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The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn: The Most Happy Paperback – 10 Jul 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; New edition edition (10 July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405134631
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405134637
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 3.8 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


"[Ives is] splendidly successful... Ives′s Boleyn, a portrait at all points supported by the evidence he gives, is clever, independent–minded and politically astute. Ives has gone as far as anyone can... in solving the enigma of Boleyn in a narrative at once profoundly researched and lively." Antonia Fraser, The Sunday Times

"Eric Ives has made it unnecessary for anyone else to even make the attempt [to write a biography of Anne Boleyn]. The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn is a stunning portrait of the most controversial woman ever to have been queen consort of England." The Independent on Sunday

"Eric Ives, a scholar utterly at home in early Tudor politics, has been writing about the Boleyns for more than two decades. His book represents a triumphant culmination of all that research, presented with clarity, wit and human sympathy." Diarmaid MacCulloch, The Telegraph

"Ives has written an excellent book on Anne Boleyn. Its great strength is its sophisticated understanding of aristocratic women′s involvement in 16th–century politics, and precisely how this worked in practice. ...Ives rises effectively to the human drama of Anne Boleyn′s life and in the process illuminates both the inner workings of the Tudor court and its relationship to the larger dramas of the Reformation and European politics." Jane Stevenson, Scotland on Sunday

"The best full–length life of Anne Boleyn and a monument to investigative scholarship." David Starkey

"Magnificently researched. Eric Ives has written the finest, most accurate study of Anne Boleyn we are ever likely to possess. He leaves no stone unturned in his quest to discover the truth. Never has the historical Anne been so satisfyingly portrayed." John Guy

"What is most exciting about The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn is not just that it has confirmed and solidified Ives′s earlier work and presented it in a more accessible format. (Like John Guy, Ives has discovered that the Starkey model really does work and that popularisation –– ′to place among the people′ –– should not be a term of opprobrium.) Rather, it is the development in methodology, the indication that cultural studies and the history of the book have provided us with new ways to evaluate evidence, to interpret the past." The Spectator

"Eric Ives achieves the notable feat of combining magisterial historical authority with a gripping style, and sets the reader′s mind buzzing with debate about the complex reasons behind the astounding events of Anne′s life." Times Literary Supplement

"[Ives] delicately pieces together a believable identity ... [and] gives, too, a lucid and coherent exposition of the circumstances that led to Anne′s death." The Guardian

"What Ives doesn′t know ... about the high politics and court life of Henry VIII′s England will either never be known or is not worth knowing. If there is a truth about Anne Boleyn′s rise and fall, he will tell it to us." London Review of Books

"There is no questioning the impact of Professor Eric Ives on the historiography of Tudor England. There is a keen sense of the evidence, of diplomatic affairs, of the minutiae of the record and its context. The writing is fluent and well–paced, drawing the reader along." The Tyndale Society Journal

"This is a moving and compelling account by an author who is the absolute master of his subject. I read it with great excitement and admiration." Susan Brigden, Lincoln College, Oxford

"Ives demonstrates triumphantly the potential of the biographical approach in a pre–modern setting. He evinces a deep empathy for his subject without ever becoming an apologist for her, and ... he provides a narrative which is genuinely moving. He has also given us a fully rounded and persuasive account of Anne s life as a whole, and its significance for understanding the politics and political culture of the early Tudor decades." Reviews in History

"The best book on Anne Boleyn ever written. This is a must for all lovers of Tudor history, academics and general readers alike." Alison Weir, BBC History Magazine Books of the Year

"Eric Ives has cut through the myths and misconceptions. The result surpasses all previous work.When Ives describes Anne herself. he is utterly convincing." Renaissance Quarterly

From the Back Cover

Anne Boleyn is the most notorious of England s queens, but more famous for her death as an adulterer than for her life. Henry s second wife and mother of Elizabeth I, Anne was the first English queen to be publicly executed. Yet what do we know of the achievements and the legacy of her short reign?

