This is the first modern biography of Henry VII, and it is long overdue. Penn does an excellent job of pulling together the complicated story of Henry's reign, its improbable and contested beginning, and its tragedies and betrayals. Henry is a difficult man to sympathize with, which perhaps explains the dearth of biographers, but the strains and disappointments of his reign explain a good deal about the subsequent Tudor preoccupations with legitimacy, continental standing, and continuity. This should satisfy both serious history students and those wishing for a general introduction to Tudor England. The narrator is quite good, as well.
This is a very solid and well researched book. I will probably listen to it again because my main problem was that I lost track of some of the characters of Henry VII advisors and they switched from help to hindrance so many times I had trouble keeping track of them, but this is as likely a problem with my memory as with the book. It does a really good job of describing not only Henry VII and his personality but how it came to influence his famous son, Henry VIII. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in English Monarchical history.
Painter, musician, bibliophile...
Having just watched BBC's 1972 dramatic series "In the Shadow of the Tower" and then reading of the discovery of Richard III's body in the car park, I decided to go back a little further and learn more about the man who started the dynasty that has become so glamorized and popular, often at the expense of solid fact.
How easy it to overlook Henry VII, who is left in the shade by some of his larger-than-life children and grandchildren! I have been guilty of this myself, having read about the Tudors for a good thirty years now. But in this biography, Thomas Penn brings the story of a complex and unusual man to life.
I wouldn't say Henry Tudor was a man most of us would like --- we might even "love to hate" him. But I found him fascinating nonetheless. A highly intelligent, deeply suspicious and shrewd man, he sometimes reminds one of a spider weaving a web. Or a dark master of marionettes. But there is more to him than his reputation for parsimony and intrigue, as you will find.
One of the great joys of reading history is when you find a book that makes you want to learn even more about the "supporting" characters. I found "The Winter King" to be one of those books. I have a whole list of people I want to learn more about, which means I'll be going back in time to revisit the Wars of the Roses along with much else besides.
I would gladly read another book by Thomas Penn. Simon Vance's narration made this one especially splendid. Highly recommended for devotees of English history.
Also recommended: G.J. Meyer's "The Tudors," a veritable omnibus of the three generations that ruled England.
Winter King is a detailed, clearly written and logical account of the life of Henry VII. I had previously read little about this English king, founder of the Tudor dynasty, so I appreciated the depth the author provided in this biography of the man. However, Henry wasn't a particularly admirable or charismatic person, so while learning this much about him was "good for my mind," it was not especially enjoyable or inspiring.
I recommend this book only for readers who are seriously interested in the Tudors and want a more complete understanding of the man who began their period of rule. The account explains much about the infamous Henry VIII who more than made up for his father's basic dullness with his own flamboyant, ostentatious reign. In many obvious ways he counter-scripted his father's style of kingship. However, both men were very aware of the tenuousness of their claim to the English throne and were therefore scrupulous in surrounding themselves and their court with a number of blatant outward symbols of royalty and wealth. They both could be extremely ruthless in holding onto power and obtaining what they wanted personally, showing little regard for the rights of their subjects or even those of their own family members.
Listening to Winter King was a worthwhile use of my time because the biography was well done, but mostly because I have a fascination with Elizabeth I and this book fills in an important piece of her family puzzle.
This book is incredibly in-depth and yet an easy listen.
This is the first Simon Vance performance I have heard, but I would definitely listen to another.
"fabric artist and quilter"
This was a most interesting book - we all know about Henry 8 and Elizabeth 1 and probably know about Bloody Mary and the fact that Edward, H8's only son, reigned for a short time but the first in the Tudor dynasty is glossed over. After this book I don't understand why - Henry VII is a most interesting and complex man. He was also a most unfortunate and unlucky man loosing his son and heir and his wife in quick succession - he never full recovered from that despite the fact his second son was to go on to be the most famous King in English history.
There was lots of information and interesting facts and it has rewetted my appetite for all things Tudor. I enjoyed the book and recommend it for those interested in Tudor history and to those that want to know more about H8's father.
I am a very eclectic reader. I read non-fiction as well as fiction. I am curious about everything, except math.
Simon Vance does an excellent job narrating Winter King. Note to big authors: hire him for all your audio books! The only reason this book does not get 5 stars on the story is because it is very in depth about what Henry VII did to keep the nobles in check, the financial blackmail, the use of obscure laws and crippling fines. For someone who is a casual history buff, it will probably be too much. For someone who is interested in the Tudors and especially how a man with very little claim to the throne gets it and manages to keep it, it is a great book.
Everyone has heard and read about Henry VIII. But his father, Henry VII???
I certainly knew very little before listening to this book but know much more now. Thomas Penn's magnificently written biography is a magnificent, interesting all encompassing read. Simon Vance, once again, is an outstanding narrator.
This is a must if history interests you.
An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.
This was a great follow up book from the Plantagenets book I had just finished. Henry VII was an interesting man in his own right and I enjoyed learning about how he ruled.
His mother, Margaret was quite eccentric enough to enjoy seeing what she would do next.
No particular scene but I enjoyed the family of Henry VII and his wife Elizabeth of York and how they really bonded and cared for each other.
When Arthur died and both parents took it very hard. All their hopes and dreams had been with him and it was all shattered. Then Elizabeth died and Henry was alone in his grief. Very sad.
I love historical novels and this book reads a good deal like one. It is a history though and not a novel and the facts are quite interesting.
audio addict! Mostly interested in history and some historical fiction. Will Durant is my all time favorite. Loving the Great Courses too.
If you have an interest in the war of the roses or in the Tudor dynasty, this book is a must read!
In this book, all the characters who make such a stir in the Tudor history appear, even those who make history all on their own... The Dudley's first appearance, the Howard's and Boleyn's; then we read of the Borgia Pope, Alexandre and his famously evil son Cesare; even the Hapsburgs (Marie Antoinette's powerful family) make an appearance. The list goes on... Henry himself is a most unique and intriguing character, who lived a difficult life to bring stability to England in many ways. one of the most important to him was ending the civil wars! He eliminated any chance for a contested succession, among many other things he did, but is not remembered for.
On its own merit, it's very well written and doesn't feel like a textbook. It's fascinating, well-read, and I was sorry to finish the book if the little known but ultimately extremely important monarch: Henry VII!
Very impressive book!