Sir Francis Drake (The British Library Historic Lives)
This is a straightforward biography with some use of the primary sources and some analysis. It is not of the standard of Dr Sugden's definitive biography, but neither does the author force his opinions upon the reader or twist and mis-use the primary sources as Stephen Cootes, John Cummins and Harry Kelsey did. This makes Peter Whitfield's book a much better read than the three aforementioned turgid, inaccurate and boring post-Sugden biographies. Whitfield does not set out to prove a point, test a hypothesis or to denigrate Drake. He aims to present the fact and, since he has a good literary style, he does it well. The academic Drake scholar will learn nothing new from the book but will enjoy the revision. The book could provide a valuable introduction for a reader new to Drake or for a GCSE or 'A' level student.
The book is well illustrated and contains a good bibliography of both primary and secondary sources. It is reasonably priced and ladies, it has the advantage of being just the right size for a handbag.