I wanted a straightforward biography of William Shakespeare to help me better understand his works. This book is a tome. I wouldn't mind the book's length. Many of my favorites biographies - Ron Chernow's Hamilton and The Titan, Robert Massie's Peter the Great - are over 700 pages long. Though well-written and researched, Mr. Ackroyd's tome is more a history on Shakespeare's England than on Shakespeare himself. Any mention of Shakespeare, his works or his family seem to be incidental touchstones for another topic of British history.
If you want a story of England at the time of Shakespeare, this is ok. If, like me, you want a biography focusing on the Bard, look somewhere else.
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