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
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.
I would! I listen mostly on my commute to work, reading on the bus sometimes makes me sick. Having the opportunity to listen to the book I was dying to read was an awesome choice!
Anne Boleyn, although she doesn't get as much story time (for obvious reasons).
His awesome voice :)
If that were possible, yes! However it's over 24 hours long, so thats not really an option :)
This is such a well produced and superbly narrated audio book I think it has raised the bar in my mind of how good audio books can be.
The content was truly fascinating and presented very well for non-history experts. I thoroughly recommend it to anyone wanting a bit more history than you are getting on "The Tudors" tv series. Robin Sachs has a wonderful voice and diction we can only dream of. I will forever be attempting to reproduce his exacting but not overwrought pronounciation of parliament, among many others.
I'm now hooked on history and working my way through other similar titles in ajoining historical periods.
There have been enough books, movies and TV series about the Tudors and the rise of Protestantism to fill a large warehouse. But this book earns a place on anyone's reading list with an essential telling of the six Tudor monarchs from Henry VII to Elizabeth I. This is a richly detailed history with enough sweep and detail to satisfy the general reader and the specialist. I was surprised to feel some empathy for Mary I ("Bloody Mary"), a smart, strong woman who is usually ignored by most historians. She allowed her deep-seated religious prejudice against Protestants to overwhelm her many forward-thinking programs. Another surprise was the portrait of Elizabeth I, who is usually depicted as a dynamic leader. Here she merely hopes to survive a tumultuous era without losing her head or her crown. Henry VIII is, correctly, portrayed as a bully, a self-willed monster and a wholesale murderer who killed thousands out of childish irritation. Henry let few scruples stand in the way of his egocentric needs, a Renaissance dictator worthy of Saddam's terror. The narration is first-rate. Highly recommended.
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