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Tudors: The History of England from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I (The History of England, #2)
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Tudors: The History of England from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I

(The History of England #2)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  2,190 ratings  ·  223 reviews
Rich in detail and atmosphere and told in vivid prose, Tudors recounts the transformation of England from a settled Catholic country to a Protestant superpower. It is the story of Henry VIII's cataclysmic break with Rome, and his relentless pursuit of both the perfect wife and the perfect heir; of how the brief reign of the teenage king, Edward VI, gave way to the violent ...more
Hardcover, 507 pages
Published September 13th 2012 by Macmillan
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4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,190 ratings  ·  223 reviews

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(A-) 81% | Very Good
Notes: Views the period through bifocals of religion and succession, which limits its subject matter but focuses its narrative.
Disclaimer: Read via Netgalley. I am also an Ackroyd fan girl.

Why do we need another book about the big gun Tudors? You might as well ask why we need another book about Shakespeare for the answer to both questions is the same.
Because Peter Ackroyd wrote it.
Okay that’s a bit flippant, even if it is true.

This book is Ackroyd’s second volume in his history of England. Despite its seemingly heft, it flows very quickly. While Ackroyd focuses on the big events – Henry’s love life, Elizabeth and Ma
Lyn Elliott
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, religion, england
If you’ve ever wondered about the origins of mistrusts and hatreds between Catholic and Protestants in England, this is a good place to start.

The 'great theme' of this book is the Reformation of the church in England. At the beginning of Henry VIII's reign (1509-1547) the Church in England was entirely Catholic, its forms of organisation and worship essentially medieval. The Pope in Rome held supreme authority, the Church lords and institutions held great lands and treasures, thousands of men an
Sarah (Presto agitato)
Peter Ackroyd’s Tudors is popular history that goes down easy. Tudors is the second volume of Ackroyd’s history of England, taking us from Henry VIII through Elizabeth I. It’s a complicated period, replete with monarchs with larger-than-life personalities, scheming companions and spouses, attempted assassinations and usurpations, endless wars, and religious upheaval that pulled the country from one extreme to the other with every change in ruler while courtiers scrambled for position. With the w ...more
This truly inclusive work of history, the second of Ackroyd's History of England series, provides a close look at the evolution of England from an insular feudal country of parts to a nation ready to participate in the greater world on its own terms at the end of the 16th century. Ackroyd takes the reader through the lives of Henry VIII and his well known, but perhaps less well understood, quest for an heir; his son Edward VI; then the queen known as "Bloody Mary"; and finally the reign of Eliza ...more
Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)
I've read a lot about Tudor history. And, really, there's nothing new in this book that hasn't been said by some other author, whether I've read them or not. However, this is unique from other books. What changes is the scope that Ackroyd focuses on compared to what I have read before.

More specifically, this largely ignores Henry VIII's personal life and his wives, unless it has something to do with major changes within governmental structure. And, Ackroyd either puts focus on that or a careful
I've now reached the second volume of Peter Ackroyd's History of England and it turns out it's a volume even more fantastically absorbing than the first, partly thanks to its taking on one of my favourite periods to read about - the Terrible Tudors (hat tip to Horrible Histories, one of the best TV programmes ever made, and I'll have anyone who disagrees burnt as a heretic).

Beginning with start of the reign of Henry VIII and taking us through Edward VI, the Nine Day Queen (Lady Jane Grey), Blood
Chloe Phillips
Feb 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Honestly, I was all for giving this book four stars, before I read the last chapter. Having read more than enough books on the Tudor period, I tend not to come to them looking to learn anything new, but to see whether the author has a different way of looking at things, or how they word and structure the events of the period. Having loved all Peter Ackroyd's previous books, and really enjoying his style of writing, I had high hopes for this. There were areas where it seemed a little dry, especia ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio, overdrive
There is way too much about church reformation in this book. The topic doesn't interest me at all.
Rosemary Atwell
Jan 14, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a more tightly compressed and focused narrative than its predecessor and examines the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary and Elizabeth through the prism of the Reformation. Although Ackroyd's coverage of religious reform is very impressive, I would have enjoyed some of the diversity that characterised the first volume. Still highly enjoyable though - engrossing and entertaining. Ackroyd Is a wonderful stylist.
Pete daPixie
Oct 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-tudor
Everything that I have read from Peter Ackroyd is certainly very well written, rich in detail and expertly researched. Volume II of this six volume series, 'Tudors', documents the sixteenth century reigns of England's most enigmatic dynasty. Unfortunately the author chose to begin in 1509 at the death of Henry VII. The founder of the Tudors is covered in his 'Foundation'. Having only read the first three volumes of this 'History of England' maybe I should wait to judge the full vision of Ackroyd ...more
Sherry Sharpnack
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Who doesn’t love the Tudors? They tie up the dynastic wars of the heirs of Edward Iii in fifteenth century up into such a neat little bow.

