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The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn

4.16  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,986 Ratings  ·  115 Reviews
This definitive full biography of Anne Boleyn, based on the latest scholarly research, focusses on Anne’s life and legacy and establishes Anne as a figure of considerable importance and influence in her own right.
Paperback, 458 pages
Published July 1st 2005 by Blackwell Publishers (first published August 1st 2004)
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The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn by Eric IvesThe Lady in the Tower by Alison WeirThe Wives of Henry VIII by Antonia FraserThe Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison WeirSix Wives by David Starkey
Best Books about Anne Boleyn
1st out of 45 books — 107 voters
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
38th out of 495 books — 1,291 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Feb 04, 2011 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
This is the bible of Anne Boleyn. It is the first book I ever read completely dedicated to Anne and even today it is the first book that I refer back to when I am researching or learning about Anne. My poor copy is dog eared and tattered but to me that only gives it more character and life. If you want to know about Anne Boleyn, want to learn who the woman was who rose to be the jewel in Henry VIII’s eye and then fell shattering into history then this is the book to read. I would recommend this ...more
Conor Byrne
Nov 16, 2012 Conor Byrne rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent biography of Anne Boleyn and her life and times. Professor Ives' work should rightly be regarded as a comprehensive take on this tragic Queen's career.

Although strongly challenged by other historians such as Warnicke and Bernard, I strongly agree with Ives' theories, namely his belief that Anne was born in 1500-1. The 1507 birth date makes little sense. Similarly, I agree that Anne was the middle child, and her sister Mary was older.

The strengths of this biography are in par
Jul 25, 2011 Justine rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Ives feels like the best of both worlds: his credentials as a legal historian make him detailed an analytical enough that he's a authoritative source on Anne Boleyn, while his well-supported admiration for her makes the sometimes dry, dense writing style worth it for anyone more accustomed to "popular" historians like Alison Weir and Joanna Denny. Considering the lack of solid historical documents or artifacts from Anne herself (even trying to establish her birth year causes controversy), Ives d ...more
Oct 21, 2014 Mei-Lu rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any one interested in a deeper understanding of Anne Boleyn
Of the recent biographies of Anne Boleyn, I'd say this is the best and for that reason, I've held on to as a reference. I particularly like the fact that Ives is careful to note his attributions, or at the very least the texts on which he is basing his ideas. There are assertions made by the author that I don't entirely agree with -the available evidence on Anne Boleyn's early life is quite slim and as a result almost all biographies on her are largely extrapolated. Overall a well-researched bio ...more
Oct 20, 2013 Sue rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tudor-history
As far as I am concerned this book is THE last word on Anne Boleyn's story. I read Ives' first edition 20 years ago and even though I have read other author's takes on Anne, I always return to this one. Ives revised this edition after Henry's Inventory was published so there is more detail and if you are not into detail you may find its a bit dry in places but honestly I love the details. Anne was very aware of her Image but this was an essential part of a person's power in court. Back in those ...more
Nov 15, 2011 Jen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: english-history
I think it's fair to say that I've read a lot of books about Tudor history and Anne Boleyn specifically. This is one of the best, most well-researched, and most well-written that I have come across.

Eric Ives goes far deeper than the trite "Henry fell in/out of love with Anne and thus had her killed"--and instead looks at the life of one of the most intriguing (and briefest) lives to affect the crown. Instead of dismissing old arguments, he looks at the facts and goes through each source, pointin
Feb 26, 2010 Brigid rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in British history, feminists, fans of "The Tudors"
Overall, this is a thoroughly researched, well-reasoned approach to the life of Anne Boleyn. Ives presents the reader with a cornucopia of information from a variety of sources, while simultaneously making judgments on who is more reliable than others. He quotes extensively from original source material and isn't afraid of analyzing the implications. He also gives excellent background on the period, the convention of courtly love, and the status of England with regard to the rest of Europe at th ...more
Sep 20, 2014 Meghan rated it really liked it
This is one of my favourite all time non-fiction books. The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn is like the Holy Grail for any Anne Boleyn/Henry VIII/Tudor Court fans. It is the most thorough and though provoking biography I've ever read. I had read other books on Anne Boleyn before, most of them were focused on all of Henry's wives. This one only glances over the other wives in relation to Anne.

I would give this book 5 Stars if it wasn't for the actual writing. The grammar was amazing, don't think th
Helene Harrison
ISBN? - 9781405134637

General Subject/s? - Anne Boleyn / History / Tudors / Biography

Title? - Exactly what it says on the cover, life and death of Anne Boleyn.

