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The Tudors

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  5,476 ratings  ·  297 reviews
For the first time in decades, here, in a single volume, is a fresh look at the fabled Tudor dynasty, comprising some of the most enigmatic figures ever to rule a country. Acclaimed historian G. J. Meyer reveals the flesh-and-bone reality in all its wild excess.

In 1485, young Henry Tudor, whose claim to the throne was so weak as to be almost laughable, crossed the English
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ebook, 672 pages
Published February 23rd 2010 by Delacorte Press
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Claire M.
I was a history major at U.C. Berkeley, and my specific field was English Tudor-era history, so you can imagine that a huge hunk of my bookshelves are devoted to this subject. There is something of an embarrassment of riches on this topic, from J. J. Scarsbrick's definitive biography on Henry VIII to Antonia Fraser's book on Mary, Queen of Scots. I can say with confidence that there isn't a popular history of the Tudors that has been published that I haven't read, and I've read a great number of ...more
John
Historically accurate perhaps, though incredibly slanted.

Henry VIII was a bully/monster/tyrant. Period. End of Story. Most of the coverage of his reign focused on the men around him, and their roles in enforcing the break with Rome, as well as persecution of monks during the dissolution of the monasteries.
Edward VI was a fervent Protestant, but ... that was okay as he truly respected his sister Mary (in spite of their religious differences) - not a syllable to acknowledge the fact that (accordin
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Rebecca Huston
This book is bad. It reeks, it is derogatory to its subjects, it insults the reader, and the author is pushing his own agenda here. I really wanted to like this one, and went into it with some optimism that I could learn something new. But no, the author is fixated on religion here, especially in what makes evangelical protestantism different from everyone else. I could have handled this much better if the same amount of space and effort had been devoted to five (almost six) Tudor monarchs -- He ...more
Sarah
I have to admit that I was a little daunted when I first picked up this book to read. Not because of the size of the book (it is over six hundred pages and my edition is hardcover and rather big) but because of the sheer amount of information that was held within the pages. In this book Meyer aims to cover one hundred and eighteen years of Tudor monarch history. Considering all the momentous changes that Henry VIII alone brought to England, I could only imagine how much information would need to ...more
Jodi
Not sure what to rate this book. Meyer promises to write a book that doesn’t dwell on Henry VIII and Elizabeth like all other authors do and then spent about 300 of 569 pages on Henry –focused on the “King’s Great Matter”. Would have enjoyed more on Henry VII.
Elizabeth was not admired at all by this author (actually not too many of the women in power were—John Knox’s influence perhaps) to the point that any characteristic or action of hers was placed in a negative light. But what irked me about
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Raquel Monteiro
I've always been interested in the history of the Tudor dynasty, in particular its most notable monarchs, Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, and started reading the book thinking that I was very well informed on the subject. Then I (quickly) realized that I was wrong.

The book demystifies the image that is conveyed in the movies and series and presents a much harder and less glamorous vision of the two monarchs. I saw the Showtime series a few years ago and loved it, only to discover now that it manipul
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Lisa
I'm a big Anglophile and especially enjoy reading non-fiction of the different English royal dynasties and this caught my eye at the library as being entertaining as well as informative - good combination when reading about history in general.

I'm about 50 pages into it and am really enjoying it. It's well-written and holds your attention (if you thought political shenanigans of today are out-of-control, believe me, it was just as crazy, if not more so, back then. And extremely brutal and bloody.
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Manuel
I was really pleasantly surprised by this book. I picked it up expecting an ode to joy to the soap opera style of history as told in the silly TV series of the same name.

What I got was a comprehensive look at the background stories often overlooked by many writers, who portray Henry VIII as a romantic rogue or portray Elizabeth's reign as a golden era of domestic bliss.

I must admit my knowledge of Henry VII was sketchy before I picked up Meyer's book. He did a wonderful job laying the ground wor
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CS
"The Tudors" is not exactly a "complete" story, as the title promises, but it is a very entertaining and illuminating look at the socio-political life and times of the Tudor dynasty (if a family that dies out after three generations can be called a dynasty.)

I'm a huge fan of putting history into context rather than the usual dull recitation of chronological events, and on that account "The Tudors" excels. While Meyer more or less does stick to a chronological approach in his main chapters, he in
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Burton Bargerstock
I enjoyed Meyer's book. It's an extraordinarily accessible piece, demanding little previous study of the period. I agree with others who have pointed out that the author spends most of his time (detail and commentary) on Henry VIII, and that this is unfortunate. After reading it, Henry seemed much more three dimensional than Elizabeth. This is curious, given the author's assertion at the outset of the importance of considering the entire dynasty as a whole. Still, there is much to commend here. ...more
Harry Allagree
Having read Meyer's book on the Borgias led me to this book, and he certainly doesn't disappoint. He has an incredibly smooth writing style, repetitious enough on names and dates that you don't get mixed up, yet not overbearing. His portrayal of Henry and Elizabeth, especially, clarified some of my own muddy thinking about them, not to mention his excellent assessment of the years of the whole Tudor dynasty. His research seems extremely current, and he allows for further understanding & inte ...more
Andrew Obrigewitsch
The tutor's where blood thirty, back stabbing, highly destructive to their own friends, selfish and above all else foolish.

