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Tudor: The Family Story

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  909 Ratings  ·  129 Reviews
In an epic narrative sweeping from 1437 to the first decade of the seventeenth century, Tudor: the Family Story traces the rise and rule of the Tudor dynasty. Brutal political instability dominated England during this infamous time, and Leanda de Lisle reveals the personalities, passions, and obsessions of the men and women at its epicenter to rediscover the true significa ...more
Hardcover, 539 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by PublicAffairs
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sarah (Presto agitato)
There have been an awful lot of books, movies, and TV shows about the Tudors. Their cultural impression is larger than life. Events of historic importance certainly occurred during their reigns, probably most significantly the Protestant Reformation, but it is their colorful antics that make them memorable. Even the Plantagenets who preceded them, ruling for 331 years in contrast to a mere 118 for the Tudors, are much less prominent in public consciousness. Somehow the many wild tales of treache ...more
'Tudor: The Family Story' begins at the funeral procession of Catherine of Valois in 1437 in order to relate the origins of the Tudor name. Catherine and Owen Tudor's relationship is depicted as truly romantic. I had quite a chuckle or two as Ms. de Lisle showed she has a slightly ribald sense of humor : "There was music playing, and her servants were dancing. While Catherine watched, Owen performed a leap which span out of control, and he fell straight into her lap. As an Elizabethan poet asked ...more
Sep 08, 2014 happy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-english
In her look at the Tudor Dynasty, Ms. De Lisle has delivered a very reader friendly book. Starting with the Owen Tudor, Henry VII’s grandfather and who gave the dynasty its name, the author looks at the family that ruled England from 1485 thru the death of Elizabeth I in 1603. In telling their story Ms. De Lisle states to understand the Tudors, one must understand how they saw themselves.

This is not your standard history. The author just doesn’t look at the politics surrounding the family, but a
Disclaimer: Arc read via Netgalley. Thank you Netgalley, Perseus Books, and Public Affairs Books.

I can hear you asking the question – do we really need another book about the Tudors? Really. Well, I don’t know about need, but I can say this is a very excellent look at the Tudor family. If you were going to buy one book about the Tudor dynasty, this should be it. It’s not that I didn’t like Meyer’s book about the family, but de Lisle is just better.
In part, this is because she actually focuses o
Rio (Lynne)
Why read another a Tudor book? De Lisle takes on the family history from Owen Tudor to James I. This isn't another Henry and his wives book. De Lisle's NF books are not text bookish. They are easy to read and before you know it hours have gone by, she brought many new things to my attention (proof Margaret Beaufort wasn't the evil step mother, Henry VIII wanted 16 executors in charge of Edward, was Mary Queen of Scots raped?) I consider myself very informed on the Tudors and I thoroughly enjoyed ...more
For us Tudorphiles, there really isn’t anything we don’t already know about one of history’s most dramatic families. So what’s the point of reading another book on the Tudor dynasty? Perhaps this can be answered by Leanda de Lisle in “Tudor: The Family Story”.

Lisle’s version of events in “Tudor” stands out instantly, as the tone presented to the reader is not simply that of a recollection of Tudor monarchy life; but the basics and underlying psychosis of the family. Lisle begins the history back
As other reviewers have pointed out, this is not merely another Henry VIII and his six wives book. It is a comprehensive, erudite and eloquent account of Tudor History from Owen Tudor to the death of Elizabeth I and the proclamation that named James VI of Scotland King of England (James I).

In addition to the Tudor story that many know, there is a multitude of interesting details. The author also dispels several popular myths. She provides family trees, a map, several notes and appendices.

It took
Nov 30, 2015 hpboy13 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2015
Leanda de Lisle has a gift for writing historical books. When the history is as compelling as that of the Tudors, no embellishment is needed, and de Lisle tells the story masterfully. This book is impeccably researched, and de Lisle backs up everything she says with primary sources, which she then uses to debunk a lot of popular myths and misconceptions that have sprung up around the Tudors.

The great thing about this book is its broad scope, and de Lisle manages to weave a coherent story of five
Oct 08, 2016 Marilyn rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jo Barton
Oct 18, 2013 Jo Barton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love all things Tudor and despite having many historical factual books about the Tudors already sitting on my bookshelf, there is always room for one more.

