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

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  653 ratings  ·  102 reviews
From Henry VIII's cataclysmic break with Rome to the epic rule of Elizabeth I, the age of the Tudors comes to vivid life on the page

Rich in detail and atmosphere, Tudors is the story of Henry VIII's relentless pursuit ofboth the perfect wife and the perfect heir; ofhow the brief reign of the teenage king, Edward VI,gave way to the violent reimposition of Catholicism and th
Hardcover, first U.S. edition, 528 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published September 13th 2012)
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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
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
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
Chloe Phillips
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
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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
Rob Adey
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
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
Kristen Houghton
I love this era of British history and did my thesis on the Tudors. While the book doesn't offer anything new about the period,( and that's fine as this period of time has been so well documented) it is well-written and keeps a reader's interest.

Peter Ackroyd does a superb job of meshing lesser-known people of the time and the courts with the monarchs. His insight into the Tudor dynasty is clear and brilliantly written. I highly recommend this book.
Kristen Houghton, author For I Have Sinned
Victor Gibson
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
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
Martin Boyle
This is the second volume of Ackroyd's History of England and every bit as fluently written as the first. England at a turning point and a key feature of the Tudor monarchs, so there is a lot of focus on religion. And inevitably the same arguments keep coming up, so it is perhaps a little curmudgeonly to mark this book down a star. Perhaps!

What disappointed me about the book was the lack of the wider context. An age of enlightenment; the development of art, literature, architecture, music; the o

I read most of this history of the Tudor period in England while on vacation. I was glad I read it! an overview of the reign of Henry VIII up to Elizabeth I, I found this book to be both informative and captivating.

The author does a good job of describing the problems of this period in England's history along with personalities, motivations, civil strife and religious persecution. He attempts to tie it all in with the theme of religion, the Reformation and the beginnings of the Anglican church w
Mark Gray
A good read, even if you already have a grounding on Tudor history. Some useful and incisive insights into the impact on society of the reformation
Wesley  Gerrard
The second volume of Ackroyd's history of England, this work covers one of the most astonishing and exciting periods of English history. Two of the most revered and famous monarchs existed in the Tudor period, that of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. The whole reformation and what it entailed, really separated our Isles from continental history and led to our definition as a modern race. Henry's time was defined by his cataclysmic relationships with two wives fouling foul of the executioner and he be ...more
Shawn Thrasher
I came into this book not expecting very much. For one thing, I wasn’t sure how four Tudors – and Jane Grey – could possibly be crammed into one book. Another thing, there are so many books about the Tudors, fiction and nonfiction, that I just wasn’t sure how I could learn anything new. I was happily mistaken. Tudorsby Peter Ackroyd was wonderful! He is tremendously able to "cram" Henry VIII, Edward VI, Jane Grey, Mary I, and Elizabeth I in one delightfully readable volume. He skates back and fo ...more

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.
Liz Cee
Really well laid-out and easy to follow, Ackroyd's book of those nutty Tudors is as entertaining as it is educating.
Leah K
Tudors: The History of England from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I by Peter Ackroyd
528 pages

I believe this title and subtitle make this book fairly obvious so I’ll skip much of a synopsis on this one. It’s the history…of England…during the rule of Henry VIII to Elizabeth I. It focuses more on the political and religious aspects of history so I won’t say it’s really an overall history but that would make for an awfully big book (over 500 pages is enough for me). This is book two of a series, the fir
This is a fine one volume history of the Tudor dynasty from Henry VIII to Elizabeth. It covers all of the high points and presents a coherent story and good context for what is a very complex story, even though it is widely written about. The theme that Ackroyd uses for focus his narrative is that of Reformation, how the old world of the medieval Catholic church to the Church of England, somewhere in between Catholics and Puritans. This is also the story of the growth of the modern British state ...more
So...I took my time with this book. All in all it took about a month to read it. And when I got to the very end of the book, I was a little disconcerted to read (on the very last page, no less), "THIS ENDS VOLUME ONE." What? Volume one of what?? Excuse me? How did I not KNOW this was the second in a set? And who on earth publishes history/nonfiction in multi-volumes anymore anyway?!? Anywho, annoyed rant finished, I flipped back to the cover of the book, the title page, the cataloging informatio ...more
I read the book after seeing the TV series "The Tudors", feeling frustrated that the TV show focused so much on the love affairs of King Henry VIII and so little on the background for the religious reform happening at the time. This book allowed me to find an answer to my questions on the religious and societal changes affecting England in the 16th century. You read it like a novel, yet the book seems rigorous on historical facts. There are a lot of repetitions, but overall it just helps remembe ...more
Didn't learn anything new. Tells the same tales as most books on the Tudors, but this one was a little duller.
A very good and interesting read.

