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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lady tells it well
I love Alison Weir's books and have read or purchased most of them. I have a real, enthusiastic love for this period in history and I have always found Weir's books to be eminently easy to read and not too stuffy or academic.

I have always had a fascination for Anne Boleyn and have read many books on her life, rise, fall and death, but this one was really...
Published on 7 May 2010 by Soo Broo

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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thorough investigative and enthralling piece of work sometimes overshadowed by partiality
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this almost investigative style of writing by Alison Weir. When it came to details of Anne's fall, she left no corner or stone unturned, unearthing vivid accounts and details concerning not only Anne herself but also, the men with whom she was accused of commiting adultery with, along with the accusations hurled at her by some of her ladies in...
Published on 28 Jun 2011 by Apocalyptic Queen


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "If any person should meddle with my cause...", 8 Dec 2012
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This is arguably Alison Weir's most comprehensive, analytic and original research. I always enjoy returning to this highly readable study of Anne Boleyn's sudden downfall in 1536.

By and large, Weir agrees with Ives' theory that Anne fell in 1536 because of conflict in politics. She became alienated from Master Secretary Thomas Cromwell due to conflicting views about monasteries and religious policies; since religion and politics were intertwined in this period, Cromwell began to identify her as an enemy who increasingly threatened his security and position of power as Master Secretary, and in a sense, it was either him or her. Taking advantage of the king's flirtation with Jane Seymour, a grossly unfair and sensational coup was organised against the queen and five men associated with her "faction" (however dangerous a concept). In the space of little more than three weeks, these six - almost certainly - innocent people were executed brutally on charges of adultery and plotting regicide.

However, as R. Warnicke has suggested, this theory perhaps relies too much on uncritical interpretation of Spanish ambassador Chapuys' dispatches. Weir tends to disagree with Warnicke most of all historians in this study; however unbelievable Weir's views surrounding the queen's downfall are, I believe Weir's - and thus Ives' - theory is probably the most likely one. Certainly Warnicke's controversial theory that Anne fell for the 'sole reason' that she gave birth to a deformed foetus in January 1536, leading the king to identify homosexuals who could plausibly have fathered such a monster, led to her execution, is highly doubtful, as is Bernard's argument that these courtiers were actually guilty of the charges levied against them in the early summer of 1536.

However, one comes away from this study still none the wiser for the true reason why Queen Anne fell. I believe an impenetrable mystery will always surround the events which led to this brutal coup. Certainly Weir's study is highly enjoyable and compulsive reading, and it is similar to Ives' arguments by and large.

Debates about Anne's life, and her fall in particular, will continue to exist. This is why she is such an exciting, if controversial, historical figure
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A NEW REVIEW OF ANNE BOLEYN, 18 Sep 2012
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I very much enjoyed reading this book; as a fan of Tudor and Boleyn history I learnt some things that I had previously been unaware of. Weir is absolutely thorough in her investigation of Anne's fall, and her conclusion is that Henry VIII was not part of the plot to bring Anne down;that it was Cromwell along with the Aragonese faction at court, and others who wished to be rid of Anne, that was her un-doing. It is very difficult to know what to make of this assertion regarding Henry. On the one hand, he is genuinely enraged by the 'evidence' that Cromwell reveals to him regarding Anne's 'crimes', which would seem to indicate that Henry was not involved in any plotting. But, on the other hand, Henry warns his new wife, Jane Seymour, to stay out of state affairs, as this is what caused the downfall of her predecessor. Is Henry admitting his role in Anne's demise? Or, did he realise, when he had had time to reflect afterwards, that perhaps Anne had indeed been framed by Cromwell and others? This is the problem when trying to penetrate a mystery where the vast amount of 'evidence' is either lost or destroyed, and in particular when said mystery is nearly 500 years old! I think that what Weir manages to do in this book is to show that the players in this tragedy were not either black or white, but shades of grey. Was Henry really a remorseless monster? Was Anne really an Angel? Henry desperately needed a son for England's future security(he could not have known how brilliant a Queen his and Anne's child would be in later years), and Anne desperately needed to become pregnant by a man that did not have sporadic impotency problems like Henry did. We will probably never know what really caused Anne's fall, or the complete truth of it, but Weir's book is maybe the nearest we will get. And I have to say, that whether she was guilty or not, I still adore Queen Anne!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating coverage of Anne's last days, 16 Mar 2012
By 
John Hopper (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn

