Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The First Elizabeth by Carolly Erickson Review

"In this remarkable biography, Carolly Erickson brings Elizabeth I to life and allows us to see her as a living, breathing, elegant, flirtatious, diplomatic, violent, arrogant, and outrageous woman who commands our attention, fascination, and awe.

With the special skill for which she is acclaimed, Carolly Erickson electrifies the senses as she evokes with total fidelity the brilliant colors of Elizabethan clothing and jewelry, the texture of tapestries, and even the close, perfumed air of castle rooms. Erickson demonstrates her extraordinary ability to discern and bring to life psychological and physical reality."

The First Elizabeth is indeed remarkable. The First Elizabeth ruin the glorious image I had of her. When I was back in grade school, my old history teacher talked endlessly about how great and wonderful is Queen Elizabeth I. She defeated this. She defeated that. She's the best Queen of England. She is the Virgin Queen, meaning she never married. She ruled for great years. Queen Elizabeth's sister, Bloody Mary, hated her. Her father, Henry VIII, executed her mother, Anne. Prince Philip underestimated the greatest Queen. And then he spent time mocking the spanish accent of Prince Philip of Spain.

The First Elizabeth ruin the beautiful image of a good and beautiful, wise and strong Queen of England in the Elizabethan Era. 

Carolly Erickson portrays Queen Elizabeth as money-hungry, indecisive, back-stabbing, cruel, and heartless. Queen Elizabeth is recorded of doing this and doing this "sin." (By the church at that time). Queen Elizabeth is recorded of doing some nasty stuff. The book even called Queen Elizabeth a "whore." 

What do I think? This is what I think: "History is written by the victors." It is truly hard to understand what happen at that time. As said in The First Elizabeth, the Queen of England is a master of deception and faking emotions. Her true feelings are hidden by lies and false covers. Queen Elizabeth may or may not be a money-hungry, indecisive, back-stabbing, cruel, and heartless Queen. I can however, believe that Queen Elizabeth wore a lot of makeup. After all, we all want to keep up the illusion of beauty and youth. 

We can guess the feelings of Queen Elizabeth I, but the evidence of what she had done will never fade until they are forgotten. The unique painting and description of Queen Elizabeth certainly tells part of her story, but not all of it. Because some parts of the story is lost and forgotten in time. 

Carolly Erickson has done a wonderful job of painting Queen Elizabeth. She kept me entertained through the five hundred pages.

Rating: Four out of Five

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