Customer Reviews


6 Reviews
5 star:
 (3)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:    (0)
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


17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revisionist but blinkered
Gwyn has undertaken the monumental task of revising out opinions of one of the most controversial and often misunderstood characters in English history. On the whole his re-anaylsis is a sucessful, scholarly and persuasive affair, featuring some excellent insight into Wolsey's relationship with the nobility and Henry himself, challenging the faction driven interpretaion...
Published on 27 Feb 2005 by Mr. P. D. Beauchamp

versus
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fat on detail thin on interest
As the prefatory stuff makes clear... we know little of Wolsey's personal life from first hand sources, and so this book is intended to be something of a detective story. Though without the "story". Showing how his "official life" may have reflected his own thoughts.

First, I was chagrined to see it began with some "notes on the notes"..... *sigh*...
Published 12 months ago by Mr. R. A. Howe


Most Helpful First | Newest First

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revisionist but blinkered, 27 Feb 2005
Gwyn has undertaken the monumental task of revising out opinions of one of the most controversial and often misunderstood characters in English history. On the whole his re-anaylsis is a sucessful, scholarly and persuasive affair, featuring some excellent insight into Wolsey's relationship with the nobility and Henry himself, challenging the faction driven interpretaion currently fashionable with the likes of David Starkey. Having said that one does get the feeling that Gwyn is often so anxious to see Wolsey in the most positive of lights that his interpretation seems somewhat blinkered and onesided, the most obvious example of which is the chapter on the Amicable Grant. However, overall the work represents a valuable and often courageous reinterpretation of an age old charaterisation for which Gwyn deserves full praise.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Magisterial' indeed, 11 April 2003
By 
Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I think Wolsey was definitely a person whose motives, motivation, etc, may well have been misunderstood or misinterpreted by many, both his contemporaries and writers of more recent times. This biography attempts to get behind the scandal, and the ambassador's letters of the times, and really analyse legal, formal documentation, in the context not only of Henry's divorce and marriage to Anne Boleyn, and not only the break with the Catholic Pope, but also in the context of the powerplay within France, and the Empire, and Europe as a whole, and, possibly more importantly, attempts to analyse such things within the framework of the time and the people who lived in that time, not with the viewpoint that we as 'moderns' tend to allow to slant our interpretations of past events.
The interpretations are sometimes controversial and defy what could be considered 'the accepted' view, but they clarify elements of Wolsey's character that I believe have been glossed over by past historians, and open him up to our view as a complex statesman, dedicated church figure, and man of his times.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative Book, 27 Oct 2012
By 
Susan Wood (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is the first book I have read about Cardinal Wolsey, but it was recommended to me, and I was not disappointed. Wolsey has been given a bad press, but he was a very able administrator, and wasn't given credit either in his lifetime or since. A most informative and enjoyable book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insight, 11 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I had to read this book for my History course. It was good background reading for understanding all what was going on. I would recommend this book to others.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fat on detail thin on interest, 27 July 2013
By 
Mr. R. A. Howe (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As the prefatory stuff makes clear... we know little of Wolsey's personal life from first hand sources, and so this book is intended to be something of a detective story. Though without the "story". Showing how his "official life" may have reflected his own thoughts.

First, I was chagrined to see it began with some "notes on the notes"..... *sigh*

Secondly fundamentally, to me, this is a turgid and tedious book. A false connection is implied between professional behaviour and personal ideology (and with Wolsey surely a disjunct between the two is the most interesting possibility, and not just something to wish away - how a man can do something and think something quite else). As another reviewer pointed out, the material is not organised chronologically, but into areas of politics and history somewhat independently of any narrative logic. I confess to skipping some sections. This appeared to be a work of comprehensiveness rather than pertinence to the actual subject of Wolsey's own thoughts. I would hope any future biographer of mine would not seek for my thoughts too much in what I did with spreadsheets at work daily...

The author is determined on his revisionist Wolsey story. Painting him in the best possible light. In doing so - in my opinion - he is far too ready to discard contemporary account. In some instances I find the writing to flatly contradict other historical biography of people like Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII. For example in the insistence that Henry acted in full knowledge and control all the time, despite what is known *in fact* about the sheer number of hours given to hunting, socialising, feasting and banqueting in the first decade or two of his reign. These kind of statistics are ignored in favour of a Henry who is completely in detailed control, and where Wolsey is a valiant and earnest executor of the good of the common weal and completely under the king's pre-thought-through ideas. Given the frustrating determination to be revisionist, and the bizarre avoidance of really addressing contrary contemporary views, I ended up doubly impatient with the book. The attitude seems to be more to present a robust revisionist view and then attack all ambassadorial and other correspondence as either politically skewed or else just fiction. Fundamentally its conclusions are so far on the "rational" side that they seem - to me - to end up lacking that stamp of real authenticity which is found when real humans - emotions and irrationality in all - actually go about living their lives.

I am happy with the concept that Wolsey may not have been the character presented more often, but in this book oftentimes methinks the lady doth protest too much.

Additionally, this edition literally fell apart in my hands. Physically, not rhetorically. This is the Pimlico reissue of 2002. Great chunks of pages were falling out of the book when only a quarter of the way through.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars a heavy tome, 26 May 2009
There is no doubt that Peter Gwyn knows his stuff: the research is exhaustive. It is his manner of presenting it which I find wanting: he seems to have more detail than he is capable of organising into a coherent whole. The book is organised thematically rather than chronologically, with successive chapters on Wolsey's foreign policy, work as Lord Chancellor, church reforms etc. It assumes a fair amount of prior knowledge in the reader: this is a book for the specialist in Tudor history rather than the interested general reader. Buy this book only if you are one of the former!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews