Sir Francis Drake
A new biography of the naval hero
- Sir Francis Drake
John Sugden - Barrie & Jenkins, 1990 - xii+355 pp.- £18.95
To his contemporaries Drake was 'the master thief of the unknown world', as Edmund Howes recorded. The Golden Hind was celebrated as the Pythagorean ship in Abraham Cowley's words for her 'famous voyage', the circumnavigation of the globe, 1577-80. Drake's exploits became a legend and remain a powerful image of England"s maritime destiny. Yet even in his lifetime the lack of celebratory works in his honour was a matter of comment. 'I did expect some Ovid’s pen to paint his worthy praise', Henry Roberts wrote in his ballad of 1585. When the 400th anniversary of his circumnavigation was commemorated in the years 1977 to 1980, the lack of a good modern biography was seriously felt.