This is a well written and closely argued account of the last few months of the life of Anne Boleyn. The author agrees with the majority view that Anne was a victim of a miscarriage of justice and that there is little or no evidence to substantiate any of the charges laid against her. However, she does go to considerable lengths to analyse how Henry and contemporary society would have seen it, and thinks that Henry must himself have believed, or been able to plausibly convince himself, that the charges were or might be true, based on what he knew or believed to be traits in Anne's personality. I felt that Weir rather bent over backwards to make this point, but I was not convinced by her assertion of Henry's essential rationality. I think that Henry's reign was rather more like a modern totalitarian regime than a Medieval monarchy, and that the best comparison with the charges against and trial of Anne Boleyn is with Stalin's show trials. Like with the victims of those travesties, the charges were presented suddenly and starkly, designed to cause maximum shock in the light of the mores of the society in question and were partly backed by confessions obtained under duress; the evidence presented contained numerous factual discrepancies that would not have stood up in a court properly subject to the rule of law; and the judicial system and public opinion (to the extent that the concept existed in Tudor England) were softened for and overwhelmingly accepted the shocking outcome. To my mind, the worst that Anne might reasonably be accused of in relation to the subject matter of the charges is a certain reckless naivety and flirtatiousness beyond the then acceptable morality; but the notion of her risking adultery with anyone, let alone with five men including her brother; or of plotting to overthrow Henry is grotesquely unbelievable. The book brings across very clearly the shocking suddeness of Anne's fall in a very short period of time indeed, a feature of modern totalitarian regimes. 4.5/5
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Knowledgeable and impressive, 21 Dec 2011
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Mrs. P. Mann (London England) - See all my reviews
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For those interested in the facts as to how Anne Boleyn met her end, this is an extremely well referenced book. Alison Weir is, of course, an academic historian as well as a fiction writer and this book is non-fiction, so that needs to be kept in mind.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the Lady in the Tower'....a window into Tudor England, 19 Jun 2011
The story of Anne Boleyn is a fascinating one.... Ms. Weir's work is very detailed and complete. Often a bit more scholarly than entertaining, it is still a good portrayal of the machinations that brought this queen down.
I would have wanted to know more about the jealousy and 'backstabbing' that the period is known for though. Ms. Weir's approach is a bit too cautious. On the plus side, the footnotes and documentations are very thorough.
The plates are good, but I feel the depictions, done from a later point in history were unnecessary. I much would have rather seen documents,pictures, etc. from the Tudor period- not modern portrayals...
Overall, the work is good, but unless you are very keen on the subject, you may find it a bit slow going sometimes.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A page-turner that Anne's fans will love, 6 Oct 2009
Here, Alison Weir traces Anne Boleyn's fall in all its heart-stopping detail.

The book drew me in, from Anne's first suspicions that something was going horribly wrong - her middle-aged husband Henry was having a blonde moment in the form of wife-in-waiting Jane Seymour - to the nightmare circus of Anne's trial and execution, her despair and her ultimate dignified death.

Here you'll find every single detail about Anne's final days, and a joy that is, as I can't stand historians who withhold stuff as if it's not for us to know.

Alison Weir is a sensible and comprehensive historian, an excellent judge of character, and does not flinch from setting to right, the old romantic myths at times or pointing out that there is no foundation for certain stories. Fairly, she points out that by Tudor standards, Anne's trial was legally irreproachable, and dangles the mystery of what happened to so many of the contemporary documents. Was there actually some rather awful evidence against Anne, which has been lost? Probably not, but we may never know.

