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Mary Tudor: The Spanish Tudor
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Mary Tudor: The Spanish Tudor

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  826 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
Notorious for her persecution of Protestants, Queen Mary I has been vilified by generations of historians as Bloody Mary. But this award-winning biography offers a more humane and measured perspective on the life of this tormented woman. With sympathy, Prescott examines just how Mary, who was swept to the throne on a wave of popular acclaim, fell so far in her countrymen's ...more
Paperback, 562 pages
Published October 1st 2003 by Phoenix (first published 1940)
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Not everyone is able to look past the sullied “Bloody Mary” image of Henry VIII’s eldest daughter in order to see the ‘real’ Mary. Her life was filled with ups and downs, trials and triumphs; which would affect the mental state of anyone dead or alive. HFM Prescott follows Mary’s life in, “Mary Tudor: The Spanish Tudor”.

Prescott’s portrait of Mary is award-winning (in 1941) and thus definitely has both strong suits and weaknesses. “Mary Tudor” plunges into the childhood of Mary with accuracy an
Sep 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is the biography that got me started on Mary Tudor and got me away from the common, popular view you still see in the media and popular fiction. Despite being decades old it is a neat and very good study and the author is partial, brutal and very firm about the facts, Mary's flaws as well as her attributes and is very thorough from what she had to pay the physicians, her servants, her ailments, her trips to go hunting, her charities, etc ...
I HIGHLY recommend this.
My favorite one I would re
I had never really read anything about Mary Tudor before, other than small mentions in books about Elizabeth I or Henry VIII, so I was very interested in reading this biography. Though maybe not the best biography out there on Mary Tudor being a bit out dated, it was quite an interesting read and I was glad to pick it up.

