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Catherine of Aragon

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  1,360 ratings  ·  48 reviews
For 24 years she was the wife of Henry VIII. England loved her; Henry loved, respected, and finally feared her. Wolsey hated her. Twice she saved England, once from invasion, once from Civil War. Here is one of those rare books, brilliantly readable and buttressed by scholarship and research, which make you see history through new eyes.
Hardcover, 470 pages
Published January 1st 1960 by AMS Press (first published 1941)
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Average rating 4.14  · 
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 ·  1,360 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Nov 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent, well-researched historical biography of Catherine, 1st wife of Henry VIII, though a bit dated (pub. 1941). I picked it up at a library book sale in California last spring--& found inside 1) various pressed flowers, 2) a bookmark with an Asian painting on it, 3) a newspaper clipping about a lecture featuring Dr. Benjamin Spock & Dr. S.I. Hayakawa discussing educational reform! OK, that was a digression – but what’s better than finding things inside used books?! What’s better ...more
Dec 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Not a good read - an EXCELLENT read.

I had no idea this book existed until I saw it on the shelf in a used bookstore. I gasped with happiness to find a book on the Tudors I hadn't read yet and snatched it off the shelf.

The book is chock full of facts from her birth to death, filled with details about her life and the people she interacted with and how her part in events played out, with great looks into motivation without spilling over into pure fan fiction. I suspect this book was the prime sou
Laura Edwards
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Fairly thorough biography with a lot of pertinent historical detail about the times and political landscape Catherine of Aragon had to navigate. Very interesting also to explore how Catherine's case affected the church and unwittingly aided the rise of Protestantism in Europe.

A couple of missteps, in my opinion, knocked a star off the rating, however. Mattingly tends to be an apologist for Henry VIII to some degree. Why is it some men have a problem admitting some other men are controlled by th
Lora Shouse
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
The author of this book was a specialist in early modern European diplomacy and came to the study of Catherine of Aragon by way of a study of the diplomatic correspondence of the ambassadors of Spain. Hence, much of this book is taken up with the diplomatic wrangling over the two main issues of Catherine’s life; the dispute over her dowry, and the attempt by Henry VIII to divorce her. Biographies of Catherine are rare; most of what biographical information you hear about her usually shows up as ...more
Jan 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this portrait of a very principled and stubborn woman who would not say what she didn't believe to be true, at the cost of her station and health.
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Catherine of Aragon” by Garrett Mattingly was a delightful adventure. Reading Mattingly’s other masterpiece “The Armada” is what pushed me to follow more of his work…thus I arrived at Catherine of Aragon. As usual Mattingly writes with deep knowledge from his research and a sly wit in his approach to the subject. The book teems with history of the intrigue among seemingly all the European royals in the late-1400s-early 1500s.

Simply, the book takes Ferdinand and Isabella’s youngest daughter Cat
This biography was an outgrowth of the author’s research for Renaissance Diplomacy (also very good), and, as such, focuses closely on diplomatic maneuverings between the kingdoms of early 16th Century Europe. Since in that period, the lines between ambassador and spy were often quite blurred, the notes and letters from diplomats are a key source of information for historians – especially the stuff that governments wanted to keep out of their official records. As a result, ambassadors are frequen ...more
I’m FINALLY done & let’s just say that this now-destroyed little paper back delivered. Mattingly’s narrative voice is perfect for the subject material, and I am at last rod of “No Way” playing on repeat in the back of my head. Phew. ...more
C.S. Burrough
Mar 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
A great biography of a great royal consort, England's beloved Queen Cate.

This daughter of Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon was three when betrothed to Arthur, Prince of Wales, heir apparent to the English throne. They were then married by proxy in 1499, corresponding in Latin until Arthur was fifteen, when their parents agreed they were old enough to actually marry.

