Mary I: England's Catholic Queen (Yale English Monarchs Series) (The Yale English Monarchs Series) Paperback – 26 Mar 2013
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"Edwards has comprehensively defeated a persistent and painful historical myth and replaced it with something more complicated, more human and much more accurate. This is the best biography of Mary we have yet seen."--Lucy Wooding, "Times Higher Education"--Lucy Wooding"Times Higher Education" (10/06/2011)
"[T]he most comprehensive and convincing account to date." J.H./i>--J.H. Elliott "The New York Review of Books ""
Edwards has comprehensively defeated a persistent and painful historical myth and replaced it with something more complicated, more human and much more accurate. This is the best biography of Mary we have yet seen. Lucy Wooding, "Times Higher Education"--Lucy Wooding"Times Higher Education" (10/06/2011)"
About the Author
John Edwards is Modern Languages Faculty Research Fellow in Spanish, University of Oxford. He lives in Oxford, UK.
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Top Customer Reviews
John Edwards has easily eclipsed the most recent books written by Porter, Whitehead and Loades by far. Being from the Yale English Monarchs series it is intensely detailed, scholarly AND incredibly readable at the same time.
What makes it stand apart is the said detail and the central theme, that Mary was not just an English queen. Edwards quite rightly sees Mary as also a Spanish princess, placing her within the Hapsburg-French rivalry that dominated European politics for most of the 16th century. Her husband Philip takes centre stage alongside Mary and is not dismissed as recent books have tended to, which take for granted his lack of official power and ignore the huge influence he had on English affairs. The return of Roman Catholicism, the purpose of Mary's reign, is also richly described and is also refreshingly seen as such. It is obvious that Edwards believes Mary and Cardinal Reginald Pole saved Roman Catholicism in England.
Edwards is very even handed to Mary. He sees Mary's marriage to a foreigner as a necessity because of the current European situation and the need for an heir to secure Roman Catholicism in England. Mary is described as a Catholic humanist and not the bigot of 'Bloody Mary' fame but Edwards doesn't shy away from seeing Mary as solely responsible for over three-hundred religious burnings but does successfully place it in context. Other Roman Catholic countries were doing very much the same thing he argues. Furthermore he sees the loss of Calais as a disaster due to English laxity and incompetence but does question Calais' worth anyway.
Noteworthy also is that while Edwards is sympathetic to Mary's familial tragedies, it is not worn on his sleeve. The facts are given.Read more ›
In Eamon Duffy's "Fires of Faith" he tells us that the evidence against Mary should not be examined in the context of current day laws or morals. He's right of course but I was disappointed that his work singularly failed, despite its otherwise good qualities, to really explain some of Mary's actions, and the burnings in particular, in the context of 16th century laws, mores and, especially, religious thinking.
Edwards, in this book, gets further down this path than any other and, for this alone, the book should be compulsory reading even if only, for those Elizabeth sycophants, for some balance.
My only criticism is that the first three quarters of Mary's life are covered in less than one-fifth of the book's pages and, as an inevitable consequence, the minutiae into which the latter stages of the book delves, when dealing with her reign in particular, became somewhat tedious and distinctly heavy going. Perhaps this is inevitable, given her early life, largely out of the limelight, but there were some events up to 1547, and during Edward's reign as well, that might have had equally detailed, or at least more, coverage.
On the whole I consider this book to be one of the most learned and valuable in my extensive Tudor collection and I would recommend it highly.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
minor aspects of the queens life like education finely detailed 30/40 pages long ,religious upbringing 100 pages long , ridiculous makes the book very heavy reading and the book... Read morePublished 17 months ago by redleader
John Edwards is to be congratulated on an excellent biography of Queen Mary I. His real success is in placing her reign as queen firmly in the context of European international... Read morePublished on 8 Dec. 2012 by Conor Byrne
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