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Henry: Virtuous Prince [Kindle Edition]

David Starkey
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £12.99
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Book Description

Bestselling royal historian David Starkey’s captivating biography is a radical re-evaluation of Henry VIII, the British monarchy’s most enduring icon.

Larger than life in every sense, Henry VIII was Britain’s most absolute monarch – but he was not born to rule. In this brilliantly readable history, David Starkey follows the promising young prince – a Renaissance man of exceptional musical and athletic talent – as he is thrust into the limelight after the death of his elder brother. His subsequent quest for fame was as obsessive as that of any modern celebrity, and his yearning for a male heir drove him into dangerous territory.

The culmination of a lifetime’s research, David Starkey’s biography is an unforgettable portrait of the man behind the controversies, the prince turned tyrant who continues to tower over history.

Product Description


'Starkey is a wonderfully lucid writer.' Independent 'Starkey has the mind of an historian but the eye of a court painter.' Peter Ackroyd, The Times Praise for 'Monarchy' (HB): 'Excellent!the really crucial events in the history of the British Monarchy since the Middle Ages are assessed with authority, wisdom and wit!This is Starkey at his fluent and entertaining best.' Sunday Telegraph 'This book!is vivid, lucid and engaging!his judgements delivered with quasi-Pontifical assurance are often acute!a very enjoyable book.' Daily Telegraph 'David Starkey tours England's monarchical horizon with gusto.' Sunday Times


'Starkey has the mind of an historian but the eye of a court painter.'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 637 KB
  • Print Length: 437 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0007247710
  • Publisher: HarperPress (4 Dec. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9ZYU
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #57,961 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Dr David Starkey is Bye Fellow of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. He is a winner of the W.H.Smith Prize for Biography (for Elizabeth) and the Norton Medlicott Medal for Service to History presented by the Historical Association.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Breezy and easy to read but lacks detail and focus 20 April 2011
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you know little about the War of the Roses and the emergence of the Tudors then this is a good place to start. Starkey writes here in an easy, conversational style as he takes us through the historical background and the reign of Henry VII.

However, if you have anything more than a passing acquaintance with the Tudors, this book adds hardly anything to the picture. The childhood and adolescence of Henry VIII which is promised by the book only happens at a fairly distant and undetailed way. Henry's marriage to Catherine gets little more than a brief chapter, and his male friendships not that much more.

One sexual liaison is referred to, Wolsey is introduced - and then the book ends.

I found Starkey's 'speak to the camera' style rather coy and irritating - he has a continual verbal tick where he ends a paragraph with a statement ("it looked like becoming a Howard family preserve"), leaves us hanging for a beat, then kicks off the next paragraph with a refutation of what he's just said ("Or it would have done if it had not been for Henry"). His alternative is to ask a question to which we all know the answer e.g. "But would he love her [Catherine of Aragon] always?" This tended, in my eyes, to give the narrative a rather amateur tone as the author tips us the nod and wink, and we all have a little snigger.

So if you're looking for a popular history which doesn't concern itself with scholarly arguments or too much detail, then this will probably suit admirably. But if you want something either more sophisticated in terms of history writing, or with precise detail, then this might well be a disappointment. Consider it a TV documentary in book form, and you'll have a pretty good idea of what it consists.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars surprisingly light - but enjoyable enough 15 April 2012
By markr TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a very easily read book, written almost conversationally. As other reviewers have noted Starkey frequently asks rhetorical questions, particularly at the end of chapters, and finishes chapters with dramatic, almost cliff hanging, teasing statements. For example as the last line of a chapter Starkey writes rather dramatically ' Henry never saw his brother again' and later 'was Henry's boyish behaviour starting to become a strain for Catherine. or was it all part of the charm?'