Henry VII sailed Catherine to England for the marriage. As Prince and Princess of Wales the couple reside
I am a huge anglophile,especially of Tudor England, so this was right up my alley! What a well written book. It read like a novel, and last week I read a historical fiction novel of Catherine and I could tell that the author of the novel used this novel as the basis of her research. I felt like a detective figuring that one out! I would incourage anyone interested in historical biographies to read this.
Sep 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
This is the first biography of Catherine of Aragon I read. I got a very old edition, a Spanish edition I think. It is very thorough, albeit a bit outdated (I am eager to check the upcoming book by Patrick Williams). Though I read a spanish translation, I can tell the writing style is quite rich. I think it's a must read for any Catherine enthusiast.
S Beverage
Aug 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Good, solid history of Catherine of Aragon - the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, who couldn't give Henry VIII a son and led to the English break with Rome. Catherine was a very strong woman, who had a very clear sense of herself and her role. Our world would be very different if she had been able to ensure the Tudor succession. Mattingly has an engaging style.
Apr 30, 2008 rated it liked it
Whew! Exhaustive and tiring at times but a good read nonetheless. The way it is written kept me interested as I read on the el on the way to and from work. If you've ever seen the British series The Forsythe's, you'll appreciate this.
William  Shep
Jan 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Masterful though now somewhat dated biography of Henry VIII's first queen, Catherine of Aragon. Mattingly set a high standard with this biography, and especially for his more famous work: The Armada.
Yes, it's old, and dated, and it's not exactly balanced—Mattingly loathes Anne Boleyn—but when Anne is usually glorified, Catherine gets thrown in the shadows. Yet, it was with her that Henry VIII spent most of his reign.

Her courage is hard to imagine, and she deserves to be commended for it.
Jul 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was a very well-written biography that read like a novel. Catherine´s life was frustrating to read about as a modern woman, and her intelligence probably made her life that much harder because it was so out of place in that time.
Jan 22, 2011 rated it did not like it
Hard to read... we read the 1042 edition, and it was not good!!! Found the subject very interesting - but this version... yuck!
Wonderful book. Very detailed account of Catherine's life, I would highly recommended this.
Nov 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
It was great the first 1/3. It was so well written, but it lost me after that as it got muddled up in the facts.
Russell Hall
Oct 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good account of Catherine without getting too much into others in her story.
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’ve just finished this book. It is simply outstanding. He researched it in the late 1930s and published it in 1941 and so it is slightly dated in parts, but like Neale’s biography of Elizabeth age does not wither the beauty of its prose, the general soundness if its judgement and the durability of its interpretation.

While this is an excellent biography of Catherine her life is described against a rich background of personalities and social and political change. Her drama occurs at a hinge poin
Vincent Lombardo
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book is too long and too detailed, and the prose is stilted and ornate. Mattingly is at his best when he focuses on Catherine and her relationship with Henry VIII. Unfortunately, he often takes his eye off Catherine and writes in excruciating detail about other subjects. A much shorter book focusing more on Catherine would have been much better.
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The author has done their research and accessed as many primary sources as possible (some were unavailable due to the Spanish Civil War). Very much enjoyed the good scholarship and well written biography.
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love Mattingly's prose, and his analysis of Henry VIII, Catherine, and Pope Clement roles in provoking the Reformation is powerful and cogent.
Coral Reeves
Aug 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I could feel the author's sympathy for the late queen pouring from the pages. This was such a wonderful read.
Catherine of Aragon (Hardcover)
by Garrett Mattingly
Brittany Nelson
Oct 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Katherine of Aragon is one of the most important women to me. I've been waiting awhile to get my hands on this (I've heard it was good from other KOA fans). The genius of the book is that it places her in the political context of her time and the characters that surrounded her. It does not exclude her from this arena, it places her in it. While many contemporaries like to pit her against Anne Boleyn, saying she was the meek wife - she was anything but - this book, if it does not paint her as a p ...more


...time that someone wrote about this Tudor Queen
AND in detail !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Strange Thing perhaps is that it has already been done;
AND years ago....1942 to be precise....yes,1942 !!??
and one soon realises that ALL the INFORMATION
has been lying around since her life ended so bitterly and cruelly in 1536.

AND why ?????
WHY this Neglect !!???

Well, compared with her husband Henry VIII,
Katherine was and always will be a MINOR Charac
Mike Cook
Dec 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was first published in 1941 and is written a style that isn't common today. The sentences contain numerous modifying, specifying phrases separated by commas. They can get very long, and sometimes confusing. They can even be wearying. That's the down side. The up side is that it is very detailed and edifying in its descriptions of, not only one of the most famous queens in history, but also of her husband, Henry VIII. I learned a great deal about them and the political and social climat ...more
Feb 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Some of the reviews below reference a 1941 book of the same name. The book pictured is much more recent.

The author is very good at putting the reader in the period by focusing on small events as the nexus of each chapter. This is very effective and highly engaging. I enjoyed reading this book.

However, this is popular history. He never really tries to analyze either Catherine's motivation in historical context or Henry's place within English history. There is more analysis and context related to
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