Leanda De Lisle has created a very readable account of this fascinating family and provides the facts in an easy to understand, and very enjoyable manner. The founding of this tumultuous dynasty was fraught with danger and political upheaval, all of which is expertly explored in well divided sections. The story starts in 1437, with the conte
Julie Ferguson
Aug 02, 2013 Julie Ferguson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I both read and write history, so I inhaled this 560-page book (ARC) that opens with Owen Tudor, a commoner, to the end of Elizabeth I's reign.
The author, de Lisle wrote through the lens of the Tudor era, a time of warring, intrigue, and intense scrabbling over succession. The early Tudor monarchs were not royal and their paranoia of losing their thrones drove everything they did—from marriages and divorces, to politics and religion. It was a violent, cruel time.
Many books on the subject have l
Melisende d'Outremer
I loved it. Now I am not a fan of Henry Tudor (being a bit of a Ricardian), however, I was impressed with Leanda's documenting of the origins of the Tudor Monarchs of England (not to be confused by their ancient Welsh counterparts). I was especially impressed with the retelling of Margaret Beaufort's story - she is such a feisty women who was determined to shape her future, and that of her son, as best she could given the mores of the time.

I would recommend this as a welcome and insightful addi
Nov 15, 2015 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Many books that look at the one hundred and eighteen year rule of the Tudors start quite naturally at the Battle of Bosworth where Henry Tudor won the crown and the English throne. Yet the story of the Tudors, who they were as a family and how Henry came to the position to be able to make a challenge for the throne, dates back much further. De Lisle starts the story of the Tudors here, when Owen Tudor meets the Dowager Queen Catherine Valois, Queen of the late Henry V. While there is not a great ...more
I've read a good number of books on the Tudors. It's my favorite period of history.

This book is extremely thoroughly reasearched and presents events in an unbiased manner. This is important because I've read enough books on the Tudors that have been slightly compromised due to an author's opinion being forced on the reader. It's frankly annoying when that happens and De Lisle refrained from making this mistake.

She had a bit of a wry sense of humor which I appreciate. Just enough to make it enter
Louis Skye
Apr 17, 2015 Louis Skye rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For anyone with a love of Tudor history, this book is a delight. Leanda de Lisle has exhaustively researched the Tudor family and written a book that is complex, without being confusing, and packed with details that transport you back in time.
I loved de Lisle's first book on the Grey sisters and couldn't wait to read more of her work. De Lisle has a captivating writing style that brings the era alive and weaves in the intrigues of the royal court.
Reading her book is like going on an epic adven
Gilda Felt
Nov 22, 2013 Gilda Felt rated it it was ok
This Tudor historian should probably stick to what she knows best, rather than wade into areas she hasn't researched well. Perhaps the fact that it's Richard III's picture on the cover, instead of Edward VI's, should have been my first clue, but I was still shocked to find that the author's work was heavy on supposition when it came to her take on the king whose throne was usurped. What can't possibly be known either way is often stated as fact when it backs up her notions about history and she ...more
May 15, 2015 P. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well written, fact filled, horrifying book about a lot of not very nice people. There were six Tudors who sat on the throne if you count poor, disputed Jane, and the damage they did to their little kingdom was immense. The obsession with power, the fear of losing it, and the sheer ego involved in this pursuit make for an interesting, if fatiguing read. Heads do roll.
Sarah(All The Book Blog Names Are Taken)
How refreshing to read about the Tudors from their true beginnings, and not simply Henry VIII's reign and beyond. There was so much I never knew about the family prior to Henry VII defeating Richard III at Bosworth, and I do consider myself fairly well-read on all things Tudor.

I was hesitant at first to read this however, because I've read previous books by de Lisle and found them to be rather slow moving. Not so here, I couldn't put it down even as her subject moved from Henry VII into familiar
Mar 22, 2014 Becky rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014reviews
Leanda de Lisle's Tudor: The Story of England's Most Notorious Royal Family was a fascinating read. It opens with a queen (Catherine of Valois, the widow of Henry V) marrying a Welsh squire (Owen Tudor); it ends with James VI of Scotland inheriting the throne of England and becoming James I of England. It covers almost (but not quite) two hundred years of English history. Henry VII. Henry VIII. Edward VI. Jane Grey. Bloody Mary. Queen Elizabeth. James I. Not to mention Mary, Queen of Scots. It f ...more
You'd think there would be nothing much left to say about the Tudors after 500 years or so. We know so much about Henry VIII and his children, and how the struggle to create a dynasty to rule England ended in only 3 generations, that sometimes you'd wander why historians don't find something better to study.

Well, I'm glad they don't, because even though there are books constantly published peddling the same old same old, there are also, wonderfully, books published which challenge how we think
I've always been interested in the Tudors. Admittedly, ever since the British TV show, but still. This book claimed to not only be about Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, but also the early Tudors; Henry VII's father for example. I really liked reading about them, especially when a book can give me new perspectives on these historial figures. This much is most certainly true, for me personally, where Elizabeth I is concerned.

