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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 7 months ago by bernard

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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
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...
Published on 20 April 2011 by Roman Clodia


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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 (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Henry: Virtuous Prince (Paperback)
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
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markr - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Henry: Virtuous Prince (Paperback)
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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Poor, 18 April 2009
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Mr. D. Jones (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Henry: Virtuous Prince (Paperback)
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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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but mainly irritating, 11 July 2009
By 
I.F.Coyle (Bolton, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Henry: Virtuous Prince (Paperback)
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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41 of 54 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dissapointing, 13 Nov 2008
This review is from: Henry: Virtuous Prince (Hardcover)
I was really looking forwards to this book, I am an avid reader of anything to do with Tudor history and the wars of the roses and as there is relatively little written on the early years of Henry VIII I was keen to discover more about his personality, his friendships, his marriage, his life and what made him into the tyrant most people recognise him as. Starkey's introduction was promising, I was chomping at the bit to get into this book, but it never really got going for me. Maybe I have read too much on the subject and it was all old news to me, there were little nuggets but no real meaty information.
It is possible, of course, that there is no documented evidence other than what Starkey bought to his book, or that he did not want to make any inferences - he is an historian after all and not a novelist - but I just cannot help feeling that the reader doesn't really get an insight into the boy or the young man.
There is very little on his relationships with More or Catherine of Aragon, which I would consider pretty fundemental considering the parts they both played in his life and it would have been good to have had more of a background on this in order to appreciate the enormity his actions had on his own personality, not just the consequences for the country and the church.
Assuming that you are familiar with the backgound into which Henry VIII was born; the wars of the roses, Edward IV, Richard III, Henry VII and the other main players then you can cut out two thirds of the book. I wanted to know about the man, what made him tick, his passions, his personality, his friendships, his enemies, his lifestyle and just as Starkey got going the book ended. The reader gets little more than a glimpse of 'The Virtuous Prince'.
On the plus side it is an easy read, if you know little or nothing about Henry VIII's early life then go for it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars There are Better Books on This Subject, 6 Oct 2012
This review is from: Henry: Virtuous Prince (Paperback)
I had never read anything by Starkey and, after finishing this, I won't be reading anymore. I found it lacking in detail, short (I finished it in a night - large font made it a bulky book) and, to be honest, boring, boring, boring. As another reviewer states,they feel this book was published owing to Starkey's name, and I have to agree with them. Starkey left out much that I thought to be important, eg the princes in the tower were sketched over very lightly and we were not told whether Henry VII knew that they were dead and so knew Perkin Warbeck to be an imposter. I was flipping back and forward to remind myself exactly which earl of this or lord of that he was talking about which made for a confusing and irritating read. And the book suddenly ended with no build up to it which I found very disconcerting.The same period in history is written about in 'Winter King' by Thomas Penn, and there is no comparison between these two books. Penn's scholarly and superb book is pacy, jampacked with research yet an easy read and you want to carry on until the last page - when you regret it's ended. I'm afraid that I cannot say the same for Starkey's book. Alison Weir and her Tudor biographies also give Starkey's a run for their money and leave his standing. Very disappointed indeed
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but........, 20 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Henry: Virtuous Prince (Hardcover)
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.
I have read a number of Starkey's books about the Tudor period and one cannot fault his masterly way of presenting one of the most bloody and fascinating periods in British history.
In this first part of his biography of Henry VIII, Starkey covers the ground with skill, detail and a speed which makes this history book a veritable page-turner - but for those who find his personal interjections annoying, this book may be difficult to appreciate. This book covers the period up to the premonition of Wolsey's downfall and it certainly is a worthy book on his favourite subject. BUT, 'Henry: Virtuous Prince' was published in 2008 and it is now 2014 and other books by Dr Starkey have been written and published - where is the second part of this biography!? It is long overdue.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written, 13 Jan 2014
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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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Worth your time., 10 Sep 2013
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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 sections. Definitely worth reading if you wish to know more about this fascinating character.
A typically well written, deeply researched David Starkey piece.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A bit heavy, 12 May 2013
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A very useful reference book but a bit arduous. I had to make an effort to get to the end.
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