Customer Reviews


30 Reviews
5 star:
 (11)
4 star:
 (15)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Some are born great..."
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...
Published 17 months ago by FictionFan

versus
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A virtual overview of the Tudors
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...
Published 16 months ago by Tudor Student


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Some are born great...", 13 Mar 2013
By 
FictionFan (Kirkintilloch, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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. The declaration of both his daughters as illegitimate, his treatment of their mothers and the way he brought them in and out of favour depending on who was Queen at the time impacted heavily on both, as did his will declaring that they could only marry with the agreement of the counsellors he appointed before his death. But with the early death of Fitzroy, Henry was eventually forced to accept the rights of both his daughters to be in the line of succession in the event that Edward should die childless.

Although most of the book is about the children's early years, Guy finishes with a fairly quick romp through each reign, again concentrating more on the personal than the political except where they were intertwined. He points out that Henry's tragedy remains that, for all his efforts to secure his dynasty, none of his children produced heirs, so that on the death of Elizabeth in 1603 the Tudor era came to an end.

As always with Guy's books, this one is very well written and a pleasure to read. There may not be much new here but the format Guy has chosen lets us see the family dynamics more than biographies of the individuals usually do. I felt the adult years were somewhat rushed and really only there to take the book to a conclusion, and I felt Guy surprisingly let Elizabeth off the hook very easily on the subject of the suppression of the Catholics during her reign (for more of which I recommend John Cooper's biography of Walsingham, The Queen's Agent). But I enjoyed the detailed look at the childhood of these major figures in English history and heartily recommend this book to anyone interested in the Tudor period.

NB This book was provided for review by the publisher via NetGalley.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A virtual overview of the Tudors, 30 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Children of Henry VIII (Hardcover)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quick and easy to read history of Henry and his children., 22 Jun 2013
By 
JK "Julie K." (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Children of Henry VIII (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A short overview of the Tudor dynasty at the time of Henry VIII. I'm surprised at how short the book is. Only pages 12 - 198 concern themselves with telling the tale with the rest of the book given over to referencing, prologue, etc.

Having said that, I do like John Guy's writing style. From the opening chapters concerning the birth and death of Henry's baby son I was captivated by the attention to detail and recreation of the Tudor court with all of it's pomp, ritual and ceremony. Guy does a good job of setting the scene and explaining much of the political and religious climate of the era in a way that's entertaining and accessible.

The first half of the book outlines the life of Henry VIII and moves through his marriages to introduce the children he 'recognised' as having any claim to the throne. Only four of them survived beyond infancy; Mary 1, Elizabeth 1, Henry Fitzroy and Edward VI. A chain of lost pregnancy and infant mortality led inevitably to a woman taking the throne of England and the book closes with the death of the unmarried, childless, Elizabeth I as the Tudor dynasty draws it's last breath.

Do I have a negative? The Children of Henry VIII focuses mostly on Henry VIII and the early years of his children. Their later lives, reigns, which were full of incident, seemed a little rushed.

I mostly enjoyed this book, it's a quick and easy read, and took little time to finish.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A whistlestop tour, 5 May 2014
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Children of Henry VIII (Hardcover)
Henry VIII had three legitimate children plus one illegitimate son whom he publicly acknowledged. The stories of each are well-known and have been covered in depth in many studies. This slim volume show have each interacted with the other and highlights the privileges and dangers of being a royal child in the 16th century.

Henry Fitzroy was illegitimate but acknowledged and brought up with luxury and expense until his untimely death. Edward was a spoilt and weak boy, Guy describes his cruelty. Whilst nominally ruler, he was the puppet of his council. Mary was the sole daughter of Henry's first marriage and suffered humiliation and deprivation as her mother was rejected and she was disinherited. Old when she came to the throne, Guy sheds new light on her 'phantom' pregnancies and her loveless marriage. Elizabeth was clever but wilful, she spent her youth politicking and avoiding implication in plot after plot. Finally she succeeded to the throne and had a long reign.

