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Given that there are already hundreds of books on the Armada, what does this book offer that is new or different? The answer lies in the balance of the book. While most books concentrate on the campaign itself, this volume focuses far more on the context – the road to war, the two fleets, and the aftermath of the Armada get as much or more coverage than the fighting.
A full half of the book looks at the two fleets – their ships, commanders and men and their different fighting styles. I was particularly interested by the sections on the Spanish Galleon and English Race-built Galleon and the role of Sir John Hawkins in the design of the English ships.
The account of the Armada campaign itself is clear and well organised, although relatively brief. This section of the book has benefited from some interesting work in the Spanish archives, which amongst other things reveal how many shots and of what size the surviving ships had fired during the campaign.
There are many other books that give a more detailed account of the fighting during the Armada campaign, but few that place the fighting so clearing in its wide context, or that explain the differences between the two fleets so neatly, and that makes this a useful book.
The Road to War
The Invincible Armada
The Archaeological Legacy
The Twists of Fate: What if the Armada had Won?
Author: Angus Konstam
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