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The Autobiography Of Henry VIII: With Notes By His Fool, Will Somers

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  23,502 Ratings  ·  845 Reviews
This is the story of England's most famous, and notorious, king.

Henry was a charismatic, ardent - and brash - young lover who married six times; a scholar with a deep love of poetry and music; an energetic hunter who loved the outdoors; a monarch whose lack of a male heir haunted him incessantly; and a ruthless leader who would stop at nothing to achieve his desires. His m
Hardcover, 932 pages
Published February 5th 1987 by Macmillan (first published 1986)
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Sandra Lewers I have read many books on English royalty. Also have read almost everything else Margaret George has written. This book is excellent (like the rest of…moreI have read many books on English royalty. Also have read almost everything else Margaret George has written. This book is excellent (like the rest of hers) so far. Love historical fiction!(less)
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The way I felt about this book was perhaps much like Henry VIII felt about one of his doomed wives. At first I was entranced, captivated, under a spell of sorts - I couldn't put the book down. However, about halfway through the honeymoon was over (so to speak), and I began to be annoyed at the little things... This was perhaps not the match made in heaven that I thought it was. Perhaps I had been led atray. By the end there was nothing but the most urgent desire to be done with it - let it die a ...more
I'm ashamed by how long this book took me to read, but my defense is that it's a big thick thing, over 900 pages long. Not one you should pick up unless you're planning to be in it for the long haul and are genuinely interested in the subject matter.

After years of seeing Henry portrayed as a fat, greedy slob whose only concern in life was to have a son, this book made a wonderful change. Finally Henry gets a chance to defend himself. Margaret George clearly put in a lot of work and research into
May 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Richard by: Dave van Es
This is a very long but readable novel purporting to be the autobiography of Henry VIII, with commentary by his court fool. It tracks the king's life from his earliest memory at the age of three until shortly before his death. It is vividly told, and even though scenery and small details are mentioned with photographic accuracy for the reader's benefit, it is done so subtly that said reader doesn't really mind. It gives us a glimpse into the innner life of someone often thought of as a "monster" ...more
Mar 17, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2-star
By the end, it was difficult to decide who is more self-absorbed: the author or her subject.

Margaret George said she wanted to give King Henry better PR. She failed totally.
The plot was (naturally?) given over to his various wives/political schemes, but in 900 pages George really, really could have gone a little further than cliche: the betrayed wife, the scheming bitch, the virtuous woman, the stupid slut, the ugly dog, and the useful nurse. I find it intensely disturbing and frankly unbelieva
Linda Orvis
Apr 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History lovers, especially English
Shelves: historicals
Another flawlessly researched and written book by Margaret George. I knew quite a bit about Henry before I read this, but it added a dimension that I hadn't expected to his character. Years after reading it I traveled to England and was surprised what a celebrity he still is there. Truthfully, though he's known for the outrageous elimination of his wives, we sometimes forget what an amazing effect he had on the progress of Great Britain by severing ties with Rome. George represents him as a tort ...more
Jun 17, 2011 rated it it was ok
932 pages. You’re probably thinking: “That’s a lot of pages!” I admit I was a bit intimidated by the length of Margaret George’s novel on Henry VIII. However, I assure you, the length is less of an issue than the actual content of this gargantuan book.

Disappointment arose quickly, as the beginning of The Autobiography of Henry VIII “welcomed” me with a very slow and dull start. The first several chapters were drab recaps of the events of Henry’s youth which lacked any emotion, excitement, or per
Michel Avenali
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

+ Superb pace and research
+ Engaging and extremely readable
+ Detailed, engrossing characters
+ A window on history

First and foremost Margaret George is a superb historian and writer, she has the ability to make history alive and incredibly engaging. This hefty book makes you feel like it opened a window into Tudor England and dropped you right in the midst of Henry's long and tumultuous reign, and the voyage is always exhilarating and unforgettable. I did not always like Henry, I did not al
The Book Whisperer (aka Boof)
May 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of historical fiction, the Tudors, anyone interested in history really
Recommended to The Book Whisperer (aka Boof) by: Tisha
"I'm Henry VIII, I am, I'm Henry VIII I am, I am!"

Wow! There's never a dull moment with old Henry. Teenage King, always warring with France, cuts ties with Rome and changes the course of history just so he can get a divorce, six wives - two have their heads lopped off, one dies in childbirth, one is too ugly, one won't provide him with a son (tsk! what was she thinking?) and the other gets to mop up his gangrenous leg until he dies. Phew!!!

