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This highly readable and objective account of the sailing of the Spanish Armada takes the reader into the background behind the action and provides a detailed analysis of what precipitated the disaster for the Spanish fleet. Beginning with an exploration of the relations between the Spanish and English thrones, and the wider European situation, the book discusses the inevitable slide towards war. The chief characters involved are assessed, as are contemporary ship designs and armament. The central part of the book is concerned with the story of the Armada itself: the journey towards England and the skirmishes in the Channel; the role of the individuals in the struggle; the fireships and the Battle of Gravelines; the problems of embarking the Duke of Parma's army; the terrible journey home of the Armada and the aftermath in England and Spain. Discoveries made by underwater archaeologists are also assessed. This is a vivid account of one of the most important events in England's naval history.