Sir John Norreys and the Elizabethan Military World is the first biography of Elizabeth I's most trusted soldier. It chronicles Norreys's life between 1570 and 1600, examining how Norreys built on his family's personal friendship with Elizabeth to navigate the treacherous waters of the court and rise to prominence as a warrior and diplomat. The book incorporates English, Irish, Belgian, Dutch, Spanish and French archival material, including a number of previously unexploited English sources such as Norreys's personal papers in the Bodleian Library. The life of Sir John Norreys is a tale of ambition, rivalry, corruption, violence and achievement typical of the nobility of the Elizabethan age, and provides a marvellous "grand tour" of western Europe in a time of budding imperialism, religious hatred, international intrigue and military innovation.
John Nolan is Lecturer, University of Maryland, European Division.
This book has begun the revision and rehabilitation of the Elizabethan military machine, although this is a military biography rather than a military history. What is also pleasing that it is such a readable and, on the whole, balanced account. This is a most enjoyable read that I would heartily recommend.
The Pike and Shot Society Journal, Vol. XXIV/II
Nolan comes into his own when dealing with both the economic and technical infrastructure of sixteenth-century military life ... The book is also full of case studies that will make enlightening reading for any student of military life in the sixteenth century.
Irish Historical Studies
About Norreys himself too little is known for this to be a conventional biography, a fact freely confessed by the author. However, there is enough information to depict Norreys as a hard-drinking, bad-tempered, hyper-sensitive, paranoid, prickly, awkward, quarrelsome, yet brave professional soldier who fought in the majority of Elizabeth’s land operations: the Netherlands, Ireland, Brittany, Portugal and the Armada Campaign in 1588. . . Dr Nolan has deepened our understanding of how the Elizabethan ‘army’ functioned whilst on campaign.
English Historical Review