The biography starts strong with an in-depth look at Mary's childhood and young adulthood, where she went from beloved only child of King Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon to t
Dec 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tudor-fact
This book was written in the early twentieth century and has become increasingly dated with age – Prescott keeps apologizing for the fact that Mary was “just” a “weak” woman – and she isn’t saying it in an ironic way the way Elizabeth I did. Prescott continually gives Mary a pass for all her mistakes, citing the fact she was emotionally troubled woman. Emotionally scarred I can buy, but saying that being a woman was the reason for her problems does a disservice to everyone. The biggest issue, th ...more
Jenifer Strait
Oct 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
A wonderful and insightful read into the life and short lived reign of Queen Mary I of England. Prescott seems to take pity on the often misunderstood Queen, showing us reason as to why she was often indecisive, and ruled by emotions of the heart. Prescott explores the inaccurate title "Bloody Mary" given to the Queen during her attempt to return England to the "True Faith". He also discusses the issue of who was really behind and in favor of the persecutions of the protestant population. Presco ...more
Athena Ninlil
This is the biography that got me started on Mary Tudor and got me away from the common, popular view you still see in the media and popular fiction. Despite being decades old it is a neat and very good study and the author is partial, brutal and very firm about the facts, Mary's flaws as well as her attributes and is very thorough from what she had to pay the physicians, her servants, her ailments, her trips to go hunting, her charities, etc ...
I HIGHLY recommend this.
My favorite one I would re
Todd Price
Aug 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Prescott is someone who really likes "Bloody Mary", and spends a great deal of effort and time arguing that you should too. Admittedly, much of what we think we know about Mary Tudor is hopelessly inaccurate. For those imagining her as a 16th Century Emperor Nero lining gardens with the burning corpses of Christians serving as torches, you would be wrong. Prescott does a good job of portraying Mary as an individual of great personal convictions at a time that many around her simply wanted the ri ...more
Dec 20, 2008 rated it liked it
For me, Mary Tudor is one of those historical figures you feel sorry, but would never want to met. She had a horrible life during her parent's divorce, but does that excuse burning all those people? Needless to say, I'm conflicted over how to view her. Prescott's book is very engaging. She does a very good job of painting the court and Mary's life there. The problem is that Prescott is very sympathic to Mary. While I can understand why, it seems lacking to gloss over the people who died during M ...more
Oct 16, 2009 rated it liked it
I bought this book as part of a "Women in History" boxed set that I was afraid contained bodice-rippers. Nope! In fact, this rather scholarly biography of Mary Tudor (complete with copious footnotes, which I skipped) was a bit hard going ... until I realized it was written in something like 1940. Then I was able to sit back and really enjoy sentences like, "Woman-like, she was unable to make up her mind." After about a third of the book as a warm-up, I could barely put it down, although I don't ...more
Danielle Reily
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was a fascinating look into the motives behind the "Spanish Tudor". I usually enjoy reading about Henry the Eighth and Elizabeth, I never read a lot about the oldest of the the three Tudor children before. I always knew the basic facts of her childhood and brief reign as queen, but this took the story to another more personal level. I felt for Mary, her fears, her disappointments, her brief moments of success, and her continuing and prevailing loneliness.
This book did lack some rese
Aug 28, 2011 rated it liked it
This book was heavy-going - I had to skip a few sections! But considering that it was written in the 1940s, this is understandable. It is well-written, if slightly dry, and well-researched, although not necessarily a perspective of Mary that I agree with. All in all, a book I would recommend to someone interested in a detailed, factual history of Mary Tudor.
Rebecca Curtis
May 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was actually one of the better biographies of one of the Tudor Monarchs that I have read...I love this time period and hearing this story again reminded me of some of the aspects that I had forgotten.
Apr 29, 2009 rated it liked it
A good book, but a little heavy on the intrigues of the court and it factions. The biography dipicts Mary (aka: "Bloody Mary")as a troubled soul. After you read the book, you'll understand why and feel pity for her.
Mar 11, 2008 rated it liked it
I am fascinated with English history and particularly the kings and queens. I have read many book about Henry VIII and his wives. I found this book a good read with many deailes of Mary's live that I hadn't heard before.
Dec 16, 2014 rated it liked it
I loved reading this book and all the information offered but because of the length of the book it did get a little tedious.
William Clifford
Apr 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable read and an engaging subject.
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great biography of Mary Tudor, aka Bloody Mary. As the monarch of England preceding Elizabeth I, she is easily overshadowed and forgotten about. While her reign was disastrous, the author truly examines her character and the history that led her to be the ruler she was. Her continual mistakes and flawed decisions are painful, yet one can't help but pity her and what she could have been had things been different. Definitely a fascinating read!
Feb 18, 2011 added it
not sure I'm going to finish this one but I'll give it a try. I think Mary was a messed up pill but I should give her a chance.
Sunny Johnson
May 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent history - a wonderful read.
Jul 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Loved getting a more personal looking into the life of Catherine of Aragon's daughter. A very interesting read!
Oct 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Dated and essentialist scholarship. But engaging.
Russell Hall
A different view of this most unhappy and lost queen. Abandoned by her father, bastardized, and force to live in a world she did not understand, she did her best, but it was not to be.
very interesting
Dec 13, 2007 rated it it was ok
I'm a big fan of Tudor history and even I found this one to be a bit tough to get through.
Ashley  Laurell
Jan 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was informational, and great for projects if your need many sources. However, compared to others like it isn't as interesting.
Jul 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
It's a biography, but it reads like a book. Very good read. I went from knowing Mary Tudor as only "Bloody Mary" to sympathizing with her and frankly feeling sorry for her.
rated it liked it
Jul 11, 2014
Betsy Bishop
rated it it was amazing
Mar 08, 2012
Kay Bey
rated it it was amazing
Mar 23, 2015
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  • Elizabeth the Great
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Hilda Francis Margaret Prescott was born in Cheshire, the daughter of Rev James Mulleneux Prescott and his wife Margaret (née Warburton). She was educated at Wallasey High School. She read Modern History at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford, where she received her first M.A.. Subsequently she was awarded a second M.A. at Manchester University, where she did research under the direction of T ...more
More about H.F.M. Prescott...

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