This is a fabulous book: long, but so worth it. Writte
Jun 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Five stars does not feel like enough for this book. It took me a little longer than usual to read the 932 pages, but I think that's because there were passages I re-read over and over for their beauty. My book is riddled with post-its to mark quotes I didn't want to forget, and had I not already purchased this book before reading, I would have done so just to have those quotes at my fingertips whenever I wanted them. It was that good. I don't know why I'm surprised because The Memoirs of Cleopat ...more
Jul 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, hf-england
I really enjoyed looking at things from Henry's POV. If i hadn't read any other historical fiction or biographies about the time I might be of the opinion that Harry was just a tragic figure cursed by run after run of bad luck. However, I have read a lot about Henry's England. That, and the fact that George uses Will Somer's notes as a warning not to believe all that Henry writes, and one can see that this journal of Henry's is rife with dissembling, rationalizing, and self-deceit. It is NEVER ...more
After 172 pages I have decided to dump this.I do NOT enjoy reading it and I have given it a fair try. I am often hesitant toward autobiographies, particularly when they are historical fiction. An autobiography cannot, by definition, provide an impartial view on the events that occurred. Margaret George is an author known for her thorough research, but in that which is not known she has made suppositions that I cannot accept. In my mind it is very clear that Henry was motivated by power. He was a ...more
Jan 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
VIII. Henrikről mindenki tudja, hogy egy rakás felesége volt és néhányat le is fejeztetett közülük. Kegyetlen, nagydarab, rettegett király hírében áll, de szerintem a rossz hírneve miatt nem igazán akaródzik senkinek közelebb kerülni hozzá, hogy jobban megismerje.

Ez a könyv azonban erre hivatott. Természetesen nem valódi önéletrajz, hanem fiktív, de nagyon jól visszaadja, hogy milyen lehetett Henriknek lenni, milyen lehetett hercegként, magányban, szeretettelenül nevelkedni, majd szintén hatalm
A huge book--over 900 pages. But worth every one! We've all read about Henry VIII and his six wives. Dry, historical facts and events. This book delves into what kind of man (and king) he may have been. His fears, his strengths are discussed here in the form of a diary that has been discovered after his death and is being sent to an illegitimate daughter of Henry by his "fool", Will Somers. The word "fool" refers to someone who is permitted to speak plainly to the King or Queen. To tell the trut ...more
Nov 14, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: justagreatread
I've been on a huge kick for historical ficton lately especailly the Tudors. Henry VIII is the most amazing character in British history. This book allows you to look a his life on a whole not just one portion of it.

It talks of his youth. His marriage to Katherine of Aragon. Anne Bolyn. (alot.....) and all his other wives. I never really paid much attention to his life except for the well told tales with Anne Bolyn so it was great to get an over look at all his loves and loses.

This book kinda dr
Brittany B.
Yep... Finished a week, and I'm listening to it again...

Book: 6stars
Narrator : 6++++ stars

The best book I've read this year.

I intend to write a review that is worthy of this grand book.

I encourage anyone interested in this historical masterpiece to buy this as an audiobook. This is a novel that is made even more compelling by outstanding the perchance of the narrator, (It is rumored that the author was the director of the audio performance
Henry Explains Himself. Fictionally

Much has been said about Henry VIII... so what is his side of the story? Why did he behead two of his 6 wives? their associates/relatives? two of his closest friend-advisors? hundreds of alleged treasonists? protestants? whole monestaries full of monks? ... Henry explains all this and more.

If you know the story of the Tudors, this will have you laughing out loud. He looks at his daughter Mary dressed in black translating pious works and remarks how like her mo
Ian Mapp
Jan 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
This has to be the best way to learn about history - read a fictional account of a particular subject. This makes things interesting and educational.

932 pages - you have everything you could want to know about Henry VIII and what drove him to make the well known decisions. He comes out of this book with many merits. He may have made mistakes but everything he did, he did for the right reason.

500 pages in and we are still on Katherine of Aragon. But then again, he was married to her for 20 odd ye
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the book that jolted my interest in the Royal line of Britain. I went from Henry VIII to learning everything I could about the entire line and it all started with this marvelous work of fiction by Margaret George.
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rarely do I tackle books this long but I really enjoyed all 932 pages. All the way through the book was interesting and entertaining. Certainly a more fun way to learn about Henry VIII than some dry academic biography.
Oct 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you like historical fiction, you will LOVE this book. The reader is lead to believe that it is more fact than fiction because of the amount of research Margaret George did in preparing this book for publication. She read and studied many books and period accounts (check out the bibliography), as well as having visited England more than once for the express purpose of researching the life and personality of Henry VIII during the 15 years it took her to write it. No one had ever thought to try ...more
Dec 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Autobiography of Henry VIII is the first novel published by esteemed historical fiction novelist Margaret George. Although this book may seem like a real autobiography at first glance based on the title (of course it's not - how is that even possible?), this novel is actually a fictional firsthand account of the life of Henry VIII, as told by his fool, Will Somers.

