The Watchers A Secret History of the Reign of Elizabeth I review ´ 100

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The Watchers A Secret History of the Reign of Elizabeth IFrom the shadows In his company we follow Her Majesty's agents through the streets of London and Rome and into the dank cells of the Tower We see the world as they saw it ever unsure who could be trusted or when the fatal knock on their own door might come The Watchers is a riveting exploration of loyalty faith betrayal and deception with the highest possible stakes in a world poised between the Middle Ages and moderni. Sent this book by the publishers I really looked forward to reading what’s ostensibly a behind the scenes account of ueen Elizabeth I’s reign but from the point of view of the “watchers” that is reporters listeners spies – the men whose speciality was espionage Elizabethan times it turns out are notorious for their extensive use of spies and networks all of which were established to protect England and ensure the ueen’s successful reign As Alford writes in the introduction while Elizabeth and her council worked hard to maintain “clever and persuasive projections of political stability empire self confidence and national myth” there was in fact “a darker story set against a Europe divided and oppressed by religious conflict civil war and the ambitions of kings and princes”Taking the crown after her half sister “Bloody Mary” tried to purge the Protestant stain and trying to stabilise an England divided by religious schism and rapidly changing succession Elizabeth’s job was not easy Declaring England as Protestant but claiming that Catholicism would be tolerated Elizabeth nonetheless was acutely aware of how precarious her position as ruler and religious head of a reeling nation was Plots to declare her rule invalid assassination attempts never mind trying to overthrow Elizabeth and place Mary ueen of Scots on the throne abounded Then there was the job of trying to find Elizabeth a suitable husband all of which meant that though the kingdom flourished in terms of exploration the humanities and arts there was also a seething underbelly that threatened to erupt and destroy everything at any time The greatest threat was that of the Catholics who discontent with Elizabeth’s heretical leadership and perceiving it as ungodly sought to rid themselves of Henry VIII’s daughter and restore the “true religion” Working from within their homeland their overseas networks were extensive travelling across Europe and involving some of the most powerful people abroad as well The stage is thus set for espionage betrayal treason propaganda secrets torture faith martyrdom and lies all of which Sir Francis Walsingham and his successors sought to control Carefully researched and very well written this book is an eye opener that also makes the mind boggle The lengths to which various individuals would go to inveigle themselves into Catholic families or communities in order to uncover plots and treasons were phenomenal Conspirators were discovered freuently many from noble families The Throckmorton plot was one of the most famous and this is covered in detail throughout the book Fascinating in its complexity and the degree of commitment and sacrifice believers were ready to make uncovering it was to prove an even greater triumphThe book goes onto explore the stories derring do successes and failures of many spies and traitors how far they were willing to go disguise denying their identities for long periods sacrificing family and a “normal” life for little reward and from these we also learn how disposed Walsingham and his men were to use torture to uncover secrets and plots and how brutal their interrogation methods were Some of the spies or intelligencers were gentleman and even poets others were criminals but many were chameleons able to shift camouflage themselves and change with subtlety There was William Parry Thomas Phelippes Gilbery Gifford Chrales Sledd Sir Robert Cecil Burghley simply to name a few forgive my memory names both known and unknown to history buffs Perhaps for those names less familiar it’s testimony to how well they performed their roles – they disappeared not simply into the woodwork but became lost in the pages of history and time until Alford recovers them Uncovering the plots and deeds of desperate men these watchers brought many to trial and death and in doing so ensured Elizabeth’s long reign Utilising surviving records Alford has done an amazing job and recreated in detail a tumultuous but fascinating period Almost akin to a Renaissance version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy I found this book fascinating challenging to keep track of the different names and roles but also a wonderful insight into what occurs behind the doors under the tables and in the shadows and whispers of a colourful and deceptively confidant ueen’s reign Like an ice berg it was the seven eights we didn’t see that ensured the topmost part remained afloat Alford has given us access to that which we don’t normally witness and exposed the intricacy and deadly seriousness of spying in Elizabethan times A great read for history buffs writers anyone who loves tales of espionage and appreciates solid research delivered in an entertaining and engaging manner 45 stars