So whilst this is light, enjoyable and easy reading, it does rather render Tudor History as soap opera. I was disappointed having read and hugely enjoyed Starkey's magnificent Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII. However, the book does give a flavour of the times and of Henry's early life and kingship, and the potential which was seen in him to be a great Prince and King.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Poor 18 April 2009
I have the utmost respect for David Starkey. I really enjoy his TV shows and have read other of his books. I purchased this in hardback and was immediately shocked and felt slightly conned at the lack of text on each page. The font is set well in and is bigger than you would find than in a Weir or Gregory offering. I read this book on the back of a number of other Henry books namely 'The Six Wives of Henry viii' by Weir and also Frasers same offering. In my opinion Starkeys work does not come anywhere near the standard offered by these two. I honestly believe Mr Starkeys name alone got this book printed. Whislt it is informative, it is too short and it lacks alot of the depth I picked up from other similar works. Such a shame....
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacking the "real" prince. 21 Feb. 2015
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
At the height of my obsession with Tudors, I picked up the "Virtuous Prince" hungry for details of Henry VIII's early life. I read it a while ago and was just looking for more books on the subject, remembering that from this particular book I still recall the chapters on the War of Roses and establishment of the Tudors, yet very little about the young [spare] prince himself. Dynastic background, historical details and politics overshadowed Henry VIII as a real person. The book felt very stiff and a bit confusing. And lacking, simply lacking any emotional involvement.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but mainly irritating 11 July 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I usually do enjoy Starkey's work, but the style and presentation here seems to be "history as written by tabloid journalist".
Short punchy paragraphs, sections and chapters which are occasionally scholarly, but often little more than a string of interesting anectodes which seem to add little to the sum of human knowledge about his subject, He does seem very concerned that the reader is incapable of sustaining concentration over anything more than two or three pages.
Most irritating of all though is the knowing question marks at the end of many sections:
"Would they fight together against the upstart Tudors?"

"Wisdom, love or hunting...Which would it be?"

Did Henry reflect a little wryly that he could not even initiate his coronation on his own authority?"

I found myself waiting for each "section question" and every time seeing the image of Dr Starkey leaning towards the camera, perhaps knowingly tapping the side of his nose and winking while I scream back..."That's not history its pure speculation!"

..and that's probably my problem with the book, its a telly script re-packaged as a book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A refreshing take on Henry VIII 31 Dec. 2011
Having not viewed the television series which more or less accompanied this book, my first impressions of this book was that it was a refreshing take on Henry VIII. Starkey rightly perceives that public imagination on the subject of Henry VIII associate him as the obese, tyrannical wife-killing monarch. The book ends before reaching Henry's middle age such as his troubles with the divorce of his first marriage and subsequent re-marriages but that is the whole point of this book.
As I understand it, this is not a complete biography of Henry's life but a biography of his early years which preceeded the strifes of his later years, and the contrast between Henry as a young man and the more conventional image of him could not be greater.

The book focuses on the precursors to the circumstances of Henry VIII's early life such as the War of the Roses, the Battle of Bosworth and the understandable insecurity and vulnerability which Henry VII felt as a ruler, his attachment to his mother and residual family, the advent of Perkin Warbeck and the death of his brother which would place him firmly within the grasp of power.

Starkey explores Henry's relationship with his family in fascinating depth and in a witty and humorous manner. For instance, his relationship with his father following the death of Arthur is particularly interesting, with Henry VII keeping a very closeted and close eye on him - literally, much in the same vein as a highly overprotective mother and it is little wonder therefore that Henry celebrated his new found freedom with such enthusiasm, finding expression most commonly, at the jousts.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than I expected.
Normally I find David Starkey intensely irritating. His grating voice and pretentiously supercilious delivery on TV make me reach for the "off" button. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Addictive Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Like the writing style and easy to read
a really detailed account of Henry as expected. Like the writing style and easy to read. Item arrived in reasonable order except for plastic peeling on cover. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. J. Bray
5.0 out of 5 stars so enjoyable!
Absolutely amazing and impeccably written, I am enjoying very much!
Published 1 month ago by I love tweed
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by lottie Lewis
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A good purchase
Published 5 months ago by hilary b
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very very pleased wih book and service
Published 7 months ago by alan penn
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but........
David Starkey is one of those characters that you either admire or loathe and it certainly comes through in his writing and particularly this book. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Loverofbooks
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written
A very well written book by David Starkey. I have seen him on the TV doing various History programs and this book is as detailed as his other studies.
Published 15 months ago by bernard
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth your time.
4 stars because I really enjoyed reading this book with all the insight and detailed information. Occasionally repeating or confusing ,I had on occasion to go back and reread some... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Mrs g Kent
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit heavy
A very useful reference book but a bit arduous. I had to make an effort to get to the end.
Published 24 months ago by Mrs Claudette Flint
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