Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Life of Henry VIII

Henry VIII: The King and His Court by Alison Weir

Summary: Henry VIII, renowned for his command of power and celebrated for his intellect, presided over one of the most magnificent–and dangerous–courts in Renaissance Europe. Never before has a detailed, personal biography of this charismatic monarch been set against the cultural, social, and political background of his glittering court. Now Alison Weir, author of the finest royal chronicles of our time, brings to vibrant life the turbulent, complex figure of the King. Packed with colorful description, meticulous in historical detail, rich in pageantry, intrigue, passion, and luxury, Weir brilliantly renders King Henry VIII, his court, and the fascinating men and women who vied for its pleasures and rewards. The result is an absolutely spellbinding read.

Review: Less of a strict history and more of an overview of what the court of Henry VIII was like and how he was as a ruler. 

I can easily see people reading this book to find out more about Henry VIII, but being disappointed because it wasn't want they were expecting. This book focuses on Henry VIII the man and king, not the tyrant that killed and divorced wives. This book had a lot of detail, but still managed to be interesting. I did have a tendency to skip over lists of people. There was a general chronological timeline, which I was mainly able to tell by which wife he was currently married to. 

Henry VIII wasn't a great man and he certainly wasn't very nice to his wives, but he was an incredible king. He wasn't always interested in the running of his kingdom and often left it to other people, but he soon learned how that could have unforeseen consequences. I learned that Henry VIII had an incredible memory, which would certainly have helped him to play factions in the court against each other. It was incredible how he played people against each other. He always seemed to know what was going on.


Recommendation: I would recommend this only to those that are familiar with the history of Henry VIII and big fans of the Tudors.

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