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Tudor: The Family Story [Kindle Edition]

Leanda de Lisle
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sunday Times bestseller

A Telegraph Book of the Year

A History Today Book of the Year

A BBC History Magazine Book of the Year

The Tudors are a national obsession; they are our most notorious family in history. But beyond the well-worn headlines is a family still more extraordinary than the one we thought we knew.

The Tudor canon typically starts with the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, before speeding on to Henry VIII and the Reformation. But this leaves out the family’s obscure Welsh origins; it passes by the courage of the pregnant thirteen-year-old girl who would help found the Tudor dynasty; and the childhood and painful exile of her son, the future Henry VII. It ignores the fact that the Tudors were shaped by their past – those parts they wished to remember and those they wished to forget.

With this background, Leanda de Lisle enables us to see the Tudors in their own terms and presents new perspectives and revelations on key figures and events, from the princes in the Tower to the Tudor Queens.

Tudor tells a family story like no other.

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"A wonderfully fluent portrait of five generations... de Lisle brings an entirely fresh feel to the Tudor story, reminding us of the one thing the monarchs themselves wanted us to forget: the sheer improbability of their royal rule" -- Dan Jones, author of The Plantagenets The Times (Saturday Review) "Violent, heady, glamorous stuff, this is popular history of a very superior sort" -- Lucy Worsley Country Life "In de Lisle's hands, this is a deeply human tale, a family tree come to vivid life, rather than a narrative of politics and power structures (Book of the Week)" -- Helen Castor Sunday Telegraph "One of the most interesting of today's historians, with her easy scholarship, fresh interpretation and presentation, Leanda De Lisle succeeds in casting a revealing light on what one had thought familiar. The pace never flags. Time and again she says something new in one of the most exciting and enjoyable books I have read for a long time." -- Desmond Seward History Today "For those wanting a more grown-up experience of the Tudor past, there are few better places to start the Leanda de Lisle's new study. Many have told this story before. What makes de Lisle's account so fresh is her decision to start her "family story" not in 1485. but three generations earlier. Rarely has [this] story been told as well as here" -- John Adamson Mail on Sunday

Book Description

Some of their past the Tudors wanted to remember, other parts they preferred to forget: a new history, a new story, the family behind the myths

Product details

More About the Author

I took a Master's degree in Modern History at Oxford University. Modern history begins in the seventh century at Oxford, so not as modern as some people might suppose! I then became a columnist for a number of high profile magazines and newspapers - the Spectator; Country Life; the Guardian amongst others. Some were funny columns, some serious. I soon returned to history, and I have spent the last ten years focussing on the Tudor and early Stuart period. I take time over my books - time to research and time to make that research as readable as possible. I hope I improve with each book. I live in a rural area with my husband of over twenty-five years and I have three sons - all of whom read history at university, although the youngest one read ancient history. We also have a huge brown labrador called Fitz. His full name is Fitz Pepsi - his father was called Pepsi and is still much missed. We don't own a cat, but we have a regular tortoiseshell visitor who stares at my husband in the garden as if he owns the place.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like the Tudors, you will LOVE this book! 18 Jan. 2015
Over the years I have indulged in numerous books covering Henry VIII, the War of the Roses (Lancasters vs. Yorks), Mary Queen of Scots, and the like. It is a remarkable period in English history that captures my interest and imagination.

Add to that list Tudor: The Family Story. As the cover quote from Julian Fellowes reads, "I couldn't put it down!" Truer words have never been spoken. I was deeply absorbed by it and looked forward to going to bed early so I could immerse myself in the thrilling world of court intrigue.

What I enjoyed best about this meaty tome was the straightforward approach to the writing style. It wasn't fluffed up with fictionalized conversations, or overly dramatic for the sake of being dramatic, but a non-fiction accounting of events as they unfolded. There was a huge amount of territory to cover between Owen Tudor and his descendant Elizabeth I but it moved swiftly without getting bogged down in minutiae. Personally, I find the years Henry VIII tried to annul his marriage to Katherine lengthy and a bit tedious but it didn't drag on here.

I appreciated the bird's eye view of the entire dynastic story and found it more fulfilling than the individual character accounts. Seeing how everything hung together and how events from earlier generations shaped outcomes later helped to clarify this entangled tale. It certainly was confusing at times, with so many individuals of similar names. This was where the family tree at the beginning of the book really paid off. I visited it and studied it carefully more times than I would care to admit. You will find it is worth its weight in gold.

I could go on and on with praise for this book. There simply were no negatives for me other than the fact that it had to end.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Leanda de Lisle's biography of Lady Jane Grey and her sisters Katherine and Mary is one of my favourite historical biographies and I loved this take on the well-trodden story of England's most famous ruling family. De Lisle's writing style is wonderful and her refusal to play favourites guarantees fair treatment for all. I'm sure it would be enjoyed by anyone interested in the Tudors or in those who simply enjoy a very well-written piece of non-fiction.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Familiar Story Well Told 16 Nov. 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Whilst much of the story of the Tudors was well known to me this book provides some fascinating insight and context to the period. would definitely recommend it to others.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for Tudorfiles 1 Dec. 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent history of the Tudor family. Leanda De Lisle gives a detailed accounting of each of the Tudors making sure to include fascinating details. I had often wondered about the Flodden aftermath, when Catherine was responsible for the death of her brother in law, James V. She includes letters of condolence to James's widow, Margaret, Henry's sister. Her description of Mary and Henry's parting conversation as she left to become queen of France is so vivid, you can picture it in your mind's eye. She has a sharp eye for details and sprinkles tidbits of information making the history become three dimensional and alive. This is entertaining history, a book to take time and savor while you read it.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Tudor book of this year 29 Sept. 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Brilliant, really brilliant. I've read everything and anything on the Tudors and this is the best this year. Loved it, well written and well researched. A must buy for any Tudor fan.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fresh perspective on the Tudors 25 Aug. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've read plenty of books on the Tudors but this one still contained plenty of things I didn't know. Me de Lisle comes at the story from a different angle and offers a fresh perspective, debunking myths as she goes. As usual her writing style is clear and entertaining. I couldn't put this book down, highly recommend.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History that is enthralling 27 Oct. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very well written historyof the Tudors....based on evidence, story flows along like a historical drama. Strongly recommended for history lovers.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really excellent read 3 Jan. 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The best of the many books I have read about this period. The author gives a lot of fascinating detail about the political situation and possible motivations of those involved. Written in a very accessible way, but obviously extremely well researched.
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