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Good biography of Henry VIII

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  • Good biography of Henry VIII

    I am doing a research paper on Henry VIII. The only books I have available to me are Francis Hackett's 1941 bio and Antonia Frasers's The Wives of Henry VIII. Is there anything recent and good and readable?
    Will no one tell me what she sings?--
    Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
    For old, unhappy, far-off things,
    And battles long ago:
    -William Wordsworth, "The Solitary Reaper"

  • #2
    Originally posted by Desiree Clary View Post
    I am doing a research paper on Henry VIII. The only books I have available to me are Francis Hackett's 1941 bio and Antonia Frasers's The Wives of Henry VIII. Is there anything recent and good and readable?
    First published in 1968, J. J. Scarisbrick's "Henry VIII" remains the standard account, a thorough exploration of the documentary sources, stylishly written and highly readable. In an updated foreword, Professor Scarisbrick takes stock of subsequent research and places his classic account within the context of recent publications."It is the magisterial quality of J.J. Scarisbrick's work that has enabled it to hold the field for so long."--Steve Gunn, "Times Literary Supplement"
    https://books.google.ie/books/about/...oC&redir_esc=y


    I read this some years ago and found it a great read and very scholarly too

    PS It is one man's interpretation so bear that in mind

    - but by someone who knows their subject inside out....
    http://www.irelandinhistory.blogspot.ie/

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Wolfe Tone View Post
      First published in 1968, J. J. Scarisbrick's "Henry VIII" remains the standard account, a thorough exploration of the documentary sources, stylishly written and highly readable. In an updated foreword, Professor Scarisbrick takes stock of subsequent research and places his classic account within the context of recent publications."It is the magisterial quality of J.J. Scarisbrick's work that has enabled it to hold the field for so long."--Steve Gunn, "Times Literary Supplement"
      https://books.google.ie/books/about/...oC&redir_esc=y


      I read this some years ago and found it a great read and very scholarly too

      PS It is one man's interpretation so bear that in mind

      - but by someone who knows their subject inside out....
      Thanks for the link!
      Will no one tell me what she sings?--
      Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
      For old, unhappy, far-off things,
      And battles long ago:
      -William Wordsworth, "The Solitary Reaper"

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Desiree Clary View Post
        Thanks for the link!
        No probs - Enjoy!
        http://www.irelandinhistory.blogspot.ie/

        Comment


        • #5
          Yes, Henry VIII was a complex guy, and difficult to assess totally dispassionately through all his narrative. Trying to 'climb into his medieval mindset', the influence of the weazel spin doctoring of courtiers and 'advisors', his jousting wound, and the rosary in his hands at his deathbed, all need interpretation.

          The narrative of his parents, particularly of his father, and the political machinations of the time flavour and colour his feelings and decision making. I feel he is a guy who towards his end regretted much. His last wife Catherine Parr was also a very interesting choice, and a complexity in her own right. The Thomases, More and Cromwell, also merit a good look at when attempting to assess Henry VIII - particularly Cromwell.

          I feel sure you will enjoy your own journey into Henry VIII, as I am sure many [including myself] have - bon chance mon brave.

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          • #6
            There was a book on what it was like to be Henry, ie the day to day life rather than a biography. Published about 30 years ago. It covered matters like what did he eat and drink, what entertainment did he enjoy including examples of what to us are very old jokes but were probably quite new at the time (and with Welshmen substituted for Irishmen etc - Henry was definitely not PC). The protocols of the royal court that must have been terribly inhibiting (for example Henry would never have been able to get a hot drink in the night as there was a strict hierarchy of who he would tell to get him one, who that elected official would pass the order on to and so on down to the humble kitchen staff and then a similar elongated chain of people it would be passed back to until it reached the royal hands by which time it would be cold.) I think I still have a copy (I've far too many books). I'll have a rummage and see if I can find the title.
            Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
            Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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            • #7


              If I were King of England this would be the National Anthem!
              Last edited by McMax; 23 Apr 16, 19:05.

              Comment


              • #8
                I remember them, an old School and university friend occasionally used to act as a session drummer for them when the guy in the clip was indisposed etc.
                Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by MarkV View Post
                  I remember them, an old School and university friend occasionally used to act as a session drummer for them when the guy in the clip was indisposed etc.
                  Certainly a Big band on the British 60s pop scene allright

                  Not one of my favourites but HH had a number of very successful hits IIRC

                  Pop Royalty?

                  Henry is a very complex character - intelligent and charming

                  - but also a Bully and ruthless to those he perceived as 'problems'

                  I don't think he is the direct ancestor of todays Royal Family though

                  - that link is through his father?
                  http://www.irelandinhistory.blogspot.ie/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    David Starkey is the main historian on anything Tudor-related these day, particularly on Bluff King Hal.

                    Being something of a TV personality as much as an historian these days, he tends to drive people of a certain political persuasion (i.e. left-wing) up the wall with his no-holds-barred comments but there are few writers with as much of a 'feel' for his topic as him.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Éire_Ascendant View Post
                      David Starkey is the main historian on anything Tudor-related these day, particularly on Bluff King Hal.

                      Being something of a TV personality as much as an historian these days, he tends to drive people of a certain political persuasion (i.e. left-wing) up the wall with his no-holds-barred comments but there are few writers with as much of a 'feel' for his topic as him.
                      Heh, I followed the link. I wish I could have seen his version of "The Six Wives"
                      Will no one tell me what she sings?--
                      Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
                      For old, unhappy, far-off things,
                      And battles long ago:
                      -William Wordsworth, "The Solitary Reaper"

                      Comment

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