14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
I am working my way through the 8 entries in the Very Short Introduction series that were originally part of The Oxford Illustrated History of Britain, and I have not been disappointed yet. This very worthy entry in the series, covering the reigns of the Tudor monarchs, has been 'substantially revised and updated', as of 2000.
Professor Guy introduces the chief protagonists and covers the main events of the period, as you would expect, but also challenges some widely-held views, some cherished myths.
History has been especially charitable to Elizabeth I and harshly critical of Mary, and a little reassessment never goes amiss. The Elizabethan age is routinely referred to as a Golden Age. Guy points out that, for working people, an age of rapid population growth and falling real wages may not have seemed quite so golden. He also suggests that Elizabeth's failure to curb government corruption and to maintain tax revenues contributed to the conditions that would ultimately lead to the Civil War of the following century. Mary, on the other hand, being in many ways a victim of ill luck, may not have been as villainous as popular myth often suggests.
Needless to say, a very short introduction can only whet your appetite, not satisfy it. This is both a good place to start and a useful source of fresh insights for readers that already have some knowledge of the period.
Next stop, the Stuarts.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 September 2011
This was bought for an A level student after recommendation from the teacher. The student says it is informative and gives a good summary of the period but should not be relied on as the sole source of information. Fairly easy to read, in chronological sequence.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 29 March 2012
I'm just a dabbler as far as history is concerned. I love to read the books at the less acedemic end of the market, and I always hope something will stick. What Ilook for is a new perspective, or new (to me) information written in an engaging way. I found this easy enough to read, but impersonal and unexciting. The book did help solidify some of the wispy strands of Tudor history that were already there in my head, but I just found it a bit dull. Compare this to the WW1 VSI, which I could hardly put down, this was a bit of a grind.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 August 2011
This is a great book for anyone wanting a basic understanding of Tudor history, or to flick through before studying the topic in further depth