Tudor: The Family Story Paperback – 5 Jun. 2014
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Violent, heady, glamorous stuff, this is popular history of a very superior sort -- Lucy Worsley, Country Life
Vivid... Part of the interest of this book lies in the portraits of strong women -- Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph
Tudor is a gripping account of a family riven by passionate jealousies, murderous ambitions and crippling tragedies. Leanda de Lisle is a master storyteller, and this is her greatest work yet. Immersive and exhaustively researched, Tudor is a triumph., Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire
While many Tudor fans have been crying out for an accessible narrative history of the entire period, few historians have felt able to rise to the challenge... [de Lisle] manages to achieve that very feat... should now be the go-to book -- Chris Skidmore, History Today (Books of the Year 2013)
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However, it was impossible to read the family trees which are vital to the understanding of the various relationships, and I resorted to looking on the internet. It is a problem I find with Kindle and I have found problems with other books where there are maps etc.
Top international reviews
I wish that there would have been more focus on the rise of Reformation of the Scottish Church would have been discussed. Mary Queen of Scots returned to Scotland, was Scotland Catholic or Protestant? Mary was certainly Catholic, but apparently her son James VI was Protestant enough to become King of England at the death of Elizabeth I.
I found the lineage of Henry VII daughters ( Henry VIII sisters) to be confusing, I was reminded of student complaints in History discussion groups of there were "just too many Henry's to keep track of." In this case there were too many Mary's and Margaret's to keep track of.
Nevertheless, it was an absorbing read
You DO NEED a royal family geneology chart(s) in front of you. There are so many Henry's, Edward's, Margerate's, etc. There is a chart at the front of the book but it is way too small to be read on a kindle. You'll need to print out bigger ones. Everyone was related to everyone else as the royals from Britain,France, Spain, etc. all married off their children to build various alliances. So how anybody knew where their alliengiances lay, is a mystery to me.
This is a well written, well paced book. Politics, intrigue, scandal, beheadings, marriage, death, it is all there. It's a grand sweep of a book. I would highly recommend it.
This is not an action thriller but when you are finished reading this book you will have more flesh to put onto your understanding of the Tudors and enjoy reading it as well.
Most books about the Tudor Dynasty begin with King Henry VII and end with his granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth I, beginning with the death of King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth. Leanda de Lisle, however, begins the story much earlier, and readers are treated to learning about Owen Tudor, his wife Queen Catherine of Valois, and their two sons Edmund and Jasper. How did a Welsh commoner catch a Dowager Queen? How did their son become betrothed to the daughter of the Duke of Somerset, a Lady of bastard royal blood at that? How did the Duke’s daughter, Margaret Beaufort, build a life and raise her son after losing her husband at age 12 and giving birth at age 13? Leanda de Lisle tells their fascinating life stories, answering these questions and so much more, and in doing so gives readers a glimpse of the glory to come. For most of us, we parent in a way that we hope leaves our children to live in higher stead than we do. The Tudors are no different, and the earliest generations’ efforts, though they could not possibly have been foretold, laid the foundation for the future glory of the Kings, Queens, Queen Consorts, Dukes, Duchesses and assorted other nobility of their bloodline. This is the legacy of the common Welshman Owen Tudor and his “trophy bride”, and this is the legacy many readers will be introduced to as the Tudor family story begins. It’s about time. Cymru Am Byth!
Obviously, a book about the Tudor Dynasty is incomplete without detailing the reigns of the monarchs so ingrained in the memories of all English history enthusiasts, and Leanda de Lisle does not disappoint. Each monarch in turn is highlighted, their challenges, successes and historical contributions clearly detailing how the incremental development of the pigmy nation King Henry VII reigned transformed into the World Empire Queen Elizabeth bequeathed to the Stuarts. Interestingly, de Lisle accomplishes this without focusing comprehensive attention to the typical battles, religious arguments and transformations, politics, and technological advances found in most historical accountings. Instead, she assumes the intelligence of the reader of commonly detailed historical fact and instead focuses upon the actual lives of the monarchs, richly treating the reader to how their life experiences influenced their decision making in how they shaped and ruled their subjects and realm. Also fascinating, de Lisle very convincingly illustrates how women of the Tudor family influenced these monarchs through their parenting, marriage partnerships or sibling relationships. In doing so, readers learn how family dynamics impact the powerful, just as they do the rest of us.
Just what do readers learn about the remarkable women of the Tudor Dynasty? In just a few selected examples, they learn of a Queen Consort acting as Regent who organized a battle against a rival neighboring nation, killing a reigning monarch and much of that nation’s nobility; a brave sister who marries for love in opposition of her brother’s plans for her, that man the King of England; an intellectually brilliant teenager who bravely chooses martyrdom over freedom to hold true to her religious beliefs and moral values; a courageous and strong woman who remarkably leads a successful coup d’état, resulting in her coronation as England’s first female reigning monarch; mothers who deftly insure the safety and success of their “at risk” children living in exile or foreign lands; and Duchesses who deftly survive the changing tides of the dangerous discord inherent in the state sponsored religions so common of the era. Also striking to this book is de Lisle’s convincing ability to dispel common misconceptions of several of the Tudor family women, most notably Margaret Beaufort, Duchess of Richmond; Frances Grey, Duchess of Suffolk; and Queen Mary, Regina.
Tudor The Family Story is non-fiction history story telling at it’s finest. Queen Anne Boleyn Historical Writers strongly recommends this best practice biography to anyone, whether scholar or history enthusiast, with an interest in learning more of England’s most fascinating and famous royal family. Bravo!
I chose this initially because this family is a very distant small twig on our family tree, thought it might give some insight.
Boy did it!
The Tudor's were an amazing family, good and bad, cunning, sharp, selfish, dedicated, just like people are now. This almost read like a novel in that it is well thought out, very well told. The "characters" were made human, one start to understand how they felt, what motivated them and those around them.
This period of time never interested me much because of the way it was taught in school (dry as desert bones), what a shame that I didn't have the author as an instructor back then. (I don't think she was born yet though).
I know this is not a professional review, just one from a very impressed and grateful reader who is reading it again to glean facts I may have missed in the first go 'round.
People are what makes history, to understand the people and their motives helps us understand why things happened and why they will probably happen again and again