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Books  >>  History

Peter Ackroyd

Tudors

Peter Ackroyd Tudors The History Of England From Henry Viii To Elizabe
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Series:

The History of England

Biographical note:

Peter Ackroyd is an award-winning novelist, as well as a broadcaster, biographer, poet, and historian. He is the author of many acclaimed books including Thames: Sacred River, London: The Biography, and the first volume of his history of England, Foundation. He holds a CBE for services to literature and lives in London.

Main description:

Peter Ackroyd, one of Britain’s most acclaimed writers, brings the age of the Tudors to vivid life in this monumental book, charting the course of English history from Henry VIII’s cataclysmic break with Rome to the epic rule of Elizabeth I.

Rich in detail and atmosphere, Tudors is the story of Henry VIII’s relentless pursuit of both the perfect wife and the perfect heir; of how the brief reign of the teenage king, Edward VI, gave way to the violent reimposition of Catholicism and the stench of bonfires under “Bloody Mary.” It tells, too, of the long reign of Elizabeth I, which, though marked by civil strife, plots against her, and even an invasion force, finally brought stability.

Above all, it is the story of the English Reformation and the making of the Anglican Church. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, England was still largely feudal and looked to Rome for direction; at its end, it was a country where good governance was the duty of the state, not the church, and where men and women began to look to themselves for answers rather than to those who ruled them.

Review quote:

Praise for Tudors

“While the author focuses on the politics of religious change, this is an accessible account, made even more so by anecdotes revealing the personalities of the main characters (e.g., Henry VIII became so obese that his bed had to be enlarged to a width of seven feet, and Mary Stuart wore crimson underclothes at her execution in 1587).” —Publishers Weekly

 

“A solid multivolume popular history: readable, entirely nonrevisionist and preoccupied by politics, religion and monarchs—a worthy rival to Winston Churchill’s History of the English Speaking Peoples.” —Kirkus Reviews

 

“Highly engaging…. Ackroyd presents in rich prose and careful explanations how the English Reformation was not a movement of the people but a personal project of King Henry.” —Booklist (starred review)

 

“Ackroyd writes with such lightly worn erudition and a deceptive ease that he never fails to engage.”
The Telegraph (UK)

“Superbly accessible and readable.” —The Financial Times (UK)

“Ackroyd clearly relishes the wicked glamour of the family which presided over the Reformation, saw off the Spanish Armada, founded the British Empire and left the country they ruled a great European power . . . Fluent and colorful.” —Sunday Express (UK)

“As so often in Ackroyd’s books there are irresistible small details of everyday life in historic London.” —Daily Express (UK)

“Ackroyd’s information concerning Cromwell provokes a different reaction from that gained by reading Hilary Mantel. . . . This is a fascinating read, an accessible history where the immense research is wittily presented and where the ideas are profound and moving.” —Newtown Review of Books

 

“[Ackroyd] has a matchless sense of place, and of the transformations of place across long stretches of time; he is also an inventive and playful English stylist.” —Standpoint (UK)

Praise for Foundation

"Relaxed, unpretentious, and accessible." —The New York Times Book Review on Foundation


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