Peter Ackroyd’s second volume in the history of England begins w/ Henry VIII, whose obsession w/ a male heir turns him from a golden prince into a bloodthirsty tyrant, and then covers each of Henry’s “legitimate” children in turn. Mr. Ackroyd is the first historian that I have EVER read who thinks Anne Boleyn WAS screwing around on Henry. I can’t get over that
Sep 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Peter Ackroyd's second volume in his history of England series carries with it the promise shown in the first volume, "Foundation". Of course, how can you write about "The Tudors" and not generate interest? They are the one English royal family about whom one never tires of reading. But Mr. Ackroyd's account of this famous (and infamous) family - from Henry VIII to his daughter, Elizabeth I - not only recounts the personal aspects, but also focuses upon the most important thread which ran throug ...more
Rob Adey
Mar 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
I've never really 'done' any history - my ideas of the Tudors until recently were Henry VIII = a sort of half-timbered shouting Brian Blessed and Elizabeth I = Miranda Richardson - so I guess I'd probably have liked any book which told their crazy stories fairly competently.

But as far as I can tell, Peter Ackroyd does a very good job here. The previous book in the series covered a huge swathe of time and was very wide angle - necessarily, he slows down and zooms in here. Somehow, it's pacy whil
Helene Harrison
Review - A little disappointing in places as there were some glaring errors e.g. Thomas Brandon where it should have been Charles Brandon in the index. What? Nevertheless, a good overview of the period, although not very balanced. A large part of the book was given over to Elizabeth I with very little on Edward and Mary, and not much more on Henry VIII. Henry VII isn't even covered in this book on the Tudors but is covered in the previous one in the series, which seems a little odd to me. I woul ...more
John Allgood
May 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
A very readable history of the Tudor dynasty although it starts at the death of its founder, Henry VII. This is Ackroyd's second volume in his history of England. It is by no means necessary to read the first volume in order to enjoy and understand this volume. Ackroyd examines in detail the religious changes during the period and clearly explains the turmoil this created. Well written and full of detail, it's a good volume to an interested reader wanting to know more about the period.
Nov 04, 2012 rated it really liked it

Didn't enjoy this as much as Vol 1 but only because I was filling a gap in my knowledge then and the Tudors are already too familiar. The religious issues of these times are crucially important to the understanding of the politics but Ackroyd possibly goes into too much detail for me. It's still a book to relish, keep and dip into occasionally though.
Mar 14, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Didn't learn anything new. Tells the same tales as most books on the Tudors, but this one was a little duller.
Helen Felgate
Feb 10, 2018 rated it liked it
A compelling read particularly the section on Elizabeth 1. Ackroyd provides a lot of detail on the conflicts of different religious factors but always finds new snippets of fascinating social history such as the shortages of leather due to the growth in coach building.
Tara Starr bishop
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very detailed and intricate look of England during the reign of the Tudors. Gave great insight not only into the players, the ideologies that shaped policies and often the fate of the guilty as well as innocent, but also the daily life of those living in England during the 16th century.
Sep 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: historia
La dinastía de los Tudor comprende dos reyes y dos reinas: Enrique VII y VIII, María I e Isabel I. Enrique VII, por ser quien acabó la Guerra de las Dos Rosas, cerró el volumen anterior (Foundation: The History of England from Its Earliest Beginnings to the Tudors), por lo que este se queda solamente con los otros tres monarcas. En realidad, dado el corto reinado de María I, los verdaderos protagonistas de este volumen son Enrique VIII e Isabel I. Durante sus reinados se inicia y consolida el ci ...more
Oct 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Tudors is the second book in Peter Ackroyd's History of England series--if you have not read the first Foundation

(you really should) it is not a problem. This book is a continuation of the historical period and will still make perfect sense without the preface of the first book.

