Alison Weir, ‘Lancaster and York: the Wars of the Roses’ (London: Vintage Books, 2009) Paperback, ISBN 978-0-099-54017-5
Title: The title is very apt, as the book covers mainly the first part of the Wars of the Roses – when Lancaster and York were at war, and not the latter part where the war was between York itself (Richard III and the Princes in the Tower or Edward IV vs. the Duke of Clarence). It focuses on the role of Margaret of Anjou, and the conflicts between her and the Duke of York, which led to York triumphing over Lancaster.
Preface: The preface / introduction is quite short, but gives a quick overview of the main focal points of the Wars of the Roses, and explains where the idea came from to write about the Wars of the Roses when most of her books are written about the Tudors. Weir discusses the meagre amount of surviving sources, but then fails to build on that in the book itself.
Citations: There aren’t really any citations to speak of, which makes it difficult to track where certain information comes from. All there is is a general bibliography at the end, with a couple of family trees, which are useful as the period is a complicated one. What would probably have been more useful even than citations, particularly for a reader relatively new to the period, would have been a list of who was on the side of York and who was on the side of Lancaster. Continue reading “Book Review – ‘Lancaster and York’ by Alison Weir”→
Jane Dunn, Elizabeth and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens (London: HarperCollins Publishers, 2003), Hardback, ISBN 978-0-00-257150-1
Title: The lives of Elizabeth and Mary are always tied together – noticeably because one queen orders the execution of another. They are tied together not only by blood (Elizabeth’s father and Mary’s grandmother were brother and sister) but by their rivalry over their respective countries and their queenship of the same.
Giles Tremlett, Catherine of Aragon: Henry’s Spanish Queen (London: Faber and Faber Ltd, 2010), Paperback, ISBN 978-0-571-23512-4
Title: The book is exactly what the title suggests – a biography of Katherine of Aragon, who was Henry VIII’s first wife, and the only one who was Spanish. It was this Spanish connection which made it so difficult for Henry to divorce Katherine, because Katherine’s nephew was Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, the most powerful man in the world at that time.
Preface: The preface pens with the thing that everyone knows about Tudor England – Henry VIII’s divorce from Katherine of Aragon so he can marry Anne Boleyn. Tremlett then moves on and looks at the changing political scene, the religious divisions due to the Reformation and the rise of Lutheranism, and Katherine’s popularity as Queen, compared to Anne Boleyn’s lack of popularity as Queen. Continue reading “Book Review – ‘Catherine of Aragon: Henry’s Spanish Queen’ by Giles Tremlett”→
David Loades, ‘The Tudors: History of a Dynasty’ (London: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2012), Hardback, ISBN 978-1-4411-3690-9
Title: The title suggests a history of the people – the royal family and the succession. It doesn’t disappoint in that regard, as it is all about the people, but does sometimes lack elements that make the people seem real; like they lived and breathed.
Preface: The preface examines the controversies and debates within the dynasty – it brings them to light and outlines what will be looked at within the text itself.
Jasper Ridley, ‘A Brief History of the Tudor Age’ (London: Constable and Robinson, 2002), Paperback, ISBN 978-1-84119-471-4
Title: This book is not a history of the Tudor monarchs, like so many history books are, but the age as a whole. It includes chapters on the likes of fashion, law-enforcement and vagabonds, for example. However, it is brief, as the title also suggests.
Preface: Unusually, there is no preface as such to this book. However, it does include a very helpful chronology for those not as familiar with the period.
Citations: These aren’t brilliant, as notes aren’t made within the text to suggest where information came from. There aren’t footnotes or endnotes, either, just a list of sources used in each chapter, which means that you can’t follow up where Ridley got certain pieces of information from. You just have to trust that he’s telling the truth. Continue reading “Book Review – ‘A Brief History of the Tudor Age’ by Jasper Ridley”→
Carolly Erickson, ‘Mistress Anne’ (London: Simon & Schuster, 1984) Paperback, ISBN 978-0-312-18747-7
Title: The title of this particular book is a little vague, not specifically about Anne Boleyn – could do with some clarification as it doesn’t specify which Anne through history. Apparently it comes from a letter where Anne is addressed as ‘Mistress Anne’, and it is what she was popularly known as before she was crowned as Henry’s queen.
Preface: The preface mainly explains why changes had to be made in the reissue of this book to account for more modern scholarship. The preface also explains the title as a term Anne was commonly known as in her own time.
Leanda de Lisle, ‘Tudor: the Family Story 1437-1603’ (London: Chatto & Windus, 2013) Hardback, ISBN 978-0-701-18588-6
Title: The title suggests that the book doesn’t just discuss the events of the reigns of the Tudors, but actually the people involved – the monarchs, consorts, politicians and wider royal family. The focus on the people offers a different perspective on the Tudor era.
Preface: The introduction/preface introduces the ideas that shaped the Tudor dynasty and the ideas that allowed them to come to the throne – namely the killing of kings. It also discusses the beginnings of the Wars of the Roses (the Yorkist and Lancastrian lines).