Sitting at a very thick 960 pages, The Autobiography of Henry VIII may seem an overwhelming feat to some readers, especially thos
Ashley W
I really wanted to like this book, and I did for the most part. I liked seeing Henry's relationship with Catherine of Aragon, because most of the time writers skip over their relationship to get to the Anne Boleyn drama and we are left to wonder why he married her in the first place. I understand she did love him, but from Henry's POV, it seemed she was slightly obsessed with him, which I guess is okay, because it's coming from his mind, as delusional as it was.

Henry's relationship with Anne Bo
Dec 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Langatmige Geschichtsstunde

Dieses Buch ist das (fiktive) Tagebuch des als Blaubart in die Geschichte eingegangenen englischen Herrschers. Besonders witzig fand ich die Idee, dazu noch Anmerkungen des Hofnarren einzuflechten um dem ganzen einen kritischeren Touch zu geben. Die großen Vorzüge des Buches sind mit Sicherheit die gute Recherche und der Versuch das Leben eines der verrufendsten Könige der Geschichte aus seiner eigenen Sicht zu erzählen. Dadurch wird dem Leser eine aufregende Geschicht
I had been looking forward to reading this novelization of life of Henry VIII for quite some time. With 932 pages it took a bit of effort for me to finish, especially because I never felt particularly drawn into this novel.

I did learn a lot about the early years of Henry's marriage to Katherine of Aragon and many other things which were interesting. Unfortunately, I never got any sense of depth or realism from the historical figures as people, everyone came across as flat.

It almost felt as if
Apr 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book thrust me into what I now call my "Tudor period." The book is fiction, but loaded with historical facts. I followed it with nearly half a dozen non-fiction books about the Tudors. It's hard to pick which one is the most interesting. Henry VII, who was a soldier who won his right to the throne, and as a result, was a very hard man. Henry VIII, one of history's most misunderstood men. Thirty-eight when he died, people! That famous portrait you see of him--he's about 36!! Thirty-six! That ...more
Jan 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to laura by: Lindsey Carlile
Shelves: fiction
Overall, I loved this book. It was fascinating to read about the life of Henry VIII through his perspective. Seeing it that way helped make more sense of some of the decisions he made while King. I thought everything surrounding the Boelyn drama was fantastic. I loved the vivid descritions of the emotional roller coaster he seemed to be on for the majority of his life.

I could hardly put this book down during the first few hundred pages. However, I admit I got a little "stir crazy" towards the e
Elizabeth(The Book Whisperer)
Omg, words can not express how much I adored this book. Wowsers, each word was perfect and I was on awe every second. This book is crack for the Tudor lovers soul!
Jul 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read more than my fair share of Tudor historical fiction. This, however, is the first I've read told from Henry's perspective, which is a nice change of pace. As a fictional character, you can't help feeling sympathy for the Boy who wasn't raised to be King, and yet became one at a young age with no mentorship or trusted guidance. He was rash and impulsive, romantic and eager to please. He was spoiled and indulged to the point of destruction.His wants contradicted one another. He wanted bot ...more
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 stars

What a great book!

I really wished there were more asides by Will Somers, though. I enjoyed those immensely.

This is a brilliant work. It was well written and researched. It doesn't matter that I have read a great deal about King Henry VIII, I truly enjoyed this book.

It tells of Henry's life from his earliest memory through his last days - from his point of view. Of course, some of it had to be surmised, but it was fun reading to say the least.

I will continue to read Margaret George's b
Kathleen Schilling
Interesting book, a bit too long
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Tudor History Lovers: July/August 2014 - The Autobiography of Henry VIII, by Margaret George 55 106 Aug 17, 2014 11:44PM  
My Imagination??? 6 104 Jul 23, 2012 06:32PM  
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Margaret George is a rolling stone who has lived in many places, beginning her traveling at the age of four when her father joined the U.S. diplomatic service and was posted to a consulate in Taiwan. The family traveled on a freighter named after Ulysses' son Telemachus that took thirty days to reach Taiwan, where they spent two years. Following that they lived in Tel Aviv (right after the 1948 wa ...more
More about Margaret George...
“Thus we use our supposed "knowledge" of others to speak on their behalf, and condemn them for their words we ourselves put in their silent mouths.” 21 likes
“Yet we always envy others, comparing our shadows to their sunlit sides.” 12 likes
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