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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Olivier on 27-09-12
Excellent Book, Misleading Title
The title "The Children of Henry VIII" was probably chosen to tie in to the book "The Six Wives of Henry VIII", and as a marketing gimmick. It's too bad as it might discourage people who want a good interesting yet serious telling of the transition from Henry VIII to Elisabeth I.
This book starts at the death of Henry VIII and ends with the accession to the throne of Elisabeth I, and provides an excellently woven history of these turbulent years. Edward VI, Catherine Grey (not a child of Henry VIII), and Mary Tudor, may not justify a general public biography each, but combined and intertwined this is well worthy of spending 15+ hours of one's time. If you ever wondered what happened after Henry VIII, this book is for you.
The history is fascinating, the story is well written and the text is well read.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful
By S. Morris on 20-01-17
The Art is In The Telling
I've read a few books relating to historic figures and some
of them, although full of facts and well researched, often make for rather
dry reading and lose the flavour of the history they tell. Not so with this
superb telling of the story of the events surrounding the children of Henry
VIII. This book was my first experience of Alison Weir's work and I must say
how very impressed I was with the way she put this book together. What Weir
does so well that some other historians do not is to weave the rich events
of history into a flowing, easily understandable and compelling narrative
that makes these events come to life. Furthermore, rather than
bouncing around as some histories do, this book is told in a neat linear
chronology that almost reads like a novel. Weir's ability to accurately
describe the events encompassed in this work are such that I found reading
this to be a totally absorbing experience barely able to put the book down.
As a reader, I felt that I was party to the richly depicted history
unfolding in these pages as Weir has crafted a book that makes history truly
fascinating with a prose style that makes you feel at times as if you're a
silent witness to the narrative.
Weir has succeeded brilliantly in bringing history to life and for me, at
least, has clarified the complex and overlapping events such that I have a
new found appreciation and comprehension of that pivotal point in English
history. Less a lesson in history and far more an enthralling recounting of
said history I now find myself hungry for more and so I will be looking to
be reading more from Alison Weir in the immediate future.
One final note as to the quality of the style of writing so skilfully
employed by the author, it actually brought a tear to my eye while listening
to the powerfully moving and poignant account of poor Jane Greys
execution. As a London resident, I will look forward to my next visit to the
Tower of London and will be in awe of the history literally at my feet when
stepping into the chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula.
This excellent book is complimented perfectly by the great voice of narrator Simon Prebble who renders this richly detailed story with apt gravitas and style.
The Children of Henry VIII by Alison Weir is a wonderfully written account that has educated, entertained and enthralled me and I cannot more highly recommend this book.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Troy on 06-12-13
A Personal History
As much as this is a book of political monarchs in highly turbulent times, this is also the personal story of siblings and how they related to one another. Once again, Alison Weir has knocked another one out of the park, bringing even the most nuanced aspects of this realm and time period to life in such a way that even a foreigner of the modern world can understand it in a deeply meaningful way. As a narrative history, this excels.
Weir does state that this book is a follow-up to her book The Six Wives of Henry VIII, which I've also given top marks. Indeed, I would agree that in conjunction with that work, Tudor history becomes a very human story, something far beyond a soap opera. Having read her biography of Henry VIII in paperback, I can say that anyone serious in Tudor studies via Weir should start there, proceed to Six Wives, then this. This focuses on the time period between Henry's death and Elizabeth's ascension, spotlighting Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey, Mary I, and Elizabeth. Next in line is her Life of Elizabeth, which will no doubt build on all of these other foundations, and which I'll be adding to my reading list soon. It's all dense storytelling, but it's also expert level history made as friendly as if reading a novel, building the layers as an artist does a painting. It's that good.
Simon Prebble is as authoritative and as engaging as ever in his role as narrator. He's just got one of those instantly respectable and friendly voices that's perfect for documentary narratives and lends itself so well to works such as this.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
By Neil Chisholm on 30-09-12
A very dysfunctional family!
Alison Weir weaves her charm with this glorious set of biographies of Mary, Edward and Elizabeth and their cousin Jane who was Queen for just 9 days. Its fascinating for all those that love of Tudor history as it gives personal insight to each individual from what must have been exhaustive research by Weir.
I have to say that they were a very dysfunctional family and the repercussions of such disturbed childhoods showed in each of their characters and in the decisions they made both before they reigned and after their sub sequential successions.
My only disappointment was that it stopped when Elizabeth became Queen however it did mean that I went on to listen to Weir's The Life of Elizabeth I.
Highly recommended for all Tudor history lovers and for those that thought they grew up in a dysfunctional family!
19 of 20 people found this review helpful