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1536: The Year That Changed Henry VIII

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  397 ratings  ·  35 reviews
One of the best-known figures of British history, collective memory of Henry VIII presents us with the image of a corpulent, covetous, and cunning king whose appetite for worldly goods met few parallels, whose wives met infamously premature ends, and whose religion was ever political in intent. 1536 - focusing on a pivotal year in the life of the King - reveals a fuller po ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published June 19th 2009 by Lion Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  397 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)
While I'm not sure if this book completely deserves the five stars I've given it, it really made me think and I highlighted things almost constantly throughout reading it. This is definitely a book I'd love to do further analysis on and own a hardcopy so I could actually annotate and mark things that I want to pay closer attention to.

In the first place, this book provides a very close analysis of the year that Lipscomb believes to be the key turning point for Henry's life and reign. This is some
Aug 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, tudors, uk
1536 by Suzannah Lipscomb is a very interesting read, because of the theories explored explaining how the year of 1536 changed Henry VIII. Anne Boleyn's downfall, Pilgrimage of Grace, Henry Fitzroy's death, marriage to Jane Seymour, Katherine of Aragon's death, the onset of the Reformation, etc. ensured that this year was a turning point in the history of England, as well as a personal turning point for Henry.

The book has some interesting tidbits that I really enjoyed. I also learned new things
Jan 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tudors
Henry VIII was born in 1491, over 500 years ago, and yet we seem as fascinated by him as ever. The stream of books, plays and TV programmes about him seems never ending.

I suppose it is tempting for writers and historians to try and think of a new slant on his life to write about. Lipscomb's book definitely does that - by choosing the year 1536 and arguing that it was pivotal in Henry's life, his annus horribilis.

The series of events in that year, starting early on with the death of his first wif
Dec 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Henry is a very complex character, partly because he was so inconsistent when it came to wives, religion, but most of all... Temperament. So many people close to him at different stages of his life, met with grisly ends- More, Fisher, Cromwell, Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard. And of course Wolsey and first with Catherine of Aragon- who he'd been married to for nearly twenty years, died in disgrace and despair. What Suzannah Lipscomb does so well here, is she looks at one specific year- 1536- t ...more
Sarah Bryson
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books that I have ever read in regards to the personality of Henry VIII. Suzannah Lipscomb claims that the accumulated effects of 1536 worked together to deeply affect the personality and behaviour of Henry VIII and from this year onwards we can see the affects of these events in his tyrannical behaviour. Personally I have always felt that there was so much going on for Henry VIII during the year 1536, from the death of Katherine of Aragon to the fall of Anne Boleyn to th ...more
Eileen Thornton
Dec 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Henry VIII is one of the best-known Monarchs in British History. Numerous novels and films have told how two of his six wives were executed for treason, while a third died shortly after childbirth. However, Suzannah Lipscomb, has pieced together several incidents during 1536, which imply this year was a turning point in the King’s life.

Having read several novels about Henry VIII, I felt I knew everything I needed to know on the subject, but it seems I was wrong. Author Suzannah Lipscomb has foc
Jul 26, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tudor-fact

I think in the hands of someone like Starkey or Weir this could have been great - here it is just OK. Really amazing content, research, analysis and theories, but the writing is so-so, not well structured and fails to really suck you in.