She is also sensitive - I liked her chapter on the impact on tiny Elizabeth, then not even three years old, which is uncharted territory. Her judgements are sound and her scholarship and research, reliable. This is a book that will grip and a real contribution to the archives of Anne Boleyn writing. Don't have nightmares!
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meticulous as always, 26 Jan 2010
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As always, Alison Weir is meticulous in her research and investigation, and how much more rivetting is this book than her work on Mary Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley, which to me sometimes descended into tedium. In 'The Lady in the Tower' Ms Weir sets out to challenge the hackneyed view that Anne and her associates were framed and sets about a careful examination of all the evidence. Her final conclusion, that pretty certainly they WERE all framed, is reached with such care and attention to detail that the reader is completely hooked from the start - this is a real page-turner and draws the reader in like a novel. Never assuming, but always drawing on evidence, the author paints vividly the main players in the tragedy, with potted biographies and quotations from contemporary sources. Human touches bring the scene to life, such as the quotations from the letters of William Kingston, the Constable of the Tower who had the unprecedented job of preparing a queen for her execution. For me the most vivid image of all was that of the executioner removing his shoes so that Anne did not hear him approach, and the swinging of the sword around his head one or two times to achieve the necessary momentum (Hollywood never portrayed an execution more vividly)If only history could have been taught like this in school. I was left with an urge to visit the British Library, Tower of London and the like to see for myself the evidence of the past, and the woman whom for one brief moment, the whole of England turned around.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thorough and insightful, but guilty of no small bias..., 5 Oct 2012
By 
C. Ball (Derbyshire) - See all my reviews
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I always enjoy Alison Weir's books, although I do tend to read them with a certain amount of reserve as she does have a tendency toward bias. She writes with a very clear, intelligent style, and her books are always a pleasure to read - but as I said, I always read them with a pinch of salt in store, and this one is no exception.

Anne Boleyn is one of the most fascinating and probably most mythologised figures of the Tudor period. Indeed, the whole history of Henry VIII often gets reduced to mythology, little more than the 'divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived' rhyme that every schoolchild grows up knowing. This book covers the brief period of Anne's fall in incredible detail, analysing the evidence of her guilt and finding on the whole that Anne was the victim of dynastic manoeuvring and was quite probably blameless, of these crimes, at least.

My main criticism of this book is the whitewashing of Henry VIII, the absolving of almost any blame. Weir heaps most of the blame for Anne's downfall and execution on Cromwell, arguing that Henry was mostly reacting to the trumped-up evidence he was shown, believing what he wanted to believe. I personally find it hard to believe that a man such as Henry VIII, a man so wilful and dominant that he deliberately and with full knowledge of his actions isolated England from Europe, broke with Rome, turned his country upside down, dissolved the monasteries, executed a large swathe of English nobility, threatened to execute his own daughter on more than one occasion and certainly had no qualms about seeing her declared bastard - I find it hard to believe that he had no hand in Anne's downfall, and that Cromwell was acting entirely on his own initiative. And yet Henry in this book comes across as a man simply behaving within the law, even as Weir argues, acting with benevolence(!) in allowing Anne her own ladies at the end and permitting her to die by the sword instead of the axe. Spare us all from such benevolence!
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant & Informative, 18 Dec 2009
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I have read most of Alison Weir's books, and this one hits the spot, yet again. It's thoroughly researched, detailed, intriguing and above all, interesting. I love the detail that this book goes to, and how it points fingers at certain people who were directly the cause Anne's downfall and murder, and those who perhaps weren't. Unflinching in it's detail of Anne's execution, and the dignity in which she went to her death just made me admire this great woman even more than I already did. I also liked the mini-biographies on the characters central to the story, both the innocent and the conspirators and their eventual downfall. I especially liked the chapter on how Anne's execution may have affected Elizabeth, both in her childhood, and later in her life.
This book isn't for the casual reader or for the person who wants an introduction to the Tudors or the Six Wives, but if you want a book that is "wordy", academic and thorough, then get it.
Why would anyone write a fiction book on the Tudors, when the real thing is far more fascinating?!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alison Weir Does It Again, 7 Nov 2009
By 
Steven A. Wright "Tudor Fan" (San Francisco, California) - See all my reviews
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Alison Weir is a good, competent popular historian, well known for her Tudor scholarship. But she outshines herself with this book. Very readable but more importantly very knowledgeable, she makes sense of the mysterious sudden fall and execution of the woman for whom the king defied the Church and his Kingdom. While I do not agree with all her conclusions, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in early Tudor history.
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