This book just proves politics haven't changed one bit since then, and that history texts are pretty much just propaganda until enough time has passed that no one will get offended when the truth comes out.

Recommended reading.
Lady
The Tudors - all five of them, excluding the obscure Jasper Tudor, an ancestor of Henry VII - were all snakes. Poisonous, murderous, selfish, extravagant, cruel, heartless snakes. Even the beloved "Virgin Queen" (virgin my ass) was dismissive of the plight of her subjects, cruel in her persecution of Catholics (she executed over a thousand people), spiteful, vain, and self-centered - and her reign was comprised of one disaster after another. Not at all like the popularly viewed "golden age of En ...more
Maja
Definitely not impressed. Quite the opposite as a matter of fact. First let me comment on the content of the book. If you're looking for a book describing the Tudors as a dynasty, or the overall Tudor era, you have definitely picked up the wrong book. This one only works with the religious aspect of the Tudor reign. Not much else is a addressed. I was appalled at how little Henry VII was explained, though the author himself notes, that it's a problem, that he is so often ignored by other authors ...more
Lizbet
Meyer declaimed several times that THIS book would cover the entire Tudor dynasty. He said that too many books on the period focused on Henry VIII or Elizabeth exclusively, so he wanted to produce a biography of the dynasty rather than of the individual members in it.

I'm less impressed with that from the outset because my first good grounding in Tudor history was the middle book of a trilogy of popular history books by Mary M. Luke. (I never read the first or third as compulsively, but I devoure
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☽ Moon Rose ☯
There is truth when they say that history is written by the winners as this obviously factual statement can be rendered best to the enigmatic and short reign of the Tudor clan in England, considered by many as the Golden Age despite the conspicuous evidence provided otherwise...
It matters also that both Henry and his daughter Elizabeth were not just rulers but consummate performers, masters of political propaganda and political theatre. They created, and spent their lives hiding inside, fiction
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Sharon
G.J. Meyer's extensive look at the Tudor dynasty presents history as it ought to be done: engaging *and* factual.

The book focuses primarily on Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, the two best-known monarchs of the Tudor family. It does, however, start with Henry VI and end with James I/VI. Meyer does not, however, pull punches about the bloody reigns of the two monarchs on whom he focuses. Despite Tudor apologist histories that have been written right up to the modern age, neither Henry nor his survivin
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Chris
Well, it isn't really the complete story. It's mostly about Henry VIII, trying to get some of Showtime's bling perhaps. It is a good general study, but it does lose some steam after Henry VIII.

Yet, it is worth reading simply because of the time that Meyers takes with Harry. Instead of focusing on the wives, Meyer focuses more on the politics and the real movers and shakers. In fact, Meyern does this for the whole dynasty (except for Henry VII who seems to get an almost footnoted mention). In ma
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Kylin Larsson
Sure, Henry the VIII broke with the Catholic church to get his divorce, but this is really only the beginning of his egomania. I'm not talking about his wives, whom many people know about (it is scandalous, after all -- six wives!) I'm talking about robbing the monasteries to fund badly planned wars and dozens of palaces. In the process, he nearly destroyed England's only infrastructure of hospitals and schools, as well as charitable institutions that helped the poor.

The guy was awful and his ch
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Monica
Fascinating account, especially of Henry VIII, but of all the Tudors. The information on Henry VII is a bit skimpy, but we get a very full, and an unambiguously derogatory, portrait of Henry VIII, which comprises the longest portion of the book. Meyer presents quite enough evidence to prove that the man was a monster, basically a sociopath, who could have cared less about his kingdom, his friends or his people. Having inherited an enormous fortune from his crafty father, Henry immediately squand ...more
Mary
This dense compendium of current scholarship debunks the romantic view of the Tudors that most of us grew up with. It is meant for the general reader and it focuses on their ruthlessness and hardly at all on the Tudor's contribution to the sixteenth century's great achievements in the arts, music, drama and the flowering of the language itself. I was sorry to learn all this but I'm sure it's a good antidote. He covers the religious turbulence in Tudor England, the various military adventures, no ...more
Gianna
Even though not as thorough as its title suggests, this is a very good introduction to the major events and key figures in Tudor England. The Tudors did not rule for a long time; nor were they particularly good at governing a country; yet, as Meyer claims, they have become “posthumous stars” in our 21st century. If I mention the Tudors, people’s eyes light up in recognition, and they exclaim, “Oh, so you saw The Tudors!" The Tudors is, of course, Showtime’s series, which served to glamorize the ...more
Ray Campbell
OK - My journey through the monarchs of England continues with a focus on the Tutors. After a general survey of all the monarchs, this work offered more detail, but it was dry. Some of the historians I've read offer details that connect the story to the present and to the reader. This book is simply a scholarly presentation. There are several arguments that contradict conventional wisdom in light of modern research, but otherwise, it's a re-telling of the facts.