However - loved the psychological possibilities behind Henry's actions and OMG the discourse on how he was "compensating" with that painting!
May 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was a short book but a meaty one. I particularly enjoyed the author's discussion of the events surrounding the execution of Anne Boleyn.
I loved this. Suzannah is so eloquent and puts her point across perfectly. She's managed to make me feel sympathy for Henry VIII, encouraging us to see more than the one dimensional caricature of him that is so common today. Sure, he was a tyrant - but why? That's the interesting question. Psycho-analysing historical figures is tricky but Suzannah succeeds where others trying similar approaches to other figures have failed. She uses the events of 1536 to illuminate Henry's character and his late ...more
Holly (bookology)
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As an introduction or continuation into the study of the life of Henry VIII and those in the world around him, this book offers a great insight and guidance through the political landscape and personal life of the King. Lipscombe has a strong voice that weaves through the factional and national conflicts, with a strong focus on the mind and understanding of Henry. She considers factors beyond the personal and political boundaries separately, instead concluding that the interaction between the tw ...more
Jan 09, 2014 rated it liked it
No new revelations in this book by Suzannah Lipscomb, but a very informative retelling of the events of 1536 that caused Henry VIII to change from a noble king to a vicious oppressor. The deaths of Anne Boleyn and Henry Fitzroy, in addition to his third marriage to Jane Seymour and his continued bouts of ill health, created a perfect storm in the king's life, transforming him into a bloodthirsty tyrant. Lipscomb provides the information in a style much like the one in which she speaks - fluidly ...more
Topping & Company Booksellers of Ely
Dr. Suzannah Lipscomb takes a look at the year 1536 which is, as she puts it, The Year
That Changed Henry VIII. Detailing the various events of the year and the impact that
they had on Henry, Lipscomb provides not only a fascinating historical insight into the
politics and intrigue of the Tudor period, but also a deep and personal biography of one
of our most famous kings. I picked this up with little prior knowledge of the Tudors,
and Lipscomb captivated me with her intelligent historical writi
Jul 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly well written, this book delves into the psyche of Henry VIII and explains the major changes that occurred during his reign: how he came to be the tyrannical beast that is depicted in popular culture.
Suzannah Lipscomb is a great scholar who has a gift for writing and explaining this ambiguous era which saw the Reformation, the fates of six queens, humanism, the birth of Renaissance and the powers that were playing in Europe.
Aug 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
I've no doubt that Suzannah Lipscomb knows her subject matter, but I do feel this got lost in translation. The writing was just ok, the premise of the book was interesting but unproven and the temptation to edit the book into something that hanged together better was great. I was sufficiently engaged that I will read other books by the author, but I'm a little.. disappointed. A case of 'Can do better', but still worth reading.
Kate Boardman
Jul 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
A very interesting book that flies in the face of popular belief. Suzannah sets out her argument in laymans terms. 1536 was definitely Henry VIIIs 'annus horriblus' (sp) Whether Suzannah has answered the reasons for Henrys alleged decline into tyranny is open to argument. I for one think she's onto something here.
Michele Kallio
Dec 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
An informative read....if you really want to understand just why 1536 was Henry VIII's 'annus horribilis' you must read Lipscomb highly readable book. Her clear and concise writing helps the reader to understand how that terrible year changed Henry from Prince Charming into the monster he became. An excellent read!
Sylwia Zupanec
Apr 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Informative and readable '1536' concentrates on the year that - according to author - changed Henry VIII into a tyrant. It's not a long book but it is a page-turner and explains the events of 1536 very well.

Jess Watson
Dec 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Likely to be the closest we'll get to discovering why Henry VIII became the man that he did. Lipscomb employs a range of contemporary social ideals and gender ideologies whilst constructing this convincing work. A massive help with my dissertation!
Sep 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
An in-depth look at the events of 1536 and how they changed Henry VIII.
Her theories are interesting and well supported, but the writing style was not what I was expecting from someone who has a doctorate degree. It sounds like she really dumbed her writing down.
Very easy read for the general public, broad enough to not be overwhelming, yet well researched and detailed enough to get some learnin' on.
Apr 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating, intelligent and original. I loved this book and urge anyone with an interest and/or thorough knowledge to read this book. It taught me a thing or two!
Jan 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Suzannah offers a scholarly view of potential theories on the causes of the changes in Henry's personality. Allows the reader to draw her own conclusions.
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book closely examines one year - 1536 - in the life of Henry VIII, how it affected him and the implications it held for the rest of his reign. It's a fascinating way to deal with it: this year seems to have affected him dramatically, whether it be the jousting fall, the emotional distress of Anne Boleyn's miscarriage, 'betrayal' and death, the death of his son, the Pilgrimage of Grace or any combination of the above. She moves through the year chronologically, following the effects of each ...more
Ashley Owens
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this to complete a paper on the religious changes that occurred during the Tudor dynasties and it was invaluable.
Hannah Moore
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brilliantly written and very engaging. The very premise of the book is completely original, Prof. Lipscomb leads a very convincing argument and 1536 was certainly a significant year for Henry VIII.
Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
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Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It's not easy to have a ton of sympathy for Henry VIII, but when you read this account of this terrible year in his life, you do begin to feel a twinge. He lost his first wife, he had a damaging fall, Anne had a miscarriage, he came to believe she was having an affair. He killed her. (This is where the sympathy begins to fade.) His illegitimate son died. The Pilgrimage of Grace took place. It's all fascinating and beautifully told.
Sep 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
1536 is the fantastic debut of dr. Suzannah Lipscomb. She totally changed my view of Henry VIII. Her book is just amazing and very addictive. I took it with me on my trip to France to read in my room in mornings or evenings. But after I started to read it the first morning I had to finish reading it. So I spent the first day of my hollyday reading 1536.

I was affraid I would have difficulties reading 1536 because English isn't my native language but I had no difficulties reading it. It was writte
Stephanie Leigh
Jan 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Loved it. Some interesting theories on how Anne Boleyn's downfall occurred. Didn't realise this much stuff happened in 1 year.
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Dr Suzannah Lipscomb is Reader in Early Modern History at the University of Roehampton. She is the author of 1536: The Year that Changed Henry VIII, A Visitor's Companion to Tudor England, and The King is Dead: The Last Will and Testament of Henry VIII. She also writes and presents television programmes, including series on Henry VIII and his Six Wives, Witches: A Century of Murder, and Elizabeth ...more