In The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn, Eric Ives provides the most detailed and convincing portrait we have of the queen. He reveals a person of intellect with a passion for the new culture of the Renaissance, a woman who made her way in a man s world by force of education and personality. She played a powerful and independent role in the faction–ridden court of Henry VIII and the unceasing struggle for royal favour that was Tudor politics. The consequences can still be detected today. Indeed, Ives shows that it was precisely because Anne was a powerful figure in her own right that it needed a coup to bring her down. She had to be stopped even by a lie.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
ANNE Boleyn was born, so tradition goes, at the fairy-tale castle of Hever in the Weald of Kent. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

103 of 107 people found the following review helpful By sfweston on 2 Aug. 2004
Format: Hardcover
Anne Boleyn is sometimes referred to as "that woman" by Tudor historians. She has "provoked trench warfare" amongst experts in the field and it is almost impossible to remain impartial to her story.
Professor E.W. Ives, the author, is an acknowledged expert in Tudor history - specialising on the Boleyns. His 1986 biography, "Anne Boleyn," became the standard work on Anne's life - and deservedly so. It provoked two historical responses - George Bernard's "The Fall of Anne Boleyn" (which was quickly discounted) and Professor Warnicke's controversial "The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn" - which challenged much of what Ives had said.
The new book is an updated version of the 1986 copy, with extra chapters elaborating on Anne's role at Court and incorporating all the new research on Anne Boleyn's life and times. Ives writes well and the book (although long) is witty, insightful and extremely well-researched.
While I don't agree with everything Ives says in this book - I tend to believe she was born around 1507, not 1501 as Ives suggests and I think his famous version of her fall from the throne is a little too "neat" - it's clear that this book is the best currently in print about Anne Boleyn's life and death.
Ives convincingly shows that Anne was one of the most important women ever to sit on the throne of England and that she was far from the wicked-witch of legend. His greatest achievement is his complex exploration of her religious views.
In the end this book got 5* because of Ives' research, writing style and well-argued case. No-one who is interested in any of the Boleyn children or the era of Henry VIII should miss this book. Carlsberg-style, it is, probably, the best biography of Anne Boleyn in the world.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Boleyn on 11 July 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The reviews here are enough to invite you to read this book, and I reinforce the good reviews, for in all what I have read about Anne Boleyn, this book has proven to be the most insightful. Based on facts, though supporting some, 'What if', narrative, Ives has brought to life the Tudor court and a love that both made Anne Boleyn and destroyed her. Most of us grow up thinking perhaps Anne was a sinful, wicked woman, but she proved to be ambitious, talanted, sympethetic to the poor, and many other things. She's a woman who you may not like, but who you can certainly admire. I found myself not entirely liking Anne, but not disliking her, which adds to the charm of the book - it's not biased. No one is good or bad, there is no black or white. Ives outlines Anne's charitable, kind nature, but also introduces the ambitious, sharp-tongued woman who would be queen, and would fight for her crown when a rival -Jane Seymour- appeared and when her life was at stake. This is indeed the mother of Queen Elizabeth I.

He also goes into the life of Henry and Cromwell, even Wosely. Again, he does not make Henry bad, nor good. Ives leaves it for us to judge, which I like. Now, I have read plenty of books about Henry VIII, and always they take to forcing the opinion that Henry was a bad man, a bad king. I agree of course, but I rather figure that out myself than being told. This is what Ives does; he shows me Henry as a person, as a king, and lets me judge.

It also introduces breifly Jane Seymour. Not a lot is known about her actually, and I always assumed since I was a young girl that she was a good, sincere woman. Though Ives by no means ruin that image for me, he opened up my eyes and revealed that even women like Jane were ambitious. He brings that out well in such a short time.
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70 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME on 21 Oct. 2004
Format: Hardcover
Eric Ives' book `The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn' is a must read for people interested in British history, the British Royal Family history, the history of the Tudor period, and particularly for those interested in one of the key figures around that most colourful of English kings, Henry VIII. Anne Boleyn's influence in court, which dominated state and church affairs at a critical moment in European affairs, is shown here, in addition to the personal strife that Anne Boleyn both caused for others (her rival for Henry's affections, Katherine, is but the least of these) as well as the strife she herself endured.
Ives contrasts Anne Boleyn with Katherine of Aragon in terms of overall worldviews that they represented - Anne being far more a child of the Renaissance, intellectually curious and passionate, independent and full of ideas; Katherine of Aragon was representative more of the `old order', which included a staunch piety and adherence to Roman Catholicism in principle and political loyalty. This contrast is in part why Ives can state with reasonable certainty that Anne Boleyn was the most controversial woman ever to have been a queen of England (which, given that she's up against the likes of Eleanor of Aquitaine, among others, is saying something). Part of this controversy stems from the sources historians have for details about her life; being a pivotal person in the Catholic/Protestant split during the Tudor and post-Tudor world, she was constantly reinterpreted, and rarely for the better. Even the glorious reign of her daughter, Elizabeth, did little resurrect her image in popular or short-term historical opinion.
Ives' writing is lively and full of passion, as befits his subject. Ives also introduces new interpretations and contexts to the events of the time.
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