Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Divorced, Beheaded, Survived: A Feminist Reinterpretation Of The Wives Of Henry VIII” as Want to Read:
Divorced, Beheaded, Survived: A Feminist Reinterpretation Of The Wives Of Henry VIII
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Divorced, Beheaded, Survived: A Feminist Reinterpretation Of The Wives Of Henry VIII

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  740 ratings  ·  60 reviews
The women who wed Henry VIII are remembered mainly for the ways their royal marriages ended: divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. This book helps to restore full humanity to these six fascinating women by applying the insights of feminist scholarship. Here they appear not as stereotypes, not simply as victims, but as lively, intelligent noblewomen doing ...more
Paperback, 231 pages
Published May 3rd 1995 by Da Capo Press (first published 1995)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Divorced, Beheaded, Survived, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Divorced, Beheaded, Survived

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa GregoryThe Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison WeirThe Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa GregoryThe Constant Princess by Philippa GregoryThe Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory
Best Books About Tudor England
96th out of 446 books — 1,184 voters
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa GregoryThe Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison WeirThe Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa GregoryWives of Henry VIII by Antonia FraserThe Children of Henry VIII by Alison Weir
Henry's Six Wives
13th out of 77 books — 69 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,459)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Jenn (Booksessed)
Okay, I should preface by saying that I am a history junkie, and that Tudor England is my drug of choice. Seriously, it’s like my crack. I know all the major players, I know how most historians view each person, I know who participated in who’s downfall. I’m the person to go to for any Tudor related question. I’m also the person who loved the tv show The Tudors because of all the sexy men but grumbled about the historical accuracies, mostly due to the timeline. Also, I love the Spanish Ambasador ...more
Colleen
Eh. It's kind of interesting, but it was supposed to be some groundbreaking feminist take on the wives of Henry VIII...besides focusing on THEM rather than HIM, I didn't see anything in the book as a radical new feminist reinterpretation.
Chris
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joan
Sep 23, 2012 Joan rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: English history fans and feminists
I found this book ok but that is all. I didn't find out much new information, simply some reinterpretation of old information. I am not so sure that I completely buy that Henry VIII was an egotistical SOB and nothing else. He ruled a difficult country successfully for many decades and even this author admitted that people were genuinelly grieved by his death. Was he egotisitical? well, yes, of course. In his position, how could he not be egotistical, the most important person in the entire count ...more
Beth
If it deals with British history, I, like Ron Burgundy, will read absolutely anything that's put in front of me, so I know my shit when it comes to the Tudors. I picked this one up because it offered a new take on the traditional narrative on the six ladies unlucky enough to be Henry's bride.

Normally, I steer clear of modernist takes, especially feminist re-workings, as these often attribute modern attitudes and social norms on historic people and societies. That said, Lindsey's book had some
...more
Brigid
Mar 14, 2010 Brigid rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those interested in an overview of Henry VIII's wives
The more I thought about the content of this book, the less I liked it. It purports itself as a "feminist reinterpretation" of Henry VIII's collection of wives. However, because the author does not make more than a handful of references to source material, the reader does not feel the presence of Andrea Dworkin, Gloria Steinem or Adrienne Rich. We hear, instead, the voice of the author herself passing judgments that, though not all that controversial, do not ring of researched or informed rhetor ...more
Emily
A good quick read for those interested in Henry VIII and English history. Most historical non-fiction is so long-winded that ones tends to forget almost anything they learned through the book, but the author kept her facts brief and had an interesting modern day spin on a lot of topics brought up. I do think her some of her interpretations were a bit far-fetched, but overall a quick and interesting read on those poor women who fell victim to Henry VIII.
Library-KAT
This was somewhat interesting, but lacking in many areas. I found it mostly to be about Henry. Surprisingly Anne Boleyn was portrayed as not the harridan we are normally led to believe.

The fact that Catherine of Aragon never once believed that it was Henry who was doing all those hideous things to her was totally amazing (read stupid), she loved him until the end and blamed all on the Boleyn.

Anne of Cleves survived quite well....as did Katherine Parr.

There wasn't much at all bout Jane Seymour o
...more
Jess Gofton
3.5 Stars.

