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Henry VIII: Church, Court and Conflict Hardcover – 31 Mar 2007

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: The National Archives; 1st Edition edition (31 Mar. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903365996
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903365991
  • Product Dimensions: 16.7 x 2.6 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 258,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'a model of writing for a wide audience without distorting or dumbing down' BBC History magazine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

David Loades is a well-known and popular writer on Tudor history. His many works include biographies of leading Tudor personalities and a best-selling textbook, Politics and the Nation 1450-1660. For the National Archives he has written Mary Tudor: The Tragical History of the First Queen of England (2006) and Elizabeth I: The Golden Reign of Gloriana. His other interests include naval history (he is closely engaged with research on the Mary Rose, and has appeared in TV documentaries on the subject).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Graham James on 1 Nov. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book. It is written in a relaxed, but very accomplished and assured style with a good level of detail, at least for the most part; but perhaps slightly more hurried towards the end.

All historians will put their own spin on things and there is no shortage of spin here, in some cases being quite contrary to what I had learned hitherto (Henry's will and the shenanigins that followed it for example). Sometimes it felt like more than just spin with actual facts being at variance to what I had previously understood (Catherine Howard's sexual history for example).

There is a chapter on Ireland that struck me as having been an afterthought. Some of the detail is repeated later on and the repeated detail would have been enough on its own. This Irish chapter seemed quite out of place and could have been easily skipped.

It is not a book for someone taking their first steps into the period. A lot of knowledge is assumed. Characters and events often being referred to with no preamble or explanation as to who or what they were or when they occurred or why and how. This was fine, and I do not criticise it for that - but merely warn others that they could get a bit lost if they do not already know a good deal about Henry's reign.

I found three misprints which probably means there were a lot more. Is it that I am getting old or is my sense that books are not adequately proofed these days true?

I am just now starting on Loades's book on Mary and I am looking forward to it.
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By Zoet on 17 Jan. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am researching Henry VIII and was told this was a good book to have on my desk and it hasn't disappointed.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr David Lightfoot on 25 April 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
No problems, excellent, bought it for my mother, she is happy.
No problems, excellent, bought it for my mother, she is happy.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A masterwork of historical scholarship 13 Oct. 2009
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
He began as the a quintessential prince of the realm, the embodiment of what a future king should be -- athletic, handsome, articulate, courageous, devout, fun loving, charismatic, and intelligent. He ended his royal career as obese, vindictive, self-centered, feared, devious, cruel, and capricious. Along the way he forever altered England and the lives of its nobility and commoners alike. His fame and his infamy are simply legendary in their scope. It is also the subject matter in "Henry VIII: Court, Church, and Conflict" by historian and Tudor era authority David Loades (Professor Emeritus, University of Wales, and Associate of the Centre for Early Modern History, University of Oxford). Informed, informative, insightful, and a masterwork of historical scholarship, "Henry VII" is a fascinating and thoughtful descriptive analysis that is a welcome addition to community and academic library English History collections, and especially recommended reading to students of the Tudor era in general, and the reign of Henry VIII in particular.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A Topical History of Henry VIII 30 Aug. 2010
By Cynthia Hoelscher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book to be very interesting but slightly disjointed in that the author treated Henry's reign topically instead of cronologically. It could be that I've become addicted to cronological reviews, but the inevidable rehash of past events made me give the book a "4" instead of a "5." Otherwise, it was well documented and a fairly quick read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Detailed look at Henry VIII's life and reign 1 April 2013
By Sylwia S. Zupanec - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I have read many books authored by David Loades and this one is definitely my favourite because it covers absolutely everything about Henry VIII's reign. David Loades nicely combined the King's politics, military developments and private life, creating a very interesting and vibrant portrait of the 16th century England.

The book starts with discussing Henry VIII's family and background, his father's claim to the throne and victory at the battle of Bosworth, Henry's education and interesting details about his early life. The young Henry's character is extensively covered as well so we learn about his love for all kinds of sports, his intellectual pursuits and his passion for the tradition of courtly love. There are several chapters covering the wars during Henry VIII's reign so if you are looking for a political/military biography this most likely will be your cup of tea. If, from the other hand, you would like to learn more about Henry VIII as a person, you will find interesting chapters as well. Loades details Henry's relationship with his subsequent wives and discusses their impact on his character and politics.

