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The Children of Henry VIII Hardcover – 25 Apr 2013

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; First Edition edition (25 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192840908
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192840905
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 1.8 x 14.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 75,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

John Guy is a Fellow of Clare College, University of Cambridge, and also teaches on the Yale in London programme at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. He read history at Cambridge and has held academic positions in Britain and the United States throughout his career, specializing mainly in the Tudor period. He is recognised as one of Britain's most exciting historical biographers, bringing the past to life with the written word and on the broadcast media with accomplished ease. He aims for first-class storytelling and for books that read as thrillingly as a detective story. His bestselling books include A Daughter's Love: Thomas and Margaret More, Thomas Becket: Warrior, Priest, Rebel, Victim: A 900-Year-Old Story Retold, The Children of Henry VIII, and 'My Heart is My Own': the Life of Mary Queen of Scots (in USA published as Queen of Scots), which won the Whitbread Biography Award, Marsh Biography Award and was a Finalist for the National Book Critics' Circle (USA) Biography/Autobiography of the Year Award. Books for students include The Tudors: A Very Short Introduction, Tudor England, Cardinal Wolsey: A Students' Guide, The Tudor Monarchy (edited), and The Reign of Elizabeth I: Court and Culture in the Last Decade (edited). He appears regularly on BBC radio and has presented five documentaries for BBC2 tv. A Daughter's Love was adapted as a documentary for BBC4 tv. He also writes for national newspapers and magazines, including The Sunday Times and The Literary Review.

Product Description


John Guy is that rare cross: a scholar who also writes for the popular market. It shows here, as he sketches with verve and fluency the education and the beliefs, as well as, briefly, the reigns of these last Tudors. But where he excels is in illuminating the relationships between the squabbling siblings. They say if you've got lemons, make lemonade, and in Guy's hands the story of (Literary Review)

[A] smart, lively little book enriched by the reliable pleasure of Guy's prose, his pen dancing as deftly about his compact historical portraits as Horenbout's brush once did over his stunning miniatures. (The Sunday Times)

Guy, whose prose is commendably readable, has a real gift for bringing Tudor history to life for 21st-century readers. (The Independent on Sunday)

This may be a well known story, but Guy presents it with typical narrative flair and attention to detail, producing a book with obvious appeal. (BBC History Magazine)

With the panache for which Guy's work has become known, (Times Literary Supplement)

The stunning psychodrama that was the Tudor court is brilliantly evoked in John Guy's little book (The Lady)

Well-written, well-researched and a lot of fun. (The Glasgow Herald)

About the Author

John Guy is a Fellow of Clare College, University of Cambridge. His books include the bestselling

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By FictionFan TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 13 Mar 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I first encountered John Guy through his wonderful biography of Thomas Becket and I give him the credit for re-awakening my interest in reading history after a lengthy gap. As well as being a first-rate historian, he has the true skill of the storyteller, managing to turn his thorough and extensive research into an accessible and enjoyable read for the non-academic. In this book he tackles the subject of Henry VIII's struggle to produce an heir who could ensure the continuance of his dynasty. This is very much a personal history of the children, though because of their positions as potential heirs, there is also much about the politics of the time, particularly the religious machinations of this divided family.

Guy goes into considerable depth about the children's early years telling us who was given charge of their upbringing and education. He describes the differences in education of the males, Edward and Henry Fitzroy, to the females, Mary and Elizabeth; showing that the boys were trained in those skills which were deemed necessary in a king, such as the ability to give public speeches, while the girls were restricted to moral and religious works, on the basis laid down by the scholar Vives that a woman should hear and speak only 'what pertains to the fear of God'. However, he also produces some evidence to show that the girls' friends and supporters may have found ways to supplement these restrictions.

Guy also shows Henry's inconsistent treatment of his children, first humiliating Mary by raising the prospect of the illegitimate Fitzroy as heir, then by making her play second fiddle to Elizabeth during Anne Boleyn's short reign.
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By Uncle Barbar TOP 100 REVIEWER on 14 July 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Like other readers I am a huge fan of John Guy - having read his "Tudor England" (a must read) and his book on Thomas Becket (a 5-star fabulous read if you are into this period) and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book on Henry's children - Guy writes is lucid, concise and very articulate. He gets to the nub of each issue without a lot of waffle. However, the book covers around 100 years (from the death of Henry's elder brother Arthur in 1502) to the death of Elizabeth I in 1603 and so it fair whizzes through events at times.

What I did particularly like with this book is its fair treatment of all of the characters involved - each child whether it is Henry's"base-born" son Henry Fitzroy, his protestant children Edward and Elizabeth or his Catholic child Mary, Guy is even-handed with them all - not that he tries to white-wash any of them - just that I felt he had dealt with them carefully and fairly.

All in all a great introduction to Henry's children - and there are plenty of good non-fiction books on them all if you want to delve further - I am about to start the book by Beverly Murphy on Henry Fitzroy for instance which I am assured is a cracking read.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tudor Student on 30 April 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been an admirer of John Guy for a long time and was delighted to learn that he was bringing out a book on the Tudors ~ my specialist period. I have his other books and greatly admired them for their detailed scholarship and how well they are crafted. Sadly, his latest offering is not, in my opinion, of the same calibre.

On the positive side, it is very well written {could anything by Guy be otherwise?} and easy to read. If you knew very little about the Tudors and wanted to learn more, then this would be an excellent place to begin, especially as it has a lot of detail to make Henry's children 'come alive'.

However, being a short book, it lacks detail and I have to say I learned very little I didn't already know. {However,I have to admit this is my specialist period.} It tends to follow a 'broad sweep' and omits a lot of political details. I have noticed that a certain publisher's authors follow this path but was surprised that an academic historian like John Guy should do so.

In brief, if you want a well written, fairly simple account of the Tudors from Henry VIII's reign then get this book. If you already know a lot about the period, I advise you to ignore it or borrow it from the library.
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Format: Paperback
Interesting and readable history of the offspring of Henry VIII. Henry Fitzroy, his illegitimate son from Elizabeth Blount gets a nice accounting here. To Katherine's dismay, Guy shows Henry's careful plotting to groom his bastard with perhaps kingship in mind. Guy goes deeply into all the children's education and offers up tidbits of information to humanize his subjects. Each child is thoroughly discussed, from their handwriting to their choice of clothing and by the end of the book you feel like you got to know them just a bit. Each one of the offspring are canny and well skilled to navigate the treacherous courts. Guy explains how they were taken early from their mothers to live in courts of their own, with hand picked courtiers to shape their young minds. Guy backs up their personalities with documents in their own hand. He discusses their mothers impact while they lived, and life for them after they died. He then delves into the relationships with stepmother's as well. This book gives us a nice peek into Tudor history and the people who defined it. This was an entertaining book about the children of Henry the VIII and an enjoyable read.
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