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The Children of Henry VIII Hardcover – 25 Apr 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; First Edition edition (25 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192840908
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192840905
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 1.8 x 14.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 454,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

John Guy is that rare cross: a scholar who also writes for the popular market. It shows here, as he sketches with verve and fluency the education and the beliefs, as well as, briefly, the reigns of these last Tudors. But where he excels is in illuminating the relationships between the squabbling siblings. They say if you've got lemons, make lemonade, and in Guy's hands the story of The Children of Henry VIII is fresh, sparkling and sharp. (Literary Review)

[A] smart, lively little book enriched by the reliable pleasure of Guy's prose, his pen dancing as deftly about his compact historical portraits as Horenbout's brush once did over his stunning miniatures. (The Sunday Times)

Guy, whose prose is commendably readable, has a real gift for bringing Tudor history to life for 21st-century readers. (The Independent on Sunday)

This may be a well known story, but Guy presents it with typical narrative flair and attention to detail, producing a book with obvious appeal. (BBC History Magazine)

With the panache for which Guy's work has become known, The Children of Henry VIII portrays the childhood nightmares of Britain's most celebrated dysfunctional family... [It] is a portrait miniature of a book, skilfully portraying the character of an age, yet managing to do so with enough detail and care to bring its subjects to life. (Times Literary Supplement)

The stunning psychodrama that was the Tudor court is brilliantly evoked in John Guy's little book (The Lady)

Well-written, well-researched and a lot of fun. (The Glasgow Herald)

About the Author

John Guy is a Fellow of Clare College, University of Cambridge. His books include the bestselling Tudor England, The Tudors: A Very Short Introduction, A Daughter's Love: Thomas and Margaret More, Thomas Becket: Warrior, Priest, Rebel, Victim: A 900-Year-Old Story Retold and 'My Heart is My Own': the Life of Mary Queen of Scots, which won the Whitbread Biography Award, Marsh Biography Award, and was a Finalist for the National Book Critics' Circle (USA) Biography/Autobiography of the Year Award. A regular contributor to BBC radio and television, he also writes and reviews for national newspapers and magazines, including The Sunday Times and The Literary Review.


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Top Customer Reviews

By FictionFan TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 13 Mar. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I first encountered John Guy through his wonderful biography of Thomas Becket and I give him the credit for re-awakening my interest in reading history after a lengthy gap. As well as being a first-rate historian, he has the true skill of the storyteller, managing to turn his thorough and extensive research into an accessible and enjoyable read for the non-academic. In this book he tackles the subject of Henry VIII's struggle to produce an heir who could ensure the continuance of his dynasty. This is very much a personal history of the children, though because of their positions as potential heirs, there is also much about the politics of the time, particularly the religious machinations of this divided family.

Guy goes into considerable depth about the children's early years telling us who was given charge of their upbringing and education. He describes the differences in education of the males, Edward and Henry Fitzroy, to the females, Mary and Elizabeth; showing that the boys were trained in those skills which were deemed necessary in a king, such as the ability to give public speeches, while the girls were restricted to moral and religious works, on the basis laid down by the scholar Vives that a woman should hear and speak only 'what pertains to the fear of God'. However, he also produces some evidence to show that the girls' friends and supporters may have found ways to supplement these restrictions.

Guy also shows Henry's inconsistent treatment of his children, first humiliating Mary by raising the prospect of the illegitimate Fitzroy as heir, then by making her play second fiddle to Elizabeth during Anne Boleyn's short reign.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Henry VIII had three legitimate children plus one illegitimate son whom he publicly acknowledged. The stories of each are well-known and have been covered in depth in many studies. This slim volume show have each interacted with the other and highlights the privileges and dangers of being a royal child in the 16th century.

Henry Fitzroy was illegitimate but acknowledged and brought up with luxury and expense until his untimely death. Edward was a spoilt and weak boy, Guy describes his cruelty. Whilst nominally ruler, he was the puppet of his council. Mary was the sole daughter of Henry's first marriage and suffered humiliation and deprivation as her mother was rejected and she was disinherited. Old when she came to the throne, Guy sheds new light on her 'phantom' pregnancies and her loveless marriage. Elizabeth was clever but wilful, she spent her youth politicking and avoiding implication in plot after plot. Finally she succeeded to the throne and had a long reign.

This is not a long, detailed study. It is a short read and no less enjoyable for that.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not bad very easy to read thought it would be better,with more explanations of elizabeth mary and Edward, it's nice to see the letter which Henry fitzroy wrote to his father Henry v111 thanking him for his present . John guy knows his stuff.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been an admirer of John Guy for a long time and was delighted to learn that he was bringing out a book on the Tudors ~ my specialist period. I have his other books and greatly admired them for their detailed scholarship and how well they are crafted. Sadly, his latest offering is not, in my opinion, of the same calibre.

On the positive side, it is very well written {could anything by Guy be otherwise?} and easy to read. If you knew very little about the Tudors and wanted to learn more, then this would be an excellent place to begin, especially as it has a lot of detail to make Henry's children 'come alive'.

However, being a short book, it lacks detail and I have to say I learned very little I didn't already know. {However,I have to admit this is my specialist period.} It tends to follow a 'broad sweep' and omits a lot of political details. I have noticed that a certain publisher's authors follow this path but was surprised that an academic historian like John Guy should do so.

In brief, if you want a well written, fairly simple account of the Tudors from Henry VIII's reign then get this book. If you already know a lot about the period, I advise you to ignore it or borrow it from the library.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A short overview of the Tudor dynasty at the time of Henry VIII. I'm surprised at how short the book is. Only pages 12 - 198 concern themselves with telling the tale with the rest of the book given over to referencing, prologue, etc.

Having said that, I do like John Guy's writing style. From the opening chapters concerning the birth and death of Henry's baby son I was captivated by the attention to detail and recreation of the Tudor court with all of it's pomp, ritual and ceremony. Guy does a good job of setting the scene and explaining much of the political and religious climate of the era in a way that's entertaining and accessible.

The first half of the book outlines the life of Henry VIII and moves through his marriages to introduce the children he 'recognised' as having any claim to the throne. Only four of them survived beyond infancy; Mary 1, Elizabeth 1, Henry Fitzroy and Edward VI. A chain of lost pregnancy and infant mortality led inevitably to a woman taking the throne of England and the book closes with the death of the unmarried, childless, Elizabeth I as the Tudor dynasty draws it's last breath.

Do I have a negative? The Children of Henry VIII focuses mostly on Henry VIII and the early years of his children. Their later lives, reigns, which were full of incident, seemed a little rushed.

I mostly enjoyed this book, it's a quick and easy read, and took little time to finish.
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