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England under the Tudors (A History of England) Unknown Binding – 1955


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Unknown Binding, 1955
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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 504 pages
  • Publisher: Methuen (1955)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0007ISP48
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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ON 22 August 1485 Henry, earl of Richmond, won one of the successive battles of the wars of the Roses near the Leicestershire township of Market Bosworth. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Gemma on 2 Oct. 2008
Format: Paperback
Prof Elton's book spans the entire Tudor period from the Battle of Bosworth to the death of Elizabeth I. The book's triumphant central theme is summed up in the last sentences: "The state was built anew, government restored and reformed, enterprise encouraged, faith rekindled. The good part survived, the bad past died...a new and greater England emerged from the day-to-day turmoil of life." In exploring this subject, Prof Elton devotes entire chapters to e.g. Thomas Wolsey, Thomas Cromwell and Elizabethan seapower. In contrast, the reigns of Edward VI and Mary are summed up, and dismissed, in 20 pages.

However, this book is a must read for anyone interested in, or studying the Tudors. Prof Elton's writing style is both readable and witty. He demonstrates a clear mastery and enthusiasm for his subject matter.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Feb. 2001
Format: Paperback
G.R Elton's overview of Tudor England has formed the basis of historical interpretation of the Tudor period for the last 30 years or so, and was generally accepted by all. However, his work has been picked apart and criticised recently by other historians such as John Guy and Peter Gwynn, who are attempting to "update" Elton's work. Yet a reading of this book will equip the reader with a thorough knowledge of the key events and figures of the Tudor period, and omits pointless and methodical source evaluation found in books by the likes of Guy. The book is interesting, involving and above all accurate in interpretation, and despite recent criticism has stood the test of time and is still as applicable and reliable as it ever was - in many places Elton's use of facts and rhetoric defy objection. Elton's vilification of Thomas Wolsey, and near canonization of Thomas More have been particular subjects of objection, yet make for educated and stimulating reading at least - the definitive (if only because the original) summary and portrayal of both characters, at most. The style is fluent and eloquent, and scholarly in approach, feeling more like a history lesson than interpretation or suggestion. Yet Elton's magisterial style, involving stories and structured argument makes for entertaining reading - this being the essential work of the Tudor period, even if the reader is "revisionist" in their leaning.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By conjunction on 10 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tricia258 on 30 May 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm doing some background reading prior to going to bible college to study theology. It's excellent background materiel and easy to follow the train of thought being presented.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Historian - 5 Stars; Publisher - 0 15 Jun. 2000
By Webster Lithgow - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Sir Geoffrey's is a great work, worth every minute spent reading it. One gains an understanding of the times, the society, the national and international politics, the economy, the religious issues -- and the fascinating Tudors and their administrators. A wonderful piece of work. Too bad the publisher Routledge packaged this masterpiece in a miserly volume meanly produced by The Guernsey Press. The type, which looks as though plates were made by photocopying some earlier printing, is like the fine print in a sales document -- so miniscule one must squint even in very good light. On many pages the text flows into the narrow gutters so that one must forcibly press the book open to make out what lies next to the binding. Because of the cheapness of the edition, reading it will be slow going for you, unless you do as I did: Force each two-page spread onto the flat bed of a photocopier, set the enlargement at 120%, and copy the text. Once I did that, the reading went smoothly. Shame on you, Routledge and Guernsey Press, for giving us such a fine work in such a shoddy presentation.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Entertaining and Comprehensive Survey 17 Nov. 2005
By A Cabbit - - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Direct, opinionated, sometimes even combative, Elton delivers a tour de force in historical survey. This book is a highly readable, meticulously researched, and thoroughly engaging review of the period from the beginning of the reign of Henry VII to the death of Elizabeth. As survey of English history during the time of the Tudors, you can't do much better than this book.

The character and accomplishments of each of the rulers stands out as a uniquely individual: Henry VII, the fiscally responsible monarch who established the Tudor claim to the throne and restored the monarchy to solvency; Henry VIII the religiously orthodox ruler who nonetheless broke with Rome and established the Church of England; Edward, the protestant fanatic who (fortunately?) did not live long enough to have much impact; Mary, sincere but of limited ability as a queen; and of course Elizabeth.

Elizabeth's portrait is perhaps the most interesting, since she reigned longest and cast such a huge shadow over the time. The view is a balanced one. Elton is not over-awed by his subject, as so many biogrpahers of Elizabeth seem to be. He acknowledges her political deftness and sure-fire judge of men's ability, without losing sight of her failings and personal weaknesses. Her fiery temper and vainty are not forgotten and not every decision she makes is hailed as correct - nor is she dismissed as being merely "lucky" for her entire 45 year reign, as the occassional critic of Elizabeth seems to imply.

The true hero of the work, however, is none of the monarchs, not even Henry VII whom Elton seems to think quite highly of. It is Thomas Cromwell, who essentially ran the government during the crucial years of Henry VIII's break with Rome. Elton credits him with "revolutionizing" the beauracracy of the country as well as guiding policy for the entire span of his service. Hea rgues that the revolution in Henry VII's time was guided primarily by Cromwell and merely "consolidated" under Elizabeth.

Along the way, other men of ability and position who influnenced the course of history are given time as well. There is the brilliant but ultimately unsuccessful Woolsey, who Elton believes set the stage for the collapse of support for Catholicism in England, William Cecil (later Lord Burghley), who was Elizabeth's chief minister and right hand man throughout most of her reign, and the tragically unstable Essex who was his own worst enemy, to name only a few.

A great introduction or refresher for those interested in learning more about a period that was crucial to the formation of the England that become the world's dominant power.
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Logically argued; beautifully expressed. 29 April 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Elton is the most dangerous of historians -- clear, logical and able to charm with his (sometimes) dry wit.
Although fair due is given to all the monarchs:
Henry VII is capable and prudent;
Henry VIII is less capable, less prudent and in above his head;
Edward VI is selfish and malleable (but he was young);
Mary is sincere and narrow (Here Elton makes one of the few unfair statements in the book. He says, truly enough I expect, that during "Bloody Mary's" reign fewer people were killed for the cause of religion or rebellion than under any other Tudor. This ignores the brevity of her reign and makes no allowance for what might have been if Catholicism had been forcibly reintroduced.);
Elizabeth is truly a great ruler;
...the real hero is Thomas Cromwell who, in engineering Henry's divorce, established England as a state ruled by law.
A wonderful book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Stirring Stuff 10 Jun. 2011
By conjunction - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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.
Five Stars 25 Dec. 2014
By Frances Wray-Carnes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Unknown Binding Verified Purchase
Good general history of the period, not for beginners, dense and detailed
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