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Tudors: A History of England Volume II (History of England Vol 2) Hardcover – Unabridged, 13 Sep 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 126 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Unabridged, 13 Sep 2012
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; 1 edition (13 Sept. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230706401
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230706408
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 4.4 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 208,722 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"Religious upheaval and dissent peppers Ackroyd s enjoyable book as lavishly as it coloured the reigns of Henry and all three of his children... Peter Ackroyd relishes the period s colourful details... As so often in Ackroyd s books there are irresistible small details of everyday life in historic London" --Daily Express (4-star review)

"Ackroyd delivers the grisly annals of Tudor persecutions with an eye for detailed pathos... Ackroyd evokes the purging of Catholic popular piety with a controlled, rueful passion... [He] neatly avoids imposing a 21st-century moral sensibility on the question of executions by warning against cultural anachronism... [A] superbly accessible and readable History of England" -- Financial Times

"Historian Peter Ackroyd clearly relishes the wicked glamour of the family which presided over the Reformation, saw off the Spanish Armada, founded the British Empire and left the country they ruled a great European power... The Tudors, as Ackroyd reminds us in this fluent and colourful second volume of his History of England, were more than just a dysfunctional ruling family. Some of our greatest names were true Tudors too... Such a shame that the Stuarts followed and ruined it all. That s a story for Ackroyd s next volume, and I can t wait" --Sunday Express

"[Ackroyd] has a matchless sense of place, and of the transformations of place across long stretches of time; he is also an inventive and playful English stylist... The central drama of the Tudor age was of course the break with Rome and the transformation of England over three generations into a Protestant stronghold. On this Ackroyd is refreshingly immune to some ingrained national myths"
--Standpoint Magazine

"Of all the dynasties to occupy the English throne, none has imprinted itself more durably on the nation s consciousness than the Tudors... Peter Ackroyd s retelling of their tale forms the second volume of a planned six-volume history of England. This is the sort of Everest-sized project that few serious historians have attempted since the great Lord Macaulay in the 19th Century... The story moves forward in short, well-dramatised scenes. Plot lines and personalities are clearly drawn. And the focus rarely shifts from the world of the court that epicentre of conspiracy and intrigue. Ackroyd has a keen eye for the curious detail... Ackroyd refers to himself as a modern-day chronicler of the past, a recorder of specific moments and events and at this there is no doubting he is a master" --Mail on Sunday

"Well crafted... Ackroyd is at his most effective when tracing England's religious change" --Sunday Times

Book Description

The second volume of Peter Ackroyd's masterful history of England: Tudors

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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A superb overview of the Tudor period, written with elegance, colour and verve. Ackroyd condenses a great deal of information into a relatively short space, and the narrative cracks along beautifully. Even if you already know a great deal about this famous family, I would wholeheartedly recommend this stylish book.
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Great overview
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love it
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Short book but well researched and i enjoyed reading it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
All good. On time and as described. Happy.
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The purpose of a historian is to take often conflicting and confusing events and turn them into an understandable and (hopefully) enjoyable narrative. In this case the author has succeeded.

The book takes us from the beginnings of the reign of Henry VIII through to the end of Elizabeth I. in other words, virtually the whole of the 16th century. Unlike others historians, like the book I read recently read about Caterina Sforza (Tigress of Forli: The Life of Caterina Sforza), the author is less concerned about character and more concerned about events. All the monarchs are mainly pegs around whom the many happenings of this period revolve, but that does not diminish the quality of the book. It's just another way to treat history.

I also like the fact that the chapters are fairly short; there are over forty (in just over 350 pages). This means that it is possible to put the book down easily or read it in short bursts without losing the plot, or getting overwhelmed by the details.

Although familiar with the Tudor period, I am no way an expert. In fact I read the book to remind myself of the events. The book is not overly academic. There are many quotes, but they are not referenced (one of the minor flaws) but this does did not hinder my enjoyment.

Perfect as a paperback, or as I read it, on an e-reader.
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Format: Paperback
This is very much history of the character that prevailed in my childhood 50 plus years ago. The focus is on the history of the Tudor dynasty (starting with Henry VIII) and the religious evolution of England during the 16th century. In much of the book foreign affairs are largely ignored or treated only cursorily. Social, cultural, constitutional and economic history are little discussed. For the most part, even the great aristocratic families feature only in so far as they have dealings with the monarchy. If you can accept those limitations, the story is well told, though with a very traditional interpretation of the sequence of events and the character of the monarchs - again, the approach I recall from childhood. There is little that is original, and little attempt to reflect much recent scholarship or make the reader question a fairly simplistic interpretation of history. For me the book's limitations are major defects.
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Format: Paperback
Ackroyd writes,"When we turn from the affairs of the great to the smaller lives of England we often find misery and discontent."
Yes, well , I am sure we do but you wouldn't know it from this book because he simply turns his back on any sort of social history whatsoever and gives us no idea of how even the middle classes might have lived let alone the humble.
And while he purports to be narrating a synthesis of the latest research and findings of this period there are many serious omissions as, for example,of the intimate life of Elizabeth which have been common knowledge since the late sixties and which go a long way to explain why she never married.
He writes well and is easy to read but in the end you leave his book with the feeling of being bashed about the head too many times such is the relentlessness of his account of executions and betrayals.
There's much more to history than this.
What about the other possible view of history as summed up so succinctly by Don DeLillo: "History is longing on a large scale."?
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