Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Book Review: The History of England Vol. II - Tudors by Peter Ackroyd

Title: The History of England Vol. II - Tudors 
Author: Peter Ackroyd 
Publisher: Pan 
Publication Date: 2013 
Pages: 471 
Format: Paperback
Genre: Non-Fiction / History
Source: Bought Copy

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The second volume of Peter Ackroyd's masterful history of England: the Tudors
Rich in detail and atmosphere and told in vivid prose, Tudors recounts the transformation of England from a settled Catholic country to a Protestant superpower. It is the story of Henry VIII's cataclysmic break with Rome, and his 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 the queen and even an invasion force, finally brought stability.
Above all, however, 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.
(Goodreads Synopsis)

Having read and seen so much about the Tudors, I had expected to find this book of less interest than the first and third in the series. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, the Henry VIII stuff was very familiar, but I learnt a few new things about Mary and Elizabeth's reigns, and overall it was an engaging and delightful read. I am now moving on to volume three, and the Civil War is an era in which I am less well read, so I look forward to learning more. I continue to recommend this series, especially for casual readers who want non-fiction history books that are not simply a retelling of dry facts.


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