This is not a long, detailed study. It is a short read and no less enjoyable for that.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Fascintaing, 17 Oct 2013
By 
Vicki @ Cosy Books - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Children of Henry VIII (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I recently developed a bit of an obsession or keen interest in the tudors, and with very little previous knowledge I found this book interesting and accessible. I'm generally not a big reader of non-fiction, but I thoroughly enjoyed dipping in and out of this book and certainly felt I'd gained a clearer understanding and knowledge of the time, as well as this infamous family. I notice some reviewers with an in depth knowledge of this era felt it added nothing new, however I would happily to recommend it to those, like me, are relatively new to the period as well as historical non-fiction.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Account of the Lives of Henry's Children, 2 Oct 2013
By 
Kerry M (Gold Coast, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Children of Henry VIII (Hardcover)
This book is a well written factual account of the one of history's most notable families, the Tudors. What is interesting about his book is that it is more about the personal lives and the family dynamics of Henry VIII and his family rather than a focus on the political and religious sentiment. Don't get me wrong, its still there but more in terms of how the particular views of the time impacted upon each of the children. For example, the view of educating women at the time meant that Mary and Elizabeth had very different educations to that of Edward and Henry Fitzroy. The attention to small details, such as the differences in handwriting styles of the children is also interesting.

Henry's inconsistent treatment of his children is also very much a focus of this book. How they were treated depended on whether their mothers were in favour (or not) at the time and this changed constantly. But that was Henry all over - he was a very fickle man. Although most of the book is about the children's early years, there is a birds eye view of each reign, again concentrating more on their personal lives.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars The Lion's Cubs, 19 Sep 2013
By 
Withnail67 (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Children of Henry VIII (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
How often can you tell the same story again and again? Haven't we tired of the Tudors? Isn't the shiny codpiece of Henry VIII's ceremonial armour polished enough? Well, no, not when your guide has the sure touch of John Guy, returning to his home period here after a successful visit to the Anglo-Norman milieu of Becket. Here the focus is on Henry's children, each utterly fascinating and arrayed even just in religion from the extremes of zealotry embodied by Mary and Edward, to the traumatised pragmatism of Elizabeth, surely haunted for life by her mother's fate. The history here is completely assured, rooted in objects, places and documents. This is a fluid, fluent account, and a wholly satisfying read for Tudor veterans and novices.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A Different Perspective on Familiar History, 17 July 2013
By 
Eugene Onegin (Lincoln England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Children of Henry VIII (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
John Guy has long expertise in working with the issues and documents associated with the Tudor period and these skills are well deployed here in this new book which focuses on the four children of Henry VIII namely Mary, Elizabeth, Edward and the illegitimate Henry Fitzroy. What we are offered here is not so much four biographies as an examination of the changing status of the four children over time both in terms of their relationship to their father and in their changing fortunes in regard to the succession as Henry took new wives and how children from previous marriages were supplanted by the later offspring. This account is informed at every stage by Guy's learning which is, however, worn lightly making for a book which is both readable and informative in equal measure. Inevitably, the wider story of Henry's reign encroaches at many points which is perhaps why I found the chapters on the period after his death the most revealing as so many other books close their pages in 1547. The children's position could change by the year or even by the hour as first one then the other held the support of the aristocracy or the reigning monarch with religion never far from any swing in fortunes. This volume is very accessible at only 196 pages plus notes, handsomely produced and illustrated offering the general reader a good introduction to the lives of 4 very important figures in sixteenth century British history. All can learn from Guy's informed analysis although the very serious scholar may not discover much that is new. To everyone else a sound recommendation.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Starter for 10...., 8 July 2013
By 
catherine "Catherine" (poole, dorset United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Children of Henry VIII (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
John Guy's history of Henry VIII's children is a short but sweet read.
As a history I certainly learnt a few things that I was unaware of, but I was hoping for a meatier read, rather than the introduction that this certainly is.
It has inspired me to go off and find other books covering the lives of Henry's offspring (and there are plenty of those !) - but, at the finish of the book, I was left with the faintly unsatisfied sensation of " .. Is that all there is ?".
This is a good introduction to the Tudor children - but, I think I'll stick with Starkey in the future.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Also everything you wanted to know about Henry VIII, 6 July 2013
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Children of Henry VIII (Hardcover)
Ch.4 gives blow by blow of drama of Henry's love/hate relationship with Anne Boleyn.

This is a great book for people who have some knowledge of Tudor history already. If you do not have a solid background in Tudor history, I would suggest you read a survey book such as "Tutors for Dummies" or "The Tudors" by Jane Bingham on Tudor history before reading this book. That way you can pay more attention to the details and not have to learn history at the same time.

In the back of the book are notes references in abbreviations.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Children of Henry VIII
The Children of Henry VIII by John Guy (Hardcover - 25 April 2013)
6.80
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews