Heroes: Saviours, Traitors and Supermen
This is not a book specifically about Drake: rather it is an exploration of the phenomenon of hero-worship through the lives of these eight men: Achilles and Odysseus from mythology; Alchibiades and Cato from the classical world; and from history, El Cid, Wallenstein, Garibaldini and Sir Francis Drake.
Lucy Hughes-Hallett examines the lives of each of these men and explains how each of them sheds a different and startling light on the universal craving for a champion. Where Drake is concerned, the author gives a succinct account of his life, which actually does not tell us anything which we do not already know. What will interest society members, and why I recommend this book, is the author's excellent and immensely interesting analysis of why Drake became, and has remained, one of Britain's favourite heroes. The author suggests that the fact that from the 16th century onwards, Drake was and has remained, an object of affection and admiration, reflects Britain's unspoken view of its own national psyche - a free spirit, the epitome of all that is permissive of individual liberty and justice. She also suggests that the British, especially the Victorians, have manipulated the Drake story to reflect their own ideas but quite rightly implies that Drake would not mind this at all.
Lucy Hughes-Hallett goes on to suggest that Britain's liking for Drake suggests that Britain likes its heroes to be naughty rather than virtuous.
I found this book very interesting but I am not sure that it is worth £25, if you only want to read about Drake. I bought it because I want to own every book that includes Drake. The book is available via the British Library Services.