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.
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.
Table of Contents
Family tree -- A Tudor timeline -- August 22, 1485: the Battle of Bosworth, an exile returns -- An Excess of Good Fortune: 1485-1532 -- The luck of Henry Tudor: the king who had (almost) everything -- The King's great matter: his pursuit of an annulment and of Anne Boleyn -- Frustration and embarrassment: Queen Catherine resists, and finds support -- Radical departures: moving the line between church and state -- Another way devised: a policy of winning by intimidation and terror -- A revolution in the making: Henry raises the stakes -- A thunderbolt falls: the royal ultimatum -- Submission: the archbishop of Canterbury surrenders -- Consummation: the king beds, then weds, Anne Boleyn -- Monster: 1533-1547 -- First blood: the destruction of the nun of Kent -- Supremacy: Parliament acknowledges the king's new powers -- "We will all die" : destructuion of the charterhouse monks, and of John Fisher-- "Preserve my friends from such favors" : trial and execution of Thomas More; the monastic visits -- All but Godlike: Anne Boleyn is replaced; the smaller monasteries destroyed -- Rebellion and betrayal: explosion, the pilgrimage of Grace; King Henry gets his son --The last of Henry: three more wives, money trouble, a final torrent of killings -- A King too Soon and a Queen too Late: 1547-1558 -- A new beginning: evangelicals triumph; Edward Seymour assumes command -- England's second reformation: Henry VIII's church dismantled; the fall of Seymour -- A revolution and a coup: the rise of John Dudley, the death of Edward VI, the brief reign of Jane Grey -- Another new beginning: Mary I and the restoration of the old religion -- And another early end: dreams turn to dust -- Survivor: 1558-1603 -- Yet another new beginning: the return to Protestantism -- The succession, again: Robert Dudley and the hope for an heir -- A torrent of miseries: religion, the succession, and Mary, Queen of Scots -- Actions, reactions, provocations: trouble in France, trouble with Spain; rebellion in the Netherlands -- A horrific tangle and war at last: years of meddling produce war in the Netherlands -- The last favorite: the rise of Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex -- A seat at the table: the rivalry of Essex and Robert Cecil -- The last act: the fall of Essex; the dismal final decade of the Tudor Age.