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The Tudors: The Complete Story of England's Most Notorious Dynastyby G J Meyer
Synopses & Reviews
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.
The Tudors weaves together all the sinners and saints, the tragedies and triumphs, the high dreams and dark crimes, that reveal the Tudor era to be, in its enthralling, notorious truth, as momentous and as fascinating as the fictions audiences have come to love.
"Arguably the most famous rulers in world history, Tudor monarchs Henry VIII and his daughter Elizabeth I were, according to journalist and author Meyer (A World Undone), 'cold and ruthless egotis[ts]' whose self-created myths have prevailed over reality in our historical memory of them. Henry VII, the first Tudor, was a competent ruler who filled the royal treasury with gold, avoided war, and shrewdly consolidated his power by stripping away the nobility's autonomy. By contrast, Henry VIII's determination to enforce his religious change on his people led to a reign of terror, and his squandering of his riches contributed to the monarchy's later collapse under Charles I. His children fared little better, from the fervently evangelical boy-king Edward VI to the fanatically Catholic Mary, England's first woman ruler, who burned 300 of her subjects for heresy. Elizabeth is portrayed as selfish to the point of childishness, aspiring only to preserve her life and her rule. History buffs will savor Meyer's cheeky, nuanced, and authoritative perspective on an entire dynasty, and his study brims with enriching background discussions, ranging from class structure and the medieval Catholic Church to the Tudor connection to Spanish royalty. 4-color inserts, 1 map." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Meyer's fresh storytelling ability breathes new life into the history of the Tudor family and Tudor England's precarious place in world politics, the critical role religion played in government, and the blossoming of English theater and literature.
About the Author
G. J. Meyer is a former Woodrow Wilson Fellow with an M.A. in English literature from the University of Minnesota, a onetime journalist, and holder of Harvard University’s Neiman Fellowship in Journalism. He has taught at colleges and universities in Des Moines, St. Louis, and New York. His books include A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, Executive Blues, and The Memphis Murders, winner of an Edgar Award for nonfiction from the Mystery Writers of America. He lives in Goring-on-Thames, England.
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History and Social Science » Europe » Great Britain » Tudor to Stuart Period