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Henry VIII: The Life and Rule of England's Nero [Hardcover]

John Matusiak
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Aug 2013
This compelling new account of Henry VIII is by no means yet another history of the ‘old monster’ and his reign. The ‘monster’ displayed here is, at the very least, a newer type, more beset by anxieties and insecurities, and more tightly surrounded by those who equated loyalty with fear, self-interest and blind obedience. This ground-breaking book also demonstrates that Henry VIII’s priorities were always primarily martial rather than marital, and accepts neither the necessity of his all-consuming quest for a male heir nor his need ultimately to sever ties with Rome. As the story unfolds, Henry’s predicaments prove largely of his own making, the paths he chooses neither the only nor the best available. For Henry VIII was not only a bad man, but also a bad ruler who failed to achieve his aims and blighted the reigns of his two immediate successors. Five hundred years after he ascended the throne, the reputation of England’s best known king is being rehabilitated and subtly sanitized. Yet Tudor historian John Matusiak paints a colourful and absorbingly intimate portrait of a man wholly unfit for power.

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Henry VIII: The Life and Rule of England's Nero + Thomas Cromwell: Servant to Henry VIII
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (1 Aug 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752497073
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752497075
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.7 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 184,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Excellent throughout, an acid-etched and bracingly caustic examination of Henry s reign that for once doesn t waste readers time with endless petticoat-obsessions about the infamous six wives. Matusiak has bigger fish to fry than mere serial wiving; his central contention is that Henry would still have been a deplorable ruler even if he d been as chaste as the Virgin Mary. He indicts Henry on professional grounds, as a bad king. --Steve Donoghue Writer for Open Letters Monthly and The Washington Post

About the Author

John Matusiak is a frequent contributor to 'History Review' and 'History Today', and is the author of 'Henry V'.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a superb book, not only for the fresh take on the reign of Henry VIII, but the writing style makes it easy to read and hard to put down.

The narrative guides you through Henry's life, building stories around the key characters and getting across the key information and arguments in a delightfully easy-to-understand way. As someone who has studied this period extensively, it gave a new perspective and challenged my thinking, whilst being thoroughly enjoyable to read at the same time.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening 6 Nov 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Waterstones had this book on their shelves just one hour when I fell for it. John Matusiak has a great way of getting the facts others seem to have missed, and he presents them in a way that is convincing. You will not to want to put this book down, and if you are an expert on this period you will still be wiser after you have read it.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A balanced biography about this king. He was popular to begin with but once he put Queen Catherine aside in favour of Anne Boleyn, broke with the Roman Church and introduced contoversial laws, his popularity plummeted. But Henry carried on regardless. He had no interest in popularity. To get his own way, he became a tyrant and especially those at Court, feared for their own lives.

The book at the beginning talks about the his battles in France. But then later at home, he becomes entangled with the problem of begetting a son and heir. A woman had yet to become Queen and reign in her own right. In fact Henry's own mother, Elizabeth of York was in reality an heir once her brothers. the 'Princes in the Tower' disappeared from view, especially after their uncle, King Richard's death and the new king repealed the act that had made Edward IV's children illegitimate.

Unlike some of this king's biographers, the author is not afraid to point out his tyrannical rule in the last years of his reign.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Henry - a fresh view 16 Mar 2014
By marian
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A most enjoyable and fascinating read - absolutely packed with historical detail and convincing interpretations. The beautiful prose style carries one forward - I thoroughly recommend this erudite and challenging view of arguably England's most famous king.
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3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars cracking service 16 Sep 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
bought this for my mum for xmas as she loves that kinda thing.Ordered one day arrived the next .Heard it advertised on radio and saved £7 on high st prices
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