A very interesting read, but I would have liked the chapters to be longer and to include more specific detail about each of the Queens than it did. That being said, it was a lot of fun to learn about the women around the Queens and the Tudor court at the time.
Purkoy
After the Other Boleyn Girl, I became aquainted with the Tudors through Wikipedia pages and Tumblr posts. Accidentally stumbling into this book at the Goodwill signed my name.

This book functions as both a good introduction to the Tudors, and an attempt to dispell the myths surrounding them. There is sympathy towards the women, but also a very real attempt to find a balanced view of this time.

The men are not maligned as some would have you think, but even if they were, after 500 years of praise,
...more
Denise
We're all familiar with the six wives of Henry VIII and how they died. But have you ever thought of the women themselves and how they felt about marriage to such a selfish and egocentric King? How did the split in religious ideas of the time (Catholic vs Protestant) affect them? Were their lives constrained by religious beliefs and the social structures of the time?

Karen Lindsey has written a well-researched book about these women (and others) who lived and were affected by the royal court of K
...more
Kim
Jul 17, 2011 Kim rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: women's history surveyists, tudor england enthusiasts
Shelves: tudor-nonfiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Talkingtowalls
I don't read a whole lot of history, but I generally enjoy it when I do. This I had a really exceptional time with. The writing was clear with very few digressions, which is great for someone (me) who doesn't have a really solid background in British History. I would have sometimes like a little more detail, but I really can't complain. I thought this was a very fair feminist interpretation (of course even when reading the most flattering biographys I've always felt that "king Hal" was at best d ...more
Mary Catelli
Despite the subtitle, it's an investigation into what can be reconstructed of their character and their interactions with the king. It's very hard on Henry, but never without evidence. (I'm using her spellings. She used the irregular orthography of the day to separate the women of the same name with different spellings.)

It actually opens with his grandmother Margaret Beauford and her intrigues to put her son, Henry VII, on the throne. And it ends with the reign of Elizabeth, having briefly gone
...more
Ptreick
Okay, so a month ago I gave in and starting Netflixing "The Tudors." For reasons I can't even explain, I've been completely drawn into this world. Last week I had some kind of food poisoning and in my state of delirium/vertigo I had strange nightmares about beheadings, childbirth, etc. On Tuesday at our beer-induced trivia night I was waiting on pins and needles for a Henry VIII question to pop up, but nada.

Anyway, this book gave me some verification that the series has historical merit, and gav
...more
Meaghan
Jan 06, 2015 Meaghan rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: feminists
This book was feminist claptrap. The author is not a trained historian and her feminist bias was obvious throughout this book. All the women were GOOD, and all the men were BAD, and Lindsey went to great lengths to show them as being this way all the time, and made up flimsy excuses when the women (rather than the men) behaved badly. She excused Catherine Howard's adultery on the grounds that her life would have been "unbearable" if she couldn't get all the sex she wanted. She also completely ig ...more
Suzanne Hakeos
I have always been a fan of 1500's English and Scottish History. Henry VIII is quite a character that as I learned more about him I was drawn to the stories of each of his wives.

One marriage proposal to a princess was returned with her remarking that she would only accept if she had two heads...in reference to the beheading of his second wife. Though he did have two beheaded by the time he was done.

I have many Tudor biographies in my collection but I have to say if you want a great overview of
...more
Helene Harrison
ISBN? - 9780201408232

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

Title? - Not really a feminist interpretation, more just a focus on the women rather than the men around them.

General Analysis? - Although the idea of a feminist history of the wives of Henry VIII was a good idea, I don't think Karen Lindsay executed it very well. Most of the book was vague, particularly for the wives where there is the most information available (Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn), and I felt that sh
...more
Kate
I've read so much about Henry VIII and seen so many movies and tv shows so I was wondering how (if?) this book might give a fresh perspective of historical figures I feel like I know so well. While the beginning coverage of Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn seemed like the usual fare, I really appreciated the analysis of the later wives. The "feminist reinterpretation" was in no way heavy-handed or obvious--it may have been fresh in the early 90s but now I question the need for that subtitle. ...more
Chris
I read this book, after just watching the 4 seasons of "The Tudors" on DVD. This book told what really happened, when in some cases "The Tudors", strayed from history. The book was a little dry, and it took a while to get through it, but since I just wanted the history of the 6 women that Henry the VIII married, this was an excellent book for that.
Dominique Lamssies
This is a fine book, but having read this after several other books on the Tudors and taken a class in college, I didn't find anything new or novel about Lindsey's interpretation of things. This book didn't really impress me, but still covers the history solidly.
Conor Byrne
Very interesting and insightful book, with an engaging and lively writing style. I particularly enjoyed the section on Katherine Howard, although other aspects of the book were not as innovative in providing a feminist perspective of the wives and their actions.

