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Sir Francis Drake


By Mark Sappenfield, deputy national editor / April 16, 2010

With everyone from Batman to John Adams getting revisionist make-overs, England’s most famous explorer rates one, too, which is what he gets in Sir Francis Drake: The Queen’s Pirate by Harry Kelsey. It turns out that Drake’s not the pious patriot history would have us believe but a foul-mouthed pirate who had his crew quaking with fear. He was Elizabeth’s thumb in the eye of the Spanish, and this is an interesting account, even though it occasionally becomes a bit bogged down with details.

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