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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice introduction...,
If you have had limited exposure to the Tudor era, this is a nice introduction to the life and reign of Mary I. It provides an accessible overview without being difficult to follow.

Those with a good grounding in Tudor era history, however, will probably find nothing new in this book. I also found that the short chapters - so thoroughly praised by other...
Published on 12 Aug 2009 by cyberpiglet

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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars England's First Queen
This is a competent account of the life and reign of Mary I. It is written in a straightforward style with short chapters.

The major strength of the book is its excellent use of original sources, which are frequently quoted.

However, overall, the book lacks depth and comes over as rather dull and pedestrian.

There is a glaring error on...
Published on 10 Mar 2010 by Mr. T. Harvey


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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice introduction...,, 12 Aug 2009
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If you have had limited exposure to the Tudor era, this is a nice introduction to the life and reign of Mary I. It provides an accessible overview without being difficult to follow.

Those with a good grounding in Tudor era history, however, will probably find nothing new in this book. I also found that the short chapters - so thoroughly praised by other reviewers - limit the amount of information that can be imparted about the subject at hand. Thus, one has the feeling that one is merely browsing Mary's life without going into it in much depth.

In short, this is a good book for one who is just discovering Mary Tudor. Those in search of a more in depth examination should look elsewhere.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mary - The Forgotten 1st Queen, 31 Jan 2012
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This review is from: Mary Tudor: England's First Queen (Paperback)
Although she was England's first Queen and the eldest daughter of Hanry VIII she is very much forgotten. This book is beautifully researched and written. It shows Mary in her true light. Proving that she is indeeed the daughter of Henry VIII. The treatment of her by her father is most evident in the way she later treated her subjects. It is a shame that she is forgotten so badly despite what she did. Why should she seem to be cast into the shadow of her little half sister Elizabeth? This book tries to answer a lot of questions and makes you see Mary in a completely humanising light.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A convincing rehabilitation of the first regnant Queen of England, 7 Sep 2010
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MarkK (Phoenix, AZ, USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Mary Tudor: England's First Queen (Paperback)
Mary Tudor has long suffered from the dual historical burden of Protestant propaganda and the long shadow cast by her half-sister, Elizabeth. The first has defined her as a failed queen who executed her subjects in a futile attempt to reimpose her Catholic faith, while the second has long distracted later generations from undertaking any sort of searching historical reevaluation. This is what makes Anna Whitelock's biography of the queen so refreshing. In it, she offers a dramatic reassessment of Mary, one that presents her not as "Bloody Mary" but as a successful monarch who persevered against numerous challenges.

Triumphing against adversity was not new to Mary as a queen, as she had been dealing with it from an early age. As the first surviving child of Henry VIII, she was a major political figure from the moment of her birth, and she became a prominent figure in the marriage politics of the royalty practically as soon as she could walk. Yet Henry's determination to have a son soon turned Mary into a virtual prisoner, cutting her off from her mother, Katherine of Aragon, and many of her potential supporters. It was only under the threat of death that she accepted her father's elevation to the head of a Church of England and her own status as a bastard. Though this helped rehabilitate her in her father's eyes and helped to confirm her right to the throne later, it did not return her to the status of heir apparent, as her half-brother Edward became next in line from the moment of his birth.

Though Mary initially enjoyed good relations with Edward and his subsequent regime, her determination to hold steadfast to her Catholic faith put her at odds with the increasingly radical tone of Edward's Protestant policies. This contributed to Edward's determination to disinherit Mary as he faced an early death. Mary's success in overcoming this effort and in securing the throne for herself is the first sign of the decisiveness and determination that characterized her rule as queen. Whitelock shows her to be a politically astute monarch who navigated innumerable pitfalls in order to govern a religiously fractious realm. She argues that Mary did not intend for the reconversion of her realm to be as bloody as it was, that it was the determination of the Protestants to die for their faith rather than recant that led the burnings to number in their hundreds. Their martyrdom only fueled the discontent that plagued her reign and made Elizabeth such a constant concern for the queen. Whitelock suggests that the strains of ruling contributed to Mary's ill health and death at the age of 42, a death which paved the way for Elizabeth, the ultimate triumph of Protestantism, and the overshadowing of Mary's achievements as queen.

