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Now a major film, this is a dramatic reinterpretation of the life of Mary Queen of Scots by one of the leading historians of this period.
Winner of the Whitbread Biography Award
For centuries, Mary, Queen of Scots has been a figure of scholarly debate. Where many have portrayed her as the weak woman to Elizabeth's rational leader, John Guy reassesses the young queen, finding her far more politically shrewd than previously believed.
Crowned Queen of Scotland at nine months old, Queen of France by age sixteen and widowed the following year, Guy paints Mary as a commanding and savvy queen who navigated the European power struggles of the time to her advantage.
Her life was one of drama and conflict - Scottish lords constructed labyrinthine plots to wrest power from her and attempts to prove her claim to the English throne were thwarted by English ministers bent on protecting Elizabeth.
Mary Queen of Scots re-examines the original sources, resulting in a riveting new argument surrounding Mary's involvement in her husband Lord Darnely's murder and her subsequent marriage to his suspected assassin.
Guy's accessible treatment of the well-trodden story, his deft storytelling and insightful new arguments provide compelling and dramatic reading.
'An absorbing biography . . . meticulously researched . . . scholarly and intriguing' Peter Ackroyd,The Times
'Rarely have first-class scholarship and first-class storytelling been so effectively combined' John Adamson, Daily Telegraph
John Guy is a Fellow of Clare College, University of Cambridge. His bestselling books include A Daughter's Love: Thomas and Margaret More, Thomas Becket: Warrior, Priest, Rebel, Victim: A 900-Year-Old Story Retold, Tudor England, The Children of Henry VIII, and 'My Heart is My Own': the Life of Mary Queen of Scots, which won the Whitbread Biography Award and the Marsh Biography Award. He appears regularly on BBC radio and television.
Previously published as 'My Heart is My Own'.
From the winner of the 2004 Whitbread Biography Award and the Marsh Biography Award John Guy, comes Thomas Becket, a lively and enlightening new study that brings a colossal figure of British history vividly to life.
Behind the legend, there was a man.
In 1120 the wife of a Norman draper's merchant gave birth to a baby boy in London's bustling Cheapside. Despite his sickly constitution, middle-class background and unremarkable abilities, he rose within the space of thirty-five years to become the most powerful man in the kingdom, second only to Henry II himself.
At his height, he led seven hundred knights into battle, brokered peace between nations, held the ear of the Pope and brought one of the strongest rulers in Christendom to his knees. And within three years of his bloody assassination, he was a saint whose cult had spread the length and breadth of Europe, and a legend who remains as controversial and compelling today as he was during his life.
The story of Thomas Becket is the story of an enigma, as well as of one of the most tumultuous periods in English history. Drawing on a vast array of contemporary records, personal letters and first-hand accounts, John Guy has reconstructed a psychologically compelling, stunningly nuanced and utterly convincing account of this most remarkable man, the dramatic times in which he lived and the pivotal role he played in his nation's history.
'Lively, effortlessly readable, superb. A triumph' The Times
'Suspenseful, meticulously researched . . . however well you think you know the story, it is well worth the read' Financial Times
'Wonderfully moving and subtle. Reading of the assassination is almost unbearably intense and brings tears to one's eye' Daily Express
'Compelling, marvellously measured, entertainingly astute, and in places positively moving' The Independent
'A beautifully layered portrait of one of the most complex characters in English history . . . not only corrects many historical errors and uncertainties, but merits reading more than once, for the sheer joy of its superb storytelling' The Times
'Scintillates with energetic scene-setting, giving us a tactile, visual feel for early medieval England . . . breathes new life into an oft-told tale' Financial Times
'Vivid and extremely readable. The most accessible Life of Thomas Becket to be published in recent years' The Times Literary Supplement
John Guy is an award-winning historian, accomplished broadcaster and a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge. His previous books include My Heart is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots, winner of the 2004 Whitbread Biography Award and the Marsh Biography Award, the highly acclaimed dual biography A Daughter's Love: Thomas and Margaret More and a history, Tudor England, which has sold over 250,000 copies worldwide.
An ageing queen, an heirless state, conspiracy all round: here is the court of Elizabeth I as never known before
History has pictured Elizabeth I as Gloriana, an icon of strength and power. But the reality, especially during her later years, was not so simple.
In 1583 Elizabeth is fifty years old, past childbearing, but her greatest challenges are still to come: the Spanish Armada; the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots; relentless plotting among her courtiers. This gripping and vivid portrait of her life and times - often told in her own words ('You know I am no morning woman') - reveals a woman who is fallible, increasingly insecure, and struggling to lead Britain. This is the real Elizabeth, for the first time.
Looking at all aspects of the period, from beginning to end, he considers Tudor politics, religion, and economics, as well as issues relating to gender and minority rule, and the art, architecture, and social and material culture of the time. Introducing all of the key Tudor monarchs, Guy considers the impact the Tudor period had not only at the time, but also the historical legacy it left behind.
ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Leading British historian John Guy, author of Thomas Becket and My Heart is My Own, uncovers one of the most touching and compelling family relationships in history in A Daughter's Love.
Sir Thomas More is a stalwart figure of British history. Lord Chancellor in Henry Tudor's government, opposed to Henry VIII's marriage to Anne Boleyn and famously executed for treason, he is a well-studied and eminent figure.
John Guy's revealing new work sheds light on a little known aspect of More, as a politician and as a man. His daughter Margaret played a key role in More's private and public life, but has been all but hidden from his story.
Neglected from previous historical works, A Daughter's Love uses original sources to reveal a deep and loving relationship between father and daughter. Margaret, a prodigy encouraged by her father, was highly skilled in Latin and Greek, even emending texts from the prominent scholar Erasmus. She became her father's advisor, confidante and friend, exchanging long, loving letters during his incarceration and providing comfort in his final hours. It is these letters, which she smuggled from the Tower, that provide compelling new insights into the famed politician.
A Daughter's Love is a riveting new portrait of Thomas More and the daughter who played a central role in his life and work, from one of Britain's most acclaimed historians.
'An arresting reassessment . . . An outstanding talent for stop-the-reader-dead-in-their-tracks gripping storytelling. Guy's convincing page-turner of a double life has restored my faith in biography as a genre' Lisa Jardine, Sunday Times
'Gripping . . . Guy's scholarship is irreproachable' Independent on Sunday
'Brilliantly observed and told . . . [Guy's] absorbing, thoroughly researched book does justice to two exemplary women - and reminds us that history is full of ironies' Claire Tomalin, The New York Times
John Guy is an award-winning historian, accomplished broadcaster and a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge. His previous books include My Heart is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots, winner of the 2004 Whitbread Biography Award and the Marsh Biography Award, a history, Tudor England, which has sold over 250,000 copies worldwide and a biography of Thomas Becket published in 2012.
Charismatic, insatiable and cruel, Henry VIII was, as John Guy shows, a king who became mesmerized by his own legend - and in the process destroyed and remade England.
Said to be a 'pillager of the commonwealth', this most instantly recognizable of kings remains a figure of extreme contradictions: magnificent and vengeful; a devout traditionalist who oversaw a cataclysmic rupture with the church in Rome; a talented, towering figure who nevertheless could not bear to meet people's eyes when he talked to them.
In this revealing new account, John Guy looks behind the mask into Henry's mind to explore how he understood the world and his place in it - from his isolated upbringing and the blazing glory of his accession, to his desperate quest for fame and an heir and the terrifying paranoia of his last, agonising, 54-inch-waisted years.
"The Only Book About Cardinal Wolsey Written Specifically
To Help YOU Get An 'A*' In A-Level History"
Meticulously Researched and Referenced - Your Long Search For Reliable Information About Wolsey Is Over
This fully updated (2013) book covers every Wolsey-related topic relevant to the AS/A2-level syllabus...
The Rise of Cardinal Wolsey
- Wolsey's rise to power
- How and why he came to emerge as the King's chief minister
- The political power of Cardinal Wolsey
Wolsey and Henry VIII
- Was Wolsey a dominant figure or the King's faithful servant?
- Wolsey and the royal authority of Henry VIII
- Wolsey, Henry VIII, and the marriage to Catherine of Aragon
After nearly thirty years of intense, if inconclusive debate about Henry VIII's relationship with his ministers, a consensus is finally emerging. The king in his twenties and early thirties, it is generally agreed, was less consistently the author of his own policy than Edward IV or Henry VII, but it is wrong to cast him either as an 'absentee landlord' or as a 'mental defective'.
Domestic policies of Cardinal Wolsey
- Successes and failures
- Cardinal Wolsey and the Church
- Opposition to his reforms
- Could Wolsey have done more to reform government?
- Strengthening the royal authority of Henry VIII
Wolsey's domestic policy is often subordinated to consideration of his foreign policy, but this lopsidedness springs from an imbalance in the sources. Although intact at the time of his fall, Wolsey's files of domestic correspondence were subsequently broken up and partly lost or destroyed, whereas the bulk of his foreign papers survived. This makes it appear as if his priorities lay in foreign policy, which is incorrect.
Foreign policy of Cardinal Wolsey
- Cardinal Wolsey's desire for peace
- Satisfying the ambitions of Henry VIII
- Wolsey and the Field of the Cloth of Gold
- Wolsey and the promomtion of peace
- The degree to which Wolsey's foreign policy was defensive
- The effectiveness of Wolsey's foreign policy
- Success and failures
Traditional accounts of Wolsey's foreign policy have attempted to structure a mass of detailed facts around a single organizational theme. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the emphasis was on Wolsey as the impresario of a European 'balance of power'. But this mantra neither existed nor had conceptual meaning in the 16th century.
The Fall of Cardinal Wolsey
- Why Wolsey fell from power
- The role of Wolsey's enemies in his fall
- Wolsey f
1. A ‘mid-Tudor crisis’ re-engineered
2. Should the reign of Mary Tudor be considered unsuccessful?
3. The Religious Settlement of 1559 - ****NEW IN THE 2ND EDITION****
4. Elizabeth I and her ministers to 1587
5. Was faction the driving force in Elizabeth politics before 1587?
6. The power of the House of Commons
7. Elizabethan religion and religious politics
8. Elizabeth: the last years
9. Elizabeth: the differing views of historians
Select bibliography (refers to historians mentioned above)
Chronology of events
Nothing drove Henry VIII, England's wealthiest and most powerful king, more than producing a legitimate male heir and so perpetuating his dynasty. To that end, he married six wives, became the subject of the most notorious divorce case of the sixteenth century, and broke with the pope, all in an age of international competition and warfare, social unrest and growing religious intolerance and discord.
Henry fathered four living children, each by a different mother. Their interrelationships were often scarred by jealously, mutual distrust, sibling rivalry, even hatred. Possessed of quick wits and strong wills, their characters were defined partly by the educations they received, and partly by events over which they had no control.
Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond, although recognized as the king's son, could never forget his illegitimacy. Edward died while still in his teens, desperately plotting to exclude his half-sisters from the throne. Mary's world was shattered by her mother's divorce and her own unhappy marriage. Elizabeth was the most successful, but also the luckiest. Even so, she lived with the knowledge that her father had ordered her mother's execution, was often in fear of her own life, and could never marry
the one man she truly loved.
Henry's children idolized their father, even if they differed radically over how to perpetuate his legacy. To tell their stories, John Guy returns to the archives, drawing on a vast array of contemporary records, personal letters, and first-hand accounts.
This brief historical introduction to Thomas More explores the social, political and religious factors that formed the original context of his life and writings, and considers how those factors affected the way he was initially received.
What was his impact on the world at the time and what were the key ideas and values connected with him?
Part Two: The Legacy (Why does it matter?)
This second part explores the intellectual and cultural ‘afterlife’ of Thomas More, and considers the ways in which his impact has lasted and been developed in different contexts by later generations.
Why is he still considered important today? In what ways is his legacy contested or resisted? And what aspects of his legacy are likely to continue to influence the world in the future?
The work has been substantially revised and updated for this edition. In particular, the reigns of Henry VII, Edward VI, and Philip and Mary are comprehensively reassessed.