I enjoyed reading this a lot, even if it's not my usual title for reviewing.
Jul 02, 2013 Mandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tudor: The Family Story by Leanda de Lisle

******I received an ARC of this book in exchange for a fair, honest review. Thanks to Netgalley, Perseus Books and Public Affairs Books***

5 Stars!

Beautifully researched and compellingly constructed, this is the first book on the Tudor family I have read that gives a history of more than just the major players (Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, etc. ) Starting with the founder of the Dynasty, Owen Tudor and his marriage to the Dowager Queen Consort, Catherine de V
Oct 28, 2013 Sarah-Hope rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Something Old, Something New, Something Absolutely Fascinating

When I was a child (circa 1970) my entire family spent weeks watching the BBC series The Six Wives of Henry the Eighth. That marked the beginning of my interest in Tudor history.

When a new popular book on one of the Tudor monarchs comes out, I’m always eager to read it, to see how it confirms or challenges the understanding I have of Tudor history based on my previous reading. So, I was delighted to be offered an electronic review cop
Kayla Dedik
Jun 03, 2014 Kayla Dedik rated it it was amazing
I was dubious about tacking "yet another Tudor book" but I am glad I did. This book offered fresh perspectives on the oft told histories and cleared up many common assumptions about the Tudors. Lisle examined lesser known players in the Tudor family who actually influenced a great deal of events (esp. Re: the succession). Most compelling perhaps is the way Lisle analyzes actions and events by examining the past in the context of the actual time period, rather than looking at everything through t ...more
Helene Harrison
ISBN? – 9780701185886

Publishing? - Chatto & Windus 2013 (first published 2013)

General Subject/s? - History / Tudors / Biography / Politics

General Analysis? - An excellent book, more biography than history, but nevertheless it gives an insight into the personalities, both royal and servant, that enhanced the Tudor dynasty, from its humble beginnings to its fantastic end. Excellently researched and with an extensive bibliography. Truly fantastic. I'm tempted to call it a Tudor bible!

Angie Lisle
Oct 03, 2013 Angie Lisle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This comprehensive book isn't geared for romance fans - not unless the romance reader wants to know the history behind historical romances from the Tudor period. The prose is somewhat dry for the average reader but the book is so informative that history lovers won't be deterred. Well-researched and organized.

So many books about the Tudors start with Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. This book doesn't - it starts with Richard III and what was going on in the UK when the Tudors arrive on the scene, th
Victoria Johnston
I won this book in a competition on site. Loved it!

It was quite interesting to actually read a book about The Tudors that focused solely on the family ties rather than the different reigns of the dynasty. Very well written book, just the right length to keep the reader interested and was clearly researched thoroughly by the author.

Was very interested to read about some of the lesser known Tudors such as Margaret Douglas and Arbella Stuart. The book was very nicely bookended also as it started w
Jul 19, 2015 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice with a wider perspective on the Tudor family even though focus (as always) is on Henry VIII and his daughter Elisabeth. Good read and with facts I haven't read or seen anywhere before.
Aug 05, 2015 Simon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Just painful. Her writing style is so breezy that the book will occasionally waft out of your hands, and I'm not sure lightness is the quality you want in what purports to be history. de Lisle is writing an intimate family history, and she bumps into the usual problems. Tudor monarchs were not self-analytical on paper, and attempts to discern what they were thinking are probably going to be best guesses on a good day (it is worth pointing out that the men who surrounded Elizabeth I as advisers a ...more
Aug 02, 2015 Jodi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was an excellent survey of the Tudor Dynasty. To cover decades of political, social and dynastic history would take many more pages than this already beefy text. Unfortunately, this lends itself to the main criticism this reviewer has of an otherwise fine book. De Lisle is very inconsistent as to what topics she covers thoroughly and which she breezes over. Anyone knowledgeable with the Tudor Era, would be baffled (an explanation would prove interesting) about events which she selected ...more
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Leanda de Lisle graduated from Somerville College Oxford having read history and in 1990 she completed an MBA – her thesis was on political marketing.

Leanda has written columns for Country Life, the Sunday and Daily Express, The Spectator, The Guardian, the Daily Mail, the Sunday Telegraph, the New Statesman.

Leanda’s AFTER ELIZABETH which focuses on the period between March 1603, when Elizabeth I
More about Leanda de Lisle...

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“Similarly, while the Tudors are often recalled in terms of a historical enmity with Spain, this too is history written with hindsight: the Armada did not take place until a generation after Elizabeth became queen.” 1 likes
“The tension in the room had reached breaking point when at last he swung his axe. It smashed into Mary’s head. Some thought they heard a cry. A second stroke almost severed the neck. The axe was then used like a cleaver on a chicken wing to cut it free. As the head fell the executioner raised it up, with the shout ‘God save the queen’, only to have it drop out of his hand leaving him clutching her chestnut wig. It had been severed from its moorings by the botched strike of the axe. As Shrewsbury wept, the executioners began to tear the dead queen’s stockings from her corpse. In was a perk of the job to be allowed to keep or sell their victim’s clothes. Their action disturbed her little dog, hidden under her skirts. Covered with blood, it rushed up and down the body, howling plaintively.16” 0 likes
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