I also think this book needs to be taken with a pinch of salt - it is not academic and does not reflect the values, ideals and beliefs of sixteenth century England. The spelling is also a little bit annoying - 'Ann' Boleyn? However, all
...more
Elisabeth
Divorced, Beheaded, Survived is an easy, quick read and would serve as a good introduction to Henry VIII and his six wives. However, the book is short on the meaty historical details. The book's thesis is feminism, not history, but unfortunately it is light on the feminist perspective as well. I saw only a few points, mainly related to Katherine Howard, that hadn't been previously covered in the traditional biographies. Readers already familiar with the Tudors aren't likely to find this book enl ...more
Christina Volkoff
I went back to this book after spending the past year doing research for my senior thesis, which is set in War of the Roses, hoping to do myself a favor and clear my mind for a while.

Yeah, no. I started to notice little factual errors almost from the get go, and had to put the book down before my little history major heart exploded.

I'll probably come back and do a better review of this book when I get the chance. But for now, just know that I'm labeling it as utter crap.
Astrid
This nonfiction book is a lively summary of the lives of Henry VIII's wives. Even though I have read a lot of Tudor period historical fiction and many of Alison Weir's nonfiction books, I find I sometimes get lost in the dates, friends, foes, politics and religious factions of the times, but this book makes many of those details easy to remember and understand. Karen Lindsey's feminist reinterpretation is an interesting view of the period. Recommended for Tudor history fans.
Katie
This is a great one to pick up after you've seen Showtime's version of Tudor England, to set things back in balance. It is a fun, relatively quick read, and while the research is quite well-done it does not at all read like an academic book. Much ink has been spilled about the six women Henry married (and who he as often as not destroyed as well) but this is a fresh take on the "wives" and one that you won't want to miss if you enjoy reading about this period of history.
Mary
feminist reinterpretation of wives of Henry VIII
Kara
This book provides a fascinating in-depth exploration of the personalities and history behind each of Henry VIII's wives, something which is rarely taught in history class. I enjoyed it immensely, despite reading it during a time when I was not particularly enthusiastic about history.

(I am adding it now, despite reading it in early high school, because it became topical last week and I would like to re-read it ;^)
Sue
This is not as the title suggests a "modern" reinterpretation, Lindsey puts each wife in the context of her times and makes them into real people not stereotypes which sometimes we have a habit of labeling each of them. She gives some intriguing ways of looking at each wife's actions as women living in a patriarchal society. Its also well written and reads more like a novel than dry old history.
Eva-Lani
Before reading this book I had only a very superficial knowledge of Henry VIII and his wives. This book was not only gave me a better understanding of that era but also gave me a captivating story to indulge in. I loved her analysis of all the wives, especially Katherine Howard. The way Lindsey described the wives and the personalities of the wives made them real and tangible people for me.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 81 82 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn: Family Politics at the Court of Henry VIII
  • Catherine Howard: The Queen Whose Adulteries Made a Fool of Henry VIII
  • Anne Boleyn: Henry VIII's Obsession
  • 1536: The Year That Changed Henry VIII
  • Henry VIII: Man and Monarch
  • The Last Days of Henry VIII: Conspiracies, Treason and Heresy at the Court of the Dying Tyrant
  • Tudor Queens of England
  • The Mistresses of Henry VIII
  • Mary Tudor: The Spanish Tudor
  • Two Queens in One Isle
  • Elizabeth's Women: Friends, Rivals, and Foes Who Shaped the Virgin Queen
  • Anne Boleyn: A New Life of England's Tragic Queen
  • Mistress Anne
  • Edward VI: The Lost King of England
  • Catherine of Aragon
  • The Tudors
  • Katherine the Queen: The Remarkable Life of Katherine Parr
Planning & Managing a Corporate Event Falling off the Roof Leadership Breakthrough: Leadership Practices That Help Executives and Their Organizations Achieve Breakthrough Growth Friends As Family Happiness Is a Ticked Off List!: The Comprehensive Guide on How to Organise and Manage a Perfect Corporate Event

Share This Book