One minor quibble. While I agree that the Reformation and break with Rome was one of the defining moments in history, for a book about the Tudors, I would have preferred equal time being given to the political and military events of the day.

That said, it was a fascinating read

Also, this appears to be the second in a series. I had wondered why the book started with Henry VIII with no context on how the Tudor's rose to power. I guess I'll need to go back and get hi
Dean Hamilton
The Tudors by acclaimed British author Peter Ackroyd is the second volume in his new History of England series, although reading the first book (Foundation) is by no means necessary Ackroyd's highly readable, engaging review of the reigns of the corpulent and much-wedded Henry VIII, Bloody Mary and Elizabeth I (interrupted albeit briefly by Henry VII's on Edward VI's six year reign).

Ackroyd brings the same sharp acumen and evocative social insight evident in his previous works Foundation and in
Naturally with the focus of this book being on the Tudor dynasty, it’s a familiar tale. What is interesting about Ackroyd’s book is that he focuses on the implications of England’s split from the Catholic church and that significance to English–and later British–history. As a result, the events featured in the book moves pretty quickly chronologically but the weight of the presentation comes in explaining the socio-religious changes that was happening across English society.

Tudors is an accessi
Lisa Guidarini
Peter Ackroyd may very well be God. I haven’t met him but I’m feeling pretty good about this. Any other explanation as to how he manages to produce so many huge books filled with so much knowledge in such a short space of time (commonly termed “prolific,” to be concise), all so well written, comes up short. I bow to him. Even genuflect. He is my hero and he is superhuman, with an exhaustive bibliography unparalleled by any writer save, perhaps, Joyce Carol Oates. His body of work encompasses:

I got this book from the publisher (via Netgalley) for review

Tudors is the second book of Peter Ackroyd's History of England. I haven't read the first one, Foundations, but I wasn't lost. Since I haven't read it, I can't say if you really should read it before reading this one. Clearly it's not required reading to understand this book, since I read this one with out any issues. (Note: I did just finish Elizabeth of York by Alison Weir, which spans the time right before this book starts and that
I enjoyed the first volume and was keen to read the next as Ackroyd continues his 6 part history of England concentrating on the Tudors and the reformation. I took a different approach (mostly small child and sleep deprivation related) by reading on and off over the last few months, a monarch at a time. Taking a break in between helped as the need for some light relief was necessary.

I know a lot more about the Tudors than the prior era and Ackroyd does a pretty good job or pulling it all togethe
As a preliminary matter, I'll admit it: my appetite for Tudors dynasty vehicles is more or less bottomless. Whether it's historical esoterica or or a popularly accessible review of the monarchs' lives and reigns --- whatever the quality of the story based on their lives in whichever medium you please -- I always have room to try one more. So, I am easy to please and difficult to impress with a real breadth of past exposure to presentations on this topic. Hopefully, my comparative knowledge can h ...more
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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
More about Peter Ackroyd...

Other Books in the Series

The History of England (3 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)
London: The Biography The Canterbury Tales: A Retelling Hawksmoor London Under: The Secret History Beneath the Streets Shakespeare: The Biography

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