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Ding God's true Church of England and its leader the ueen could stop at nothing to defend itselfHeaded by the brilliant enigmatic and widely feared Sir Francis Walsingham the Elizabethan state deployed every dark art spies double agents cryptography and torture Delving deeply into sixteenth century archives Stephen Alford offers a groundbreaking chillingly vivid depiction of Elizabethan espionage literally recovering it. returnreturnthis is a study of how the leadership of the English government maintained an intelligence service to protect the realm in particular the Cecils and Sir Francis Walsingham I'll say up front that I had a couple of disappointments there is very little about Ireland and I'd hoped for at least a passing mention of John Bossy's Giordano Bruno theory and didn't get one But I was very satisfied with the overall detailed picture of the ueen's advisors determined to preserve her rule at all costs much ruthless than she would have been as witness her dithering over the execution of Mary ueen of Scots and also somewhat anti Catholic returnreturnIt's easy to overlook two very important facts about the historical situation first that nobody knew that Elizabeth would live to 1603 and the uncertainty about her succession which she deliberately fostered to some extent was profoundly destabilising to those who wanted to think ahead to the next reign; and second that information just did not really flow between countries there were no newspapers statesmen did not give interviews official communications between rulers and magnates had to be supplemented by intelligence gathered by agents in important centres abroad One of the tools of statecraft therefore was to have a widespread network of contacts who would demand regular payment in return for information; this still happens today of course but unlike today there was almost no OSINT to check the HUMINT against Another important point is that most of the information was channeled to the principals directly and never shown to anyone else except if really necessary the ueenreturnreturnGiven these two factors Alford makes it almost uncontroversial though of course potentially very dangerous that Walsingham essentially framed Mary ueen of Scots for execution through the Babington Plot; although Babington himself who was only 24 was clearly a rather slender reed for the restoration of Catholicism Mary was an ever present temptation for someone competent while she lived Walsingham and Cecil were ruthless but they had seen the St Bartholomew's Day massacre and indeed had perpetrated plenty of sectarian violence themselves; they knew perfectly well what awaited them in the event of a further change of official ideology Elizabethan England providing security at home for economic stability and some encouragement of culture at the cost of repression of the surviving loyalists to the former regime and paranoia about their foreign allies seems not so very different from Pinochet's Chile or the less corrupt Eastern European countries under Communism

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The Watchers A Secret History of the Reign of Elizabeth I review ´ 100 Î [PDF] ✐ The Watchers A Secret History of the Reign of Elizabeth I By Stephen Alford – In a Europe aflame with wars of religion and dynastic conflicts Elizabeth I came to the throne of a realm encircled by meA Secret ePUB #10003 In a Europe aflame with wars of religion and dynastic The Watchers eBook #188 conflicts Elizabeth I came to the throne of a realm encircled Watchers A Secret MOBI #243 by menace To the great Catholic powers of France and Spain Watchers A Secret History of Kindle England was a heretic pariah state a canker to be cut away for the health of the greater body of Christendom Elizabeth's government defen. Elizabeth I reigned for a total of 45 years in England and the stability she gave as head of state gave us the Golden Age of wealth and greater self assurance as a nation The final Tudor monarch saw a cultural advances too this being the time of Shakespeare and military confidence on the high seas However the Europeans saw her very differently; as daughter of Anne Boylen Henry VIII's second wife she was considered a bastard and Protestant heretic by catholic Europe Following her denouncement by the Pope various European rulers prepared plans to dispose her replacing her with Mary The event that most people are aware of is the almost invasion by The Spanish Armada but throughout her reign she was protected by a team of loyal subjectsThese men were a motley bunch of ambassadors codebreakers and confidence men and spies who used all sort of covert and overt methods to counter the catholic threat Infiltrators were sent to the continent to ingratiate themselves with the church uncovering conspiracies both real and imagined identified and followed gentlemen who were plotting the overthrow of their ueen The network tracked priests entering the country under cover intercepted and deciphered almost all correspondence between suspects in England and their contacts in France Spain and Italy and neutered the threat that hung over the crownDrawing on documents from archive and collections Alford shines a light into this dark and shadowy time of history The narrative details tense searches across the countryside looking for specific people who were perceived to be a threat to the crown Traitors who were convicted sometimes only on hearsay and confessions uttered under torture on the rack were condemned in horrific ways to die It is an interesting account of those involved in keeping their monarch safe from all the assassination attempts and plots but at times was fairly complicated as he details all the people involved in these plots Worth reading though for those that like their Tudor history