveying the excitement and danger of the individual sea battles." –Chicago Sun-Times
“Brilliant. . . . Hanson is a meticulous historian and a compelling storyteller. This is one of those rare works of popular history that, like Alan Morehead’s The White Nile or Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August, makes a half-remembered story from school seem both real and relevant.”–Newsday