Derek Wilson - A Brief History of Henry VIII - Little, Brown Book Group

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    • ISBN:9781472107633
    • Publication date:07 Feb 2013
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A Brief History of Henry VIII

King, Reformer and Tyrant

By Derek Wilson

  • Paperback
  • £8.99

A brilliant new history of the life of Henry VIII to celebrate the 500th Anniversary of his accession, by a master of narrative history.

Henry VIII changed the course of English life more completely than any monarch since the Conquest. In the portraits of Holbein, Henry Tudor stands proud as one of the most powerful figures in renaissance Europe. But is the portrait just a bluff?

In his new book Derek Wilson explores the myths behind the image of the Tudor Lion. He was the monarch that delivered the Reformation to England yet Luther called him 'A fool, a liar and a damnable rotten worm'. As a young man he gained a reputation as an intellectual and fair prince yet he ruled the nation like a tyrant. He treated his subjects as cruelly as he treated his wives.

Based on a wealth of new material and a life time's knowledge of the subject Derek Wilson exposes a