Whist I enjoyed reading this very much, I liked the way the information was organised and appreciated the scope of how much research was put into this, I was vaguely disappointed that it mostly focused on the upper class
Feb 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read this book to extend my knowledge for my A level history on Elizabethan foreign policy this year and it has certainly proved informative and interesting.

I, unlike many others who have read this book, did not previously have any knowledge of Mr Ackroyd, nor was I familiar with any of his work but I certainly enjoyed this volume.

I particularly like his uncanny ability to bring the historical figures to life and write with such fluidity.
I also enjoyed his detailed description of the execution
Victor Gibson
May 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I came across this book on the shelves of El Corte Ingles in Madrid. What luck! I had already ready the first volume and enjoyed it so was keen to read the second.

This is a real page turner, whether you are a student of history or just an enthusiastic reader as I am, who despite having learnt history at school, have forgotten much of the detail. And detail there is here, from the affairs of state, to the grovelling poverty of the poor, not the mention the many executions which of course included
Nicki Markus
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-non-fiction
Having read and seen so much about the Tudors, I had expected to find this book of less interest than the first and third in the series. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, the Henry VIII stuff was very familiar, but I learnt a few new things about Mary and Elizabeth's reigns, and overall it was an engaging and delightful read. I am now moving on to volume three, and the Civil War is an era in which I am less well read, so I look forward to learning more. I continue to recommend this serie ...more
Oct 09, 2016 rated it did not like it
Having read Dan Jones excellent history of the Plantagenets and on through the Wars of the Roses I wanted to continue the tale of England's history with the Tudor dynasty. Ackroyd is a much duller writer however and rather than giving a clear and succinct account of the (undeniably fascinating ) facts and focusing on those things that are interesting (the wives, foreign affairs, wars, court intrigues) this gets really bogged down in the religious affairs of the king and the Reformation. These co ...more
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
As someone who has read a lot about the Tudors, I thought that no Tudor book could interest me again. But I was wrong. Peter Ackroyd charts the Tudor story from the accession of Henry VIII to the death of Elizabeth I. His writing style makes it incredibly easy to read. Even events that I know well, such as the execution of Thomas Cranmer, the Wyatt Rebellion, and the death of Mary Queen of Scots were described in ways that made them exciting to read.
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Well written, populated with fascinating characters, Ackroyd writes history in an entertaining, accessible manner. He brings it alive. Henry VIII, larger than life whose whims and fancies could be lethal to those around him through to Elizabeth who had to deal with the plotting and intrigues of her court and parliament. Perhaps if I had teachers in high school with the passion to make history this interesting I might have studied it when I was at school.
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  • Young Henry: The Rise of Henry VIII
  • The Elizabethans
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  • Tudor: The Family Story
  • In the Lion's Court: Power, Ambition, and Sudden Death in the Reign of Henry VIII
  • A Gambling Man: Charles II and the Restoration
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  • Heretic Queen: Queen Elizabeth I and the Wars of Religion
  • England Under the Tudors
  • Henry: Virtuous Prince
  • Restoration London: Everyday Life in the 1660s
  • Catherine Parr: Wife, widow, mother, survivor, the story of the last queen of Henry VIII
  • Tower: An Epic History of the Tower of London
  • A Brief History of the Tudor Age
  • Elizabeth of York: The Forgotten Tudor Queen
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Peter Ackroyd CBE is an English novelist and biographer with a particular interest in the history and culture of London.

Peter Ackroyd's mother worked in the personnel department of an engineering firm, his father having left the family home when Ackroyd was a baby. He was reading newspapers by the age of 5 and, at 9, wrote a play about Guy Fawkes. Reputedly, he first realized he was gay at the age

Other books in the series

The History of England (5 books)
  • Foundation: The History of England from Its Earliest Beginnings to the Tudors (The History of England, #1)
  • Rebellion: The History of England from James I to the Glorious Revolution (The History of England, #3)
  • Revolution (The History of England, #4)
  • Dominion: The History of England from the Battle of Waterloo to Victoria's Diamond Jubilee
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