This book was on my reading list for History A level 45 years ago but I'm not sure that I ever read it. Reading it now, however, I can see that Elton's views, which may have been controversial at the time, crucially informed my history teachers!
It is a very upbeat history, particularly interesting in its judgment of Henry VIII.
The story of Henry VII is well told, the careful statemaker who established firm, even ruthless governance, succeeded by the 'Renaissance Prince' who wasted no time in overthrowing some of his father's carefully constructed policies.
Nevertheless, while revealing Henry's cruelties and his determination to sacrifice anyone and everyone in order to safeguard the realm and succession, remeniscent to me on a smaller scale of the attitudes of Mao and Stalin, it was under Henry that the future of British greatness was made possible.
He was not afraid to sever the connection with Rome, and to sacrifice his two great servants, Wolsey and Cromwell, when they became past their sell-by date.
He left England in chaos as although he knew his route he could not manage men like his servants, and the last years of his reign suffered in every respect except general direction. Crucially, Henry refused, a bit like Queen Anne 150 years later to come down on one or the other side of the great debate, which was at that time religion.
After his death Edward went one way and Mary the other, but Elizabeth picked up the reins just where Henry left them and consolidated all his achievements.
The account of Elizabeth's reign focuses on her maintainence of a steady path. Elton appears to criticise her vacillation and romantic swings of mood, whereas Alison Weir in her biography tends to see these as feminine wiles which enabled her to twist the courts of Europe round her ringless wedding finger.
There is a great chapter on Hawkins and Drake, and a moving one on the arts.
This book doesn't explain everything but it is very positive about the achievements of the Tudors, in a way that I feel would be quite unfashionable were it to be written now.