This is an unusual and interesting book. It is not a history book but an investigation into the Elizabethans' posthumous progress through the collective psyche of the country. Hence, this is not an assessment of the Elizabethans as they actually were but as they have been perceived to have been, and how they have been used and manipulated by subsequent ages, the Victorians in particular, to promulgate their ideas and values. I find it particularly interesting to see how the Elizabethans have been used for propaganda purposes by successive governments in times of war.
In this book we have Drake's progress through the centuries. The 17th century portrayed him as a piratical hero of dubious character. He was an archetypal hero of the 18th century. In the 19th century he was a sense of nostalgia for the passing age of sail and as one of the first founders of the British empire. During the two world wars of the 20th century, Drake was used for propaganda purposes. He was a hero in the boys' own genre between the two wars. In the late 1950s and early 1960s Drake was the star of his own TV series. From the late 60s to the late 70s Drake was a non person. He was revived in the 1980s. In the 1990s he was politically incorrect. At the turn of the century, Elizabethans became fashionable, so Drake is more acceptable.
In the 21st century, I found their comments on some of the books about Drake interesting, especially their discussions of the Drake orientated literature and a still from the film Drake of England. Louis Napoleon Parker's pageant play is mentioned but not the modern musical Drake. Dobson and Watson's assessment of Drake is fair and well balanced, along with those of Elizabeth, Shakespeare and other Elizabethan figures. At the end, the chapter notes are a mixture of primary and secondary sources. This book has obviously been aimed at the general reader, rather than the historian. It is available from all good book shops.