Thursday 19 March 2015

Book Review: The Rise of Thomas Cromwell by Michael Everett

Title: The Rise of Thomas Cromwell
Author: Michael Everett
Yale University Press

Publication Date: 28 April 2015
Pages: 376
Format: E-Book/EPUB
Genre: History/Non-Fiction
Source: ARC via NetGalley
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

How much does the Thomas Cromwell of popular novels and television series resemble the real Cromwell? This meticulous study of Cromwell’s early political career expands and revises what has been understood concerning the life and talents of Henry VIII’s chief minister. Michael Everett provides a new and enlightening account of Cromwell’s rise to power, his influence on the king, his role in the Reformation, and his impact on the future of the nation.

Controversially, Everett depicts Cromwell not as the fervent evangelical, Machiavellian politician, or the revolutionary administrator that earlier historians have perceived. Instead he reveals Cromwell as a highly capable and efficient servant of the Crown, rising to power not by masterminding Henry VIII’s split with Rome but rather by dint of exceptional skills as an administrator.
(Goodreads Synopsis)

The Rise of Thomas Cromwell is a magnificent and well-researched biography, focusing on the late 1520s and early 1530s as Cromwell gradually gained a place in Henry's inner circle. Everett takes an in-depth look at the role Cromwell played during these years, comparing his findings with the generally accepted views of other historians and the depictions of Cromwell seen in recent fictional works.

I have long been fascinated by Thomas Cromwell and have read other biographies on the man, but I found Everett's work to be a thoughtful and insight piece of research that takes a step back from personal opinion and relies solely on the historical documents. A worthwhile read for anyone interested in Cromwell of the Henrician period.

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