David Loades has done a great job at bringing history to life in this detailed portrayal of Henry VIII's life and those that surrounded him during his reign. Mr. Loades provides the reader with a detailed examination of Henry VIII's life and the court organization through which he exercised power. The huge amount of primary and secondary sources is listed at the end of the book, so if you enjoy checking the sources for yourself, this book doesn't disappoint. There are a number of interesting illustrations as well.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Has nothing new to say, and appears to have been rushed out without adequate editing and proofreading 25 May 2011
By Judith Loriente - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is billed as a "major new biography of Henry VIII". New it is but major it is not. It contained nothing I had not read before, and is nowhere near in the league of Jasper Ridley's Henry VIII (Penguin Classic Biography) and J. J. Scarisbrick's Yale English Monarchs - Henry VIII (The English Monarchs Series).

Although the text is 349 pages, thirty (127-157) are taken up with black and white pictures, so that although the book is physically huge, it isn't really all that long. I got through it in two days, and was left feeling ... well, not quite that I'd wasted my money, but that I should probably have waited for the paperback, or for the library to get it. I didn't feel I had gained any new insights into a man who, as G. J. Meyer recently put it in The Tudors, is the most famous king in history.

The book is also inadequately edited. There was hardly a page in which I wasn't driven to pick up a pencil and add in a missing comma. The main problem was non-essential information not fully enclosed within commas, eg, "Henry had by this time about fifty warships of varying sizes, including several Great Ships, like the Henry Grace a Dieu and the Mary Rose which had recently been rebuilt and re-equipped with the latest guns" (p. 309). There should be a comma after "Mary Rose", since "like the Henry Grace a Dieu and the Mary Rose" is non-essential information.

There are also commas in just plain silly places, such as "According to this tale, for which there is no contemporary evidence, Stephen Gardiner and his conservative allies, were plotting against the evangelical Catherine" (p. 315). Why the comma before "were"?

There were also two cases of missing full stops at the end of sentences, and other typos, such as "it took some time to mobilises [sic] a response" (p. 251), "Even if she had been married immediately, their [sic] was no prospect of her bearing children for at least another six or seven years" (p. 183), "if civil strife was no [sic] be avoided, there was no alternative" (p. 344) and "that contemporary image should always be born [surely that's "borne"?] in mind" (p. 28).

There were also two factual errors so serious that I don't know how they could stem from someone who has written so many books about the Tudors. On p. 322 we have this one, about the poet Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey: "He was immensely proud of his royal ancestry, his grandmother Anne having been a daughter of Edward IV, and like the Duke of Buckingham, contemptuous of the `foul churls' whom the King chose to favour." Anne of York, a sister of Elizabeth of York, was the first wife of Surrey's father, the 3rd Duke of Norfolk. But Surrey's mother was Elizabeth Stafford, a daughter of the Duke of Buckingham who was beheaded in 1521, and to whom Loades refers here. Anne of York was thus not Surrey's grandmother, but his father's previous wife.

In the end notes (note 59) there's this: "Margaret Clifford was married to the Earl of Lennox and was the mother of Henry, Lord Darnley." Margaret Clifford was the daughter of Eleanor Brandon, the younger daughter of Henry VIII's sister Mary. And as anyone reasonably familiar with the Tudor age knows, Lord Darnley was the son of Margaret Douglas - daughter of Henry VIII's elder sister Margaret, by her second husband Archibald Douglas.

Shortly before reading this book I read A.F. Pollard's 1902 biography of Henry VIII. It contained some minor factual errors, such as writing that Anne Boleyn's mother, not paternal grandmother, was a daughter of the Earl of Ormonde, and that Margaret of York was the mother of her stepdaughter Mary of Burgundy. Yet I was somehow able to overlook them, since I enjoyed the rest of the book so much. The Conclusion, in particular, showed an extraordinary understanding of Henry VIII's style of governing, his comprehension of his people's needs and wants, and how even his brutality may have done some good by preventing an outbreak of the religious wars that plagued the rest of Europe. I felt that I had finally grasped how Henry VIII managed to be such a tyrant yet die safely in his bed, respected, if no longer exactly beloved, by his people.

This biography of Henry VIII provided no such enlightenment. I didn't feel I had wasted two days, but I read nothing I had not read before, and gained no new insights into the age or into Henry's character. And the persistent typos really irritated me, particularly since if publishers are going to charge twenty-five pounds for a book about the Tudors - which will automatically sell well - they can easily afford to spend a few hundred pounds on a proofreader.

If you don't feel cheated when you pay for books with poor editing and typos, maybe go for it. If not, wait for the paperback - and hope the publisher pays a proofreader to clean it up.
Great book 30 Dec. 2013
By Barbara Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had enjoyed reading about Henry VIII. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested reading about
Henry VIII. Four stars!
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