For the first time in decades, here, in a single volume, is a fresh look at the fabled Tudor dynasty, comprising some of the most enigmatic figures ever to rule a country. Acclaimed historian G. J. Meyer reveals the flesh-and-bone reality in all its wild excess.
In 1485, young Henry Tudor, whose claim to the throne was so weak as to be almost laughable, crossed the English Channel from France at the head of a ragtag little army and took the crown from the family that had ruled England for almost four hundred years. Half a century later his son, Henry VIII, desperate to rid himself of his first wife in order to marry a second, launched a reign of terror aimed at taking powers no previous monarch had even dreamed of possessing. In the process he plunged his kingdom into generations of division and disorder, creating a legacy of blood and betrayal that would blight the lives of his children and the destiny of his country.
The boy king Edward VI, a fervent believer in reforming the English church, died before bringing to fruition his dream of a second English Reformation. Mary I, the disgraced daughter of Catherine of Aragon, tried and failed to reestablish the Catholic Church and produce an heir. And finally came Elizabeth I, who devoted her life to creating an image of herself as Gloriana the Virgin Queen but, behind that mask, sacrificed all chance of personal happiness in order to survive.
©2010 G.J. Meyer (P)2010 Random House
Don't get this if you wish to continue enjoying the myth of The Tudors, Elizabeth, in particular. Throughout my many years of the myth, I had a sneaking suspicion there was a lot more going on and not all of it was as had been presented. The common people of that time had been yanked in so many directions it couldn't have been a good time for them. Bloody and God awful is what it seems to have been.
I enjoyed how thorough the author is and for being disabused of some of my mistaken beliefs about this family.
No, the book made me feel sick inside when you realize how crazy the Tudors really were. G. J. Meyer takes away the glossy photo paper and lets you see them all as they were.
Can't change history. I am grateful for the insights. I'm still rather taken aback at how self posessed and vain they all were.
No this is my first time listening. He didn't sound all that enthusiastic in his topic, and I think it is reflected in his inflection. Also the tone of this voice is a little to "bassy" and hurt my ear drums, so I could only listen to him for a couple of hours at a time. This was after I fixed the audio out on various radios to tone down how deep he sounded.
Yes, but the narrator prevented me from doing so.
Other than Norman Cantor, I have never had my eyes opened more about the underbelly of that reality. As Cantor reviled "honour & chivalry as tools to convince men to go to battle for little to no gain" Meyer showed me how very little acclaim and worth the Tudors. Their fame similar to the Borgias is not out of good deeds and solemnity, but due to their notorious and mercurial natures. Meyer even managers to take the darling Gloriana and prove what a terror and shallow human being she really was. I used to think that I would have loved to have met her, now I think I'd rather watch from the sidelines. None of them were "great leaders" other than Henry VII. He managed to get the world in order again for England (even if he taxed and financially penalized them to death), but he provided stability with the lack of vanity that was so normal for the day.Meyer has opened my eyes to at least continue my research in text that show less favorable light for the Tudor Era.
G.J. Meyer writes in a fashion that is interesting, historically deep, and all with a great narrative flow. This book and his history of WW1 are among my favorites.
I've read/listened to a lot of Tudor history. This was the harshest book by far, but I learned much. The breakdown of the back-story is awesome. If you can take a step back from the much loved Gloriana of mythos - you will enjoy this book greatly.
Yes, if he or she were interested in basic historical facts and the strategic details of the wars and politics.
Pleasant but dry. More inflection, emotion, etc.., would have been more enjoyable.
As someone who has read extensively on the Tudor dynasty, I actually enjoyed the different perspective that this book offered, which was overwhelming negative about the whole lot of the family. It is not unusual to find books that condemn the behavior of Henry (VII and VIII) and Mary, but this book calls to the carpet, so to speak, the actual ramifications of the reign of Gloriana (admittedly one of my childhood heros), both during her lifetime and after. It seems well-researched and while negative, fair in it's analysis of the facts presented.
I would listen to this book over and over. For such an interesting read there is a surprising amount of detail in here. Each monarch brings with them new faces to the court. These new power struggles and jealousies lead to parallel intrigues. As for the monarchs themselves, the Tudors remain one of history's great intrigues.
I suppose the closest I would find to this may be A history of the Isles by Norman Davies, and I suppose the reason is that the author's passion for subject becomes so infectious, without loosing their ability to be highly critical or controversial.
It was a really great listen. You usually know from the first 5 minutes if the narrator is going to be a winner. Sometimes the best narrators are the ones you don't notice. When the work involves a fair bit of detail it needs to be delivered without distraction but with authority.
No. I enjoyed mulling it over. There is too much historical detail to take in and I mean that in the best way possible.
I will listen to this book again and again. If I had one complaint it would be the lack of information regarding the Tudors in Ireland. The Tudors sowed the seeds of five hundred years of conflict as well as laying the groundwork for the great suffering for the coming generations of the native Irish people. Although in the past English historians have rarely bothered themselves with England/Britain's interference in Ireland, and Irish students of history always have to read English historians through a certain prism because of this. I felt that this was a study that could have made room for it but plainly didn't. But a great book for all that.
Love having someone read me a story. Fires in the hearth, rain on the roof, sunny days and surf. Good friends, good food and J S Bach.
Myer in the preface clearly writes, The Tudors is not a book of Scholarship. If it does anything, it does inform some readers that movies and TV drama are artistic devices that do not portray known history.
As I followed the audio, I did ask myself why the Tudors do appeal to a lot of people, even 500 years after their strutting and fretting across the European stage.
There was a lot going on at the time and as many of us are not multilingual we tend to follow what was written in English.
These are the days still of men in armour on horseback, jousting and lots of bludgeoning and sword thrusts. There are castles and dungeons, treachery and greed. Later there are pirates on the high seas and gold and more gold coming from Central and South America.
The Reformation is just kicking off and the Saint Bartholmew's Day massacre waiting to happen. The Turks are looking and moving into west.
While Elizabeth 1 may have had very bad breath and had killed faithful friend and enemy alike she did survive for a long time through this turmoil. And well, Henry was a king and wanted a son. I suppose his desires were transparent. Other monarch's in other countries used poisin and 'chance accidents'. The Tudors did ruin and kill a lot of people. As Rulers I wonder how much has really changed to this day. Cynical?
Thomas Moore has the last word before he is executed. A warning to us all.
The story jumps around a bit, and there seems to be little point writing in that way. At times there are interesting digressions. Robyn Sachs read well
If you are really interested, Penn's "Winter King" is also on Audible and about Henry's dad.
And he really was a nasty piece of work.
Yes.It was very informative but very easy to digest
I really couldnt dicriminate between one or the other
There wasnt any one scene
No,it was 24 hours long.
This was a very informative history of the 1500's in england.It provides a good deal of background and insight into the major players in the tudor drama. It was also presented in a digestable interesting fashion without becoming Dumbed down
Very good narration.
Yes, but impossible to do unless you're an insomniac.
If they had taught history in this way in school, I would have been an A student.
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