It's disappointing that the past t
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Halik
Great introduction into the history of the British governance system as a whole. The Tudors encompasses that time in British history when the Monarchy was beginning to accommodate a democracy, or i should say pseudo-democracy. The breaches of justice and the spirit (and also frequently the letter) of the law by interference by the king and his court are numerous.

The lifestyle of Henry Tudor is positively horrendous. And the emergence of Martin Luther and the need for the Church of England to fo
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Cait
To be honest, I picked this up as a "trashy airplane book" for a recent trip. It's not that. It's real historical scholarship.

And...I enjoyed it. For the first time, though, I fully understood what a monster Henry VIII was. In my mind, he had been a bit of a playboy and a pseudo-comic figure, but in fact, he was a horrible, horrible ruler, with no concern for his people that surpassed his momentary need for gratification. I did find myself wondering how the Anglican Church can pretend to any leg
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Seri
From my tumblr blog at: http://dachaublues.tumblr.com/

Its not often that I read history of this era. However, after reading George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice, I was hungry for more royal treachery, scandalous affairs, murderous plots, and upstart usurpers. Since A Song of Fire and Ice, was based on England’s War of the Roses, the natural progression was to pick up where that left off - with the Tudor dynasty. Also, I couldn’t resist the cleavage on the cover.

Spoken plainly, this book i
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Valerie
One rainy Sunday I turned on the TV and got hooked on the Tudors! It made me want to read about them again and I was looking for something new. I ran across this book and downloaded it. This book discusses the Tudors from the 1st (Henry VII) to the last (Elizabeth I). As expected, the book is heavy on Henry VIII and Elizabeth. I alway knew what a bloody king Henry was, but I hadn't realized how thoroughly and almost completely he and his soul-less daughter eradicated the Catholic Church in Engla ...more
Annette
Source: Self-purchase
Summary:
In late 2012, I read and reviewed the book: A World Undone: The Story of the Great War 1914-1918 by G J Meyer. I was impressed with the depth and detail of research, it is an A-Z on World War I. After reading this book I felt as if I'd taken a semester class on World War I history. Meyer has added material he squeezes in between the chapters titled, "Background". The "Background" is added to The Tudors as well. These mini-studies on subjects such as: "Calvin" (John C
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Holly
I'm glad to have read this and glad I don't have to read it again. Well written but deeply depressing, regardless of how accurate Meyer's interpretation is. By the end, the litany of brutality, profligacy, and corruption had become a slog.

One thing that bugged me was the simplicity with which Meyer let some people off the hook while insisting on the depravity of others. John Calvin, for instance, got off easy in this book. Here's Meyer on

Calvin's notion of "double predestination"--of some being
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Liviu
History the way it should be written - clear, engrossing and substantial.
Excellent aside sections illuminate a lot of the history before and explain why this or that thing was a big deal at the time. Not particularly flattering for Tudor enthusiasts - if Henry VIII as bloodthirsty tyrant appears sometimes, the somewhat putting down of Elizabeth will probably dismay the admirers of the Queen, but I found the arguments quite persuasive and worth considering
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  • Edward VI: The Lost King of England
  • Anne Boleyn: Henry VIII's Obsession
  • The First Queen of England: The Myth of "Bloody Mary"
  • Mary Tudor: Princess, Bastard, Queen
  • Elizabeth & Leicester: Power, Passion, Politics
  • The Tudor Chronicles: 1485-1603
  • Mary Boleyn: The Mistress of Kings
  • Elizabeth's Women: Friends, Rivals, and Foes Who Shaped the Virgin Queen
  • Tudor: The Family Story
  • Catherine of Aragon: The Spanish Queen of Henry VIII
  • The Anne Boleyn Collection: The Real Truth about the Tudors
  • The Other Tudors: Henry VIII's Mistresses and Bastards
  • Tudor Queens of England
  • The Mistresses of Henry VIII
  • Divorced, Beheaded, Survived: A Feminist Reinterpretation Of The Wives Of Henry VIII
  • Love Letters of Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn
  • Elizabeth and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens
  • The Sisters of Henry VIII: The Tumultuous Lives of Margaret of Scotland and Mary of France
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G. J. Meyer is a former Woodrow Wilson Fellow with an M.A. in English literature from the University of Minnesota, a onetime journalist, and holder of Harvard University’s Neiman Fellowship in Journalism. He has taught at colleges and universities in Des Moines, St. Louis, and New York. His books include A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, Executive Blues, and The Memphis Murders, winner o ...more
More about G.J. Meyer...
A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, 1914 to 1918 The Borgias: The Hidden History Executive Blues: Down and Out in Corporate America The Memphis Murders

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