21 May 2014


Author: Peter Ackroyd
Year published: 2012
Series: A History of England, vol. II
Pages: 528
Time It Took To Read: A week or so, intermittently

I love the Tudor period of history. It's the soap opera tangle, with far more death, sex, and personality than is usually considered decent in history. It makes history seem real, and present in a way that other periods don't (although the Plantagenets are finally getting an airing). It took me by surprise when Peter Ackroyd devoted an ENTIRE BOOK of his history of England to them, when the first book managed to take in several thousand years. However, Ackroyd is a hell of a history writer, with an almost deranged prolixity. 

Anyway, I haven't read the first in the series, and was surprised to find this book on the Tudors misses out the very first, Henry VII. I found this a bit of a disappointment, as you can't really understand much about them without knowing that Henry VIII's older brother Arthur was both married to his first wife (Katherine of Aragon), and supposed to be king before dying in late adolescence. 

It's a good read, though can feel a bit aimless and loose at times. It's also difficult to keep track of what years he's talking about. I think David Starkey has pretty much written the definitive Tudor books for non-expert readers, but it was nice to read an alternate historiography. 

Book count: 18/50

It's nearly exam time, so reading is seriously limited at the moment, but come June I SHALL READ ALL THE THINGS!

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