Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling, 30 Dec 2012
This review is from: David Starkey's Monarchy - Series 2 (DVD) (DVD)
As we continue the intriguing ride into English history this Series 2 takes us from Henry VIII to Oliver Cromwell and ends with the
Restoration and accession of Charles II.
A window into history that is both educational and exciting, Starkey focuses mainly on Henry VIII's break with Rome and creation of the Anglican Church, his reasons for doing this having first to do with the Pope's refusal to grant him a divorce from Catherine of Aragon and later he discovered it suited his own political purposes and drive for absolute power over England.
He takes us through portraits of most of Henry's top advisor at the time, the men who shaped policy and events, under Henry, such as Thomas More, Cardinal Wolsey, Thomas Cromwell and Thomas Cranmer.
No one is as good as Starkey at bringing English history to the viewer, and Starkey aptly describes Anne Boleyn as 'sexy rather than beautiful', which is certainly the case from her portraits and the descriptions of her.
He describes the religious conflicts which shaped the period under discussion, and the efforts of Elizabeth I to shape a middle ground between the Roman Catholics and extreme Protestants, after the volatile times of Edward VI and Mary I, the execution of Jane Grey and Mary's religious persecutions of Protestants and mass burnings.

He explains the differences between the cunning James I, and the gunpowder plot, and his arrogant son, Charles I who believed in the divine right of kings, absolutely. leading to his forcing of the closure of parliament , and the civil war. which is covered with the aid of maps, landscape footage and re-creations of battle scenes.

The section on Oliver Cromwell leaves us in no doubt that Cromwell as Lord Protector was dictator as absolute in the exercise of his power as any king, and his suppression of Scotland (but oddly leaves out Cromwell's genocide in Ireland). Starkey illustrates how even Cromwell's funeral and burial were royal in scope and grandeur.
The English had executed a king only to discover they could not live without one, and the rule of Cromwell's weak son, Richard as lord protector was short lived.
Through the efforts of General Moncke and the reinstated parliament, the monarchy was restored among much fanfare. As end Series 2
Starkey is a genius in his knowledge of his work, as well as able to present it in a way that is enthralling to the viewer. Lots of shots of churches, palaces, manors and the British countryside provide a feeling for the period covered.
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