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Customer Review

on 26 February 2012
As far as this reader is concerned: any work of history which connects the reader as closely as this book does, to original research documents and other sources, is a book worth reading.
This is not a chronologically-balanced account of the reign, in the sense that approximately two-thirds of the book concentrates on the second half of the period, with a virtual magnifying glass being applied to the end of the reign, from the death of the king's wife to the king's own demise (approximately ten years). It is interesting, because it portrays the administrative aspect of the first Tudor monarchy and gives an insight into how a ruler becomes an outright tyrant. It is interesting again, in that his son's reign followed a similar trajectory i.e. increasing paranoia, insecurity and obsessions with finance and the Tudor succession.
However, this biography does not provide answers to (what is for this writer) the most interesting question of the later 15th century: how did the English monarchy convert from being primarily a military institution, to primarily an administrative institution. Therefore: how was the English nobility disarmed and subdued? Why was there no significant aristocratic opposition to the Tudor monarchy within England? In other words: how and why did the Wars of the Roses end so decisively? This question is not addressed in this book.
Even though the last years are examined very, very closely, one is still struggling to form an idea of how a late-medieval monarchy transfers (peacefully) from father to son. Apart from any other consideration: how did the Tudor couret differ from a Plantagenet court?
So: a good and accurate history, but not one which will stand in terms of authority or revelation.
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