General Analysis? - Eric Ives is a historian of Anne Boleyn who I can endorse. His arguments are clear and he looks at all aspects of Anne's life in a lot of detail. This book has almost been the cornerstone of my dissertation and will be incredibly useful in my Masters degree next year. He also puts a lot of words into talking about aspect
Nov 08, 2009 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Claimed to be the best bio on Anne Boleyn to date, and I agree!

I think I like Anne best portrayed as she really was, not based upon all the myths and, let's face it, downright lies that surrounded her rise and ultimate destruction.

Everything is well researched and the supporting evidence is facinating, ranging from letters, artwork and the royal accounts, to songs and poetry.

Ives gives an amazing insight into life as it was in the Tudor Court and the major personalities within it (Henry VIII, t
Aug 31, 2011 Katherine rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
If you read only one book about Henry VIII or his infamous marriage in serial, make it this book. It's a rare thing to find a book written by a historian who A) knows his subject backwards and forwards, B) can write a compelling narrative but without being too dry or lacking in substance, C) challenge the historical reputation of even somebody written about to the extent that Anne Boleyn has and offer a new and nuianced perception of the person and the culture they came from. While most modern p ...more
Nov 29, 2008 Susan rated it really liked it
Eric Ives' biography of Anne Boleyn's life is a very thorough and accurate fact-filled account of her life. While it reads more like a text book, it really provides the reader with an intimate look at the person she was, and follows her from childhood through her rise, then fall from greatness in Henry the VIII's court. After reading many historical novels surrounding Anne Boleyn and Henry the VIII's court, I was curious about how much I read in the novels' was actually fact vs fiction ~ this bo ...more
Jan 06, 2015 Meaghan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellently written and very thorough account of Anne Boleyn's life. The focus is only on her, not like in other biographies which also tell the story of the decline and fall of Catherine of Aragon. The author reaches some surprising conclusions, but backs them up with sensible and persuasive arguments. I would give it five stars but for the fact that it's a little TOO detailed. The middle section, which goes on and on and on and on about the details of Anne's coronation, and her arts ...more
Jun 11, 2012 Lyndsey rated it really liked it
A very thoroughly researched book on Anne Boleyn. The author references letters and notes that were written in her time by those who knew her. He also takes into account the opinions of those who loved and hated her, while keeping in mind that their writings were most likely biased and forms an logical opinion based on these notes. Very well researched, though a bit dry to read at times. But if you're looking for a true biography of Anne Boleyn, this would definitely be a book to read.
Feb 12, 2011 Kimberli rated it really liked it
Excellent. This historian carefully examines the life of Anne, placing her firmly within the context of Tudor politics and religion. He's the first I can recall illustrates how Anne's fervent devotion to the cause of religious reforms made her a target. Along with her sharp tongue, opinionated nature. But she was a force to be reckoned with at court. Ives carefully examines what is known about Anne so that we get a more accurate picture of the woman behind the tragedy.
I can't go on. Sorry, Ives.
Maryann MJS1228
Dec 10, 2015 Maryann MJS1228 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
One reviewer here called this the best biography of Anne Boleyn ever. I'm not prepared to go that far, mainly because I haven't read them all yet. If you're a Tudorphile like me and you've been reading about Anne Boleyn since you were 10 years old, this book will be pure ambrosia. Ives has managed to combined genuine scholarship with an engaging narrative. While I can't say that Anne comes alive, she is rescued from myth and tales of depravity. In my opinion, he sets the record straight on sever ...more
Dennic Lorenzo
Re-read in Nov-Dec 2015

Still the best biography of Quene Anne.

I love how Eric Ives doesn't give a prejudiced look on Anne. He only tell the facts. Unlike some authors; Weir for instance, who wrote as if everything that happened was carefully planned by Anne herself, which is ridiculous!

After reading it twice, I'm still left without any concrete opinion about Anne, whether she was an adulterous or a saint. All I know is that I like this extraordinary woman a lot.
Not all scholastic volumes are as hard to take as this one was -- I know, I read a lot of biography & history -- but Ives makes it hard to remember why you are reading the book in the first place. In fact he deliberately makes things abstruse when they could be otherwise. I know there are both fashions and coteries in academic writing and must presume this is an extreme of a kind I cannot find, as the French say, convenable.
Exceptionally well-researched, but written in dry style with an overwhelming amount of detail. Excellent political analysis of her rise and fall, but very little about her personality/motives/essence come through. I could have done with a little less of Thomas Wyatt's tedious verse too. It's quite a feat to make Anne Boleyn boring, yet Ives manages to do so here. I had to push myself to finish it.
Beverly Diehl
Jan 25, 2014 Beverly Diehl rated it really liked it
An exhaustive (and sometimes exhausting) look at the Queen who changed the course of English and world history. What this book does very well is examine all the minutiae we have of the Anne Boleyn period, from inventories of plate and bed hangings, to portraits and jewelry. And it dissects and analyzes all the accounts we have of this happening and that, judging why this account based on rumor is likely to be true, and why the other may not.