Whitelock's biography is an enjoyably readable account of Mary's life and a convincing rehabilitation of her historical reputation. Yet her focus on the politics of Mary's life dominate the pages of her book; there are only fleeting glimpses of Mary as a person, just passing references to her personal relationships, her addition to gambling, and her other personality traits. Because of this, Whitelock's biography serves better as a political narrative of the events of her subject's life than as a fully realized portrait of Mary. This is not to deny Whitelock's real achievement in recasting Mary as a more successful ruler than she has been given credit for, but readers seeking more than just a study of Mary's political career would do well to supplement her book with Linda Porter's Mary Tudor: The First Queen, which does a better job of presenting Mary as an individual than Whitelock has here.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A faithful account of Mary Tudor's life and reign, 29 May 2009
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Amelrode (Vilvoorde) - See all my reviews
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Mary Tudor seems to be eternally eclipsed by her half-sister Queen Elizabeth and her overpowering father Henry VIII. She seems to be rather her mother's daughter and the King's of Spain wife and above all the religious fanatic who burned Protestants at the stake and went down in history as "Bloody Mary".

Well, of course there is always an element of truth in it. But there is so much more to England's first ruling Queen. And this is already the first point of notice: she was the first female sovereign. Taking into account her father's desperate attempts to avoid a female succession and the general concepts of females at the time, it is remarkable.

Anna Whitelock presents a very well written and very readable biography of Queen Mary I. The short chapters help a lot. It is a faithful account of her life and reign. It is a great start if one wants to explore Mary's life. But it is not - like Linda Porter's excellent biography - a book which gives the reader a deep understanding of Mary and how she "ticked". One gets glimpses of it. No doubt, it is a good and very easy to read book, but it misses a whole dimension. So as a start it is perfect, but I am afraid here it ends.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing., 3 May 2014
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This review is from: Mary Tudor: England's First Queen (Paperback)
Anna Whitelock is a tutor of mine at University, and although I'm not a huge Tudor fan, her writing certainly makes it a lot more interesting. It's clear, precise and tells you everything you want to know about quite a diverse female monarch.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One for Shools, 3 Nov 2013
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Most interesting insight in to our past History and a good read for everyone, young or old should enjoy it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars More history, 21 Aug 2013
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C. Lyne "colin@colinlyne.co.uk" (Richmond Yorkshire.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mary Tudor: England's First Queen (Paperback)
This is a second book I purchased as I am now beginning to like history after hating it at school. I am now 67 and am living in amongst history and so decided to purchase this book. A good price from this seller and excellent delivery
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading, 2 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Mary Tudor: England's First Queen (Paperback)
This book was very interesting but not always that easy to read. There was so much in it. Some of the narrative seemed lost in the detail. Perhaps I was too impatient to know what happened next. However, I do have the opportunity to dip back into it: which I will surely do.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction, 6 May 2012
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markr - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mary Tudor: England's First Queen (Paperback)
This is a straight forward chronological account of the life of Mary, the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. It is an easy read, with short chapters and a fast pace, and gives a balanced account of Mary's life, both before and after her coronation as Mary 1. It is a good introduction to the subject.

I would have liked more information about her reign, with more description and analysis of the effects of her policies - this book is about evenly split between the description of her life before coronation, when she was steadfast and brave in upholding her loyalty to her mother and to her faith, and her more controversial rule thereafter. Given that controversy I would have like more information and context to form my own opinion.

However, I did enjoy the book and will now look elsewhere for a more detailed analysis
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars England's First Queen, 10 Mar 2010
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This is a competent account of the life and reign of Mary I. It is written in a straightforward style with short chapters.

The major strength of the book is its excellent use of original sources, which are frequently quoted.

However, overall, the book lacks depth and comes over as rather dull and pedestrian.

There is a glaring error on page 107 where Katherine Howard is referred to as Henry VIII's fourth wife. How such a mistake was not spotted at any stage of the publishing process beggars belief.
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Mary Tudor: England's First Queen
Mary Tudor: England's First Queen by Anna Whitelock (Paperback - 1 Mar 2010)
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