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Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII Paperback – 4 Mar 2004

4.4 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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  • Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII
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  • Reign Of Henry VIII: The Personalities and Politics
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Product details

  • Paperback: 880 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (4 Mar. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099437244
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099437246
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 5.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 169,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

David Starkey's massive Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII follows on the huge commercial success of Elizabeth. Like its predecessor, Starkey's latest book mixes its author's scholarly erudition with a mischievous eye for a contemporary comparison or salacious soundbite. Starkey's topic is, as he admits from the outset, "one of the world's great stories"--the lives, and deaths, of the six wives of King Henry VIII. The story has been told before, but as Starkey points out, it has been wrapped in the romantic myth of 19th-century historiography.

Starkey's virtue lies in his return to the archives to unearth new evidence for his story of Henry's wives. The result is a weighty blockbuster that will annoy the purists but delight the popular reader. Henry is portrayed as a fairytale prince gradually transformed into a "prematurely aged and bloated monster". Starkey concludes that "like us, he expected marriage to make him happy", but this simple desire had increasingly disastrous consequences.

Henry worked his way through a series of wives from Catherine of Aragon to Catherine Parr who, according to Starkey, encompass "the full range of female stereotypes: the Saint, the Schemer, the Doormat, the Dim Fat Girl, the Sexy Teenager, and the Bluestocking". While this tends to flatten out the complexity of many of Henry's wives, there is plenty on the cataclysmic impact of the Reformation, new evidence on Henry's first wife's marriage to his brother, and a reconsideration of Henry's final wife, Catherine Parr, as "the first Queen of the Age of Print", to keep even the most sceptical reader happy. --Jerry Brotton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"A tribute to Starkey's narrative drive, his puckish wit and sharp discrimination" (Sunday Times)

"Relentlessly scholarly...Starkey's is the best study of Henry's wives ever published... A masterly and persuasive narrative which never loses its grip over the story or the reader" (Evening Standard)

"High-powered history pithily expressed... This study of Henry VIII's women shows David Starkey at his best" (Sunday Telegraph)

"So gripping that one finishes it wishing it were even longer... The punchy style adopted by Starkey is perfectly suited to the story he has to tell" (Mail on Sunday)

"Starkey keeps the narrative alive with a combination of sound chronology, peppery opinion and startling detail... Six Wives provides an intriguing new perspective on this key period in English history" (Daily Telegraph)

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