Where it failed for me is conveying an emotional connec
Dec 31, 2013 Lauren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dr Ives gives a Anne Boleyn's life sympathetic treatment, whilst refusing to sanctify her for his own purposes. The Anne portrayed here is a thoroughly modern woman with as many flaws as strengths.

Dr Ives considers a wide range of evidence and does a fairly good job of valuing it. My only complaint is that earlier in the book Chapuys' dispatches are at times discounted because he was partisan, but then come to be relied on heavily later without the same consideration given.

Unlike other tellings
Feb 01, 2016 Luthien rated it it was amazing

Also on my blog, Luthien Reviews.

Frequently referred to as the “Anne Boleyn bible,” Dr. Ives’ book is the most extensive biographical work dealing with the second wife of King Henry VIII to date. He argues that Anne is “the most influential and important queen consort [England] has ever had” and makes a compelling case, though even his dedicated scholarship has difficulty resurrecting Anne’s personality. As a result, this biography–while fascinating, enlightening, and very often moving–diff
Aug 20, 2015 Katie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
If there is one book to learn everything you want to know about Anne Boleyn, this is the one. Full of detail and intrigue, the book can make you feel like you are reading her story for the first time. Even when you get to the end, you think she may make it out of her ordeal. Ives keeps the biography flowing gracefully and leaves out some unnecessary details that had made other biographies dry. This is the ultimate guide to Anne Boleyn, an encyclopedia almost.

For a long time I've been an admirer
Apr 05, 2015 Evamaria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
All You Ever Wanted to Know About Anne Boleyn And possibly more. This biography goes into great detail about everything related to Anne Boleyn's life, from her relationship with Henry VIII, the luxuryitems she owned toher views and influence on religion.

At times the momentum of the storygets bogged down in these minutiae, and I have to admit to skimming at times, especially when it came to lists of items owned by Anne and Henry. On the other hand, although naturally everyone knows what was comin
Apr 01, 2015 Kate rated it really liked it
The tale of Anne Boleyn and her dramatic fall from power is one that never fails to fascinate even five hundred years later. It has been the subject of countless works of both fiction and non-fiction, television series, films. And still there is no definitive answer as to whether she truly was guilty of the crimes for which she was beheaded.
Eric Ives has produced an incredibly well-researched addition to the vast amount of literature concerning Anne Boleyn. For almost every point he makes, he p
Jul 07, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-tudors
I am certainly no admirer of Anne Boleyn, in fact I hold more than a bit of disdain for her. She is a least favorite of mine among Henry's wives. However, I continue to read about her because she is a somewhat unfortunate piece of the Tudor puzzle that I have begun putting together. She was no victim, she played the game, gambled, and lost. She could hardly have been surprised that scheming brought her to Henry's side and it would just as easily remove her.

I think it's quite obvious even without
Katie Herring
Jul 01, 2014 Katie Herring rated it really liked it
Damn. The problem with history is that you can never change it.

I said poor Anne at the start of every chapter in the last section. I knew what was to come.

A friend recommended this to me, almost a year ago, and I am so glad I finally finished it. He told me this was the Anne 'Bible' and if I want to learn, this was the biography to read. I do agree. It was a hard read, not for the usual reasons, though. It was not boring, and the language wasn't hard. It's the fact that it's dense. While it's
Feb 07, 2012 Sara rated it really liked it
Here Anne Boleyn is, in all her magnificence and tragedy. I had read a lot about the Tudors before starting this, so I had clear in my mind who was who, and what part did they took in the course of History, so I was able to enjoy all the speculations and all the links Ives made. A lot has been told and written concerning Anne Boleyn, and she doesn't always come out well portrayed, partly because of her complexity, partly because of the discordant sources concerning her life, her character and he ...more
Kylie Cheung
May 25, 2013 Kylie Cheung rated it it was amazing
This is the most comprehensive biography of Anne Boleyn currently available, and an absolute must to anyone even considering further reading about the Tudor period. Cleverly organized, engaging and witty, the most convincing facet of this book is its pages and pages and PAGES of annotated bibliography/source notes, with speculation of all primary sources. Ives presents much more than a timeline of facts -- he also shares his opinions and speculation.

A couple of points of his that I agreed and d
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How to reaD? 3 14 May 25, 2014 11:05PM  
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Historian of Tudor England. Studied under S. T. Bindoff. He taught at the universities of Liverpool and Birmingham and wrote on faction at the Tudor court, Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey.
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“Captivating to men, Anne was also sharp, assertive, subtle, calculating, vindictive, a power dresser and a power player, perhaps a figure to be more admired than liked.” 16 likes
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