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on 22 May 2017
Firstly, if you wish a quick lesson under 500 pages on Henry VIII wife Anne Boleyn then you are most certainly in the wrong place. You need to find another book, after all there are enough books on Anne Boleyn.
This book delves deeply into Anne's life and Ives has obviously done his homework. It is by far the most important book on Anne Boleyn I have ever read and do not expect anything to come close to this work.
There is no point in me dissecting the book any further than it has been done below. There are some reviews below that I thought were a great deal more helpful than I could possibly give. All I can say is I am proud to own a book on a woman who was for a time one of the most influential and powerful in England and a main contributer of the Reformation.
Finally you will notice that you will want to read some of these reviews before parting with your hard earned money. You will continue to notice a multitude of 5 Stars a couple of 4 and a single 1. Yes, you read 1. Now reading the reason for this score is exactly the same as me ordering a book on Chinese and scoring it 1 because I could not understand it. It is under the heading of ' Terrible. ' If I thought it would make any difference I would ask for it to be removed. Personally, I am disgusted with the remark and believe it should be removed.
You can now STOP looking for the ultimate Book on Anne Boleyn, Ives has created the very last word.
This Book has been named The Bible On Anne and I believe that is exactly what it is.
Eric Ives....this is truly a Masterpiece.
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on 13 July 2017
I haven't gotten particularly far in this book to be honest so perhaps this isn't the best review however I would say that its because it doesn't seem to provide really good information about Anne Boleyn herself. I personally felt that goes on a bit too much about what she may have worn at particular events in her life rather than her persona. I realise it will be difficult to get a pretty accurate record to the true woman herself however I would've liked more information about Anne's possible personality rather than so much detail into her fashion, which is why I've dwindled away from the book.
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on 28 July 2012
(4.5 stars)

Ives has been studying Anne Boleyn and the early Tudor court for a large part of his scholarly career and this book is a fine testament to his research skills and knowledge. Elegant, authoritative, with full attention to the historical sources and their agendas, this assesses in detail what we can know about Anne Boleyn.

By navigating his way through the slander, the innuendo, the sensationalism and the prurience that has accrued around the Boleyn name from the time she emerged into Henry's court in the early 1520s, Ives gives us a historicised and plausible Anne, one untainted by recent fictions (The Other Boleyn Girl, The Tudors) and some of the more unprofessional `popular' historians.

My only query is why Ives' discussion on the sources is chapter 4, after we have already made use of some of them? That apart, this is exemplary history writing - substantial, rigorous and academically-impeccable, yet still an entertaining and compelling read.
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on 15 August 2017
It's obvious that Ives loves his subject, that he's an expert on the period. But it's almost to the extent that it's difficult for a green horn (such as myself) to understand. I picked up this book because I wanted to better educate myself on Boleyn. I'm not an absolute stranger to her times, I know her life story in brush stokes in the umpteen times I've learnt about her at school or watching "Wolf Hall" and "The Tudors," but I still found this biography difficult.

For a start, Ives promises to keep things chronological but then jumps around in Anne's timeline at an athletic pace. The most I take issue with this is the structure of the chapters - first one is Anne's continental education, her start in life and family, how she met Henry and where. So that's all the action, all the plot so to speak.

But then the following chapters take two step backwards, the analyses of her portraits so we could know what she looked like. The chapter following is a discussion of the biased source material which of course is all the source material throughout her life. Surely these would be better placed before the "plot"?

I gave up after these chapters with no further understanding on Tudor society or even Anne Boleyn. At the moment I'm whipping through Amanda Foreman's "Georgiana, The Duchess of Devonshire." The late 18th century is something that I'm completely unfamiliar with, but under Foreman's guidance I feel that this society is second nature to me, and Georgiana a person I could meet in the street. Anne with Ives always felt like a subject long dead, Tudor society impregnable.

I'm not going to recommend "The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn" for beginners, but I will recommend it to those who have a greater acquaintance with Anne and know her timeline and the period thoroughly.

My overall summary
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on 14 October 2013
This is essentially a revised version of Ives' Anne Boleyn published in back in 1986. if you have read the 1986 book you may feel that it's not necessary to buy this new version and, it has to be admitted, you are probably right. Having said that, this new treatment is not a simple re-hash of the previous volume, it does have differences and new thinking is evident. Both books carry Ives' hallmarks of erudite scholarship, keen perception and unparalleled understanding of his subject. It is doubtful that his work on Anne will ever be bettered. Ives examines every avenue of her story as he pieces together an in depth narrative built upon an appreciation of a wide range of source material. Not the least important aspect of the work is that it gives Anne her rightful place in the history of the English Reformation: for example, by influencing Henry's reading of key reformed texts and gathering about her an influential circle of reformers. To modern eyes, too many innocent heads were separated from their bodies under the Tudors, including that of Anne herself. But she was so much more than just another woman who dallied with and married a king.

Some reviewers here have clearly found the book hard going. In fairness,this is not a lightweight offering. Ives is never superficial. Those looking for a 'fast food' approach to their history reading will almost certainly lack the staying power that this work demands of its readers and so would best look elsewhere for their entertainment but be warned, in doing so, they will be the poorer for it. On the other hand, if you are someone prepared to stay the course, to have your preconceptions challenged as you seek to develop a deeper appreciation of the past then this book is highly recommended. Get yourself a copy of Ives' book and prepare to be engaged and enthralled.
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on 17 April 2015
Thorough, thorough, thorough. I don't know what else I expected from an Eric Ives biography but this book had an incredible amount of research and discussed her life so thoroughly from childhood to her unfortunate execution. Eric Ives challenges myths often disputed between scholars for example if Anne had any notable deformities and her most probably birth date to name a few. If you are a huge Tudor history fan or just a fan of Anne herself then I would recommend this book, however it is a very longwinded and challenging read not for the faint-hearted as no detail is spared.
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on 14 April 2012
This book is probably the best book ever written about Anne Boleyn. It is wise and judicious and builds a portrait of Anne and her life that is absolutely fascinating. It is scholarly yet accessible to the average reader. Eric Ives debunks a lot of myths about Anne Boleyn by constantly analysing and challenging the historical sources to get to the truth. So many of the sources on Anne's short life are prejudiced because of religious politics but I think that Eric Ives rises above that tries to get to the heart of what Anne was really like and how she lived. He doesn't just concentrate on sex and relationships but looks at Anne's religious life, what she believed and what her cultural tastes were in art and music and how these tastes may have influenced the age she lived in. It is very refreshing to read a biography about Anne that goes beyond presenting the reader with female stereotypes; she was a strong woman who was never afraid to assert her own personality and beliefs, and that is why Henry VII fell in love with her. In the end these traits lead to her downfall, which makes her story such a tragedy. I thoroughly recommend this book.
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on 12 April 2017
Amazing book! Ives gives a very thorough history of Anne and her life (and death) in the Court of Henry VIII. I'd definitely recommend giving this a read if you're interested in Anne Boleyn.
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on 1 September 2017
Outstanding, well reasearched well whiten.
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on 26 November 2012
Very detailed but very readable. Anne Boleyn's character and her relationships with her supporters and her enemies are based on an intelligent reading of the available evidence. Her life at the Tudor Court of England and at the royal courts of France and, in what is now Belgium, portray an intelligent and ambitious woman who was at the centre of far reaching political and events.
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