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Reign Of Henry VIII: The Personalities and Politics Paperback – 3 Oct 2002


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Reign Of Henry VIII: The Personalities and Politics + Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII + Elizabeth: Apprenticeship
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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (3 Oct. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099445107
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099445104
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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Review

"Starkey has the mind of an historian but the eye of a court painter" (Peter Ackroyd The Times)

"To anyone who can savour the atmosphere of high politics, this book will make exciting reading" (Conrad Russell)

"Starkey's great innovation as a constitutional historian has been his readiness to take a closer look at the organisation of the early modern royal household" (Times Literary Supplement)

"To anyone who savours the atmosphere of high politics, this book will make exciting reading" (Conrad Russell)

"David Starkey brings to the task not only a mastery of institutional framework...but also skills in graphic delineation of character and an exuberant narrative panache" (R. A. Houlbrooke)

Book Description

David Starkey's brilliant overview of the great game of politics, over which Henry VIII presided.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A. Warmington on 13 July 2009
Format: Paperback
This is definitely not the book for anyone who does not know the chronology of Henry VIII's reign, or for anyone just wanting the six wives story, or indeed much about the English Reformation. Nor is it much of a biography of the old monster himself.

Where it does score highly is in bringing out why faction was such a crucial element in the politics of the reign and how different people used different offices and positions within the court of a paranoid tyrant who was fundamentally a coward to advance personal and political agendas at different times. The ebb and flow is fascinating if gruelling to read.

Unlike another reviewer, the impression I took away is that Thomas Cromwell destroyed Anne Boleyn because he knew the King wanted rid of her and had to take charge of the process lest the noble/conservative faction used her downfall to carry him and his whole programme away with her. He was no more ruthless or bloodstained than anyone else in the carnage of the 1530s, just more skilled. Not that it saved him when his own time came.

Starkey, I think, might have done more to explain why, uniquely among all ages, the reign of Henry VIII was a time when to lose at politics almost always meant death.

During the reign, by my count, 23 courtiers or ministers were put to death for treason. Of these, only Bishop John Fisher (who called for Spain to invade England) was definitely guilty as charged and, by the standards of the day, Catherine Howard, her lovers and Lady Rochford who aided her might be added to the list. Why did five palpably innocent men have to die to be rid of Anne Boleyn? Even on the most cynical reading, surely one would have done. And what did living in this world do the psyche of courtiers? Now that would make an interesting book.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By S. Pentney on 11 July 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoy the author's TV programs about the lives of the English Kings and Queens. I thought I would give his books a try as there would be more information in them than can be put onto a short program. I was right. There is much information about the King from birth to death and all written in the same manner you can hear him speaking as he does on TV. A little strange at first to read and hear his voice in your mind but then he is very listenable on TV, very easy to read his written word.
It seems to be well reasearched, logically presented yet with an ease to allow the ordinary man to read it and enjoy it. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys his TV programs or who would like to read a history which is both fun to read and full of little facts to brighten the day. All the drama of his life is captured. It is hard to think how much his life has affected everything we do and believe in today and yet it is all there to see. David Starkey has also included a number of photos to enhance the book. I would recommend this to anyone with any interest in the subject and would recommend the author as I have read his much longer work on Elizabeth.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By globerose on 15 July 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an essential absolutely must have addition to your book-list on Tudor history and it is just a dream to read. Dr Starkey makes history pleasurable! It's got everything you need to know to create a working model of Henry VIII's court in your head. It's that good!
Do get a copy and enjoy! You will.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By nicholas on 19 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
David Starkey manages to keep a complex story very clear in a readable and entertaining way. I would have liked a little more on Anne Boleyn as the most interesting of the 6 wives as well as a bit more colour on Henry's interactions with Charles V and Francois Ist of France.
What I liked is his analysis of how the court worked in factions and how the key element was to get the King's ear. Henry is often portrayed as cruel, which he was, but the book makes clear that those around him were not any better.
Overall an excellent introduction, because it is a short book, that explains very well the institutional circumstances of his reign.
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