My 3-star review posted at Amazon.com:
***AN IMPORTANT BUT FLAWED ADDITION TO THE SHAKESPEARE AUTHORSHIP LITERATURE
Alexander Waugh’s Shakespeare in Court begins with a witty takedown of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s misleading claims and outright lies about their lucrative properties’ origins. I would give this part of the book five stars. However, while I enjoyed the author’s staunch defense of the anti-Stratfordian case and was amused by the court scenes, I believe his arguments suffer from a fatal flaw (as do Diana Price’s arguments in Shakespeare’s Unorthodox Biography): Waugh fails to mention (or too lightly dismisses) the strongest Stratfordian counter-arguments, and overstates the significance of some of his literary interpretations. As a result, his case against Shakespeare is too simplistic, and ignores or overlooks key evidence on the Stratfordian side. My own conviction is that William Shakespeare must be accepted as a legitimate playwright as well as an actor for the anti-Stratfordian cause to move forward. (I argued that William of Stratford was the main author of the ‘apocryphal’ Shakespeare plays and Shakespearean ‘bad quartos,’ as well as a front man for the true author, in my 2011 book The Apocryphal William Shakespeare.)
Although I criticize Waugh’s book for ignoring the strong evidence summarized below for William Shakespeare as both an actor and a playwright, to fall back on a common trope, “both sides do it.” Stratfordians almost always fail to address the anti-Stratfordians’ strongest arguments, such as the significance of Shakespeare’s knowledge of the law, Italy, the Italian language, the French language, Greek, people and incidents associated with the Elizabethan court, and so on. Shakespeare scholars have also ignored overlooked the definite existence of a major hidden poet during the 1590s. Furthermore, they have no adequate explanation for why nearly a dozen ‘apocryphal’ plays and some half-dozen bad quartos were attributed to William Shakespeare by his contemporaries and near-contemporaries, even though modern scholars don’t believe he wrote them.
Evidence largely ignored or overlooked in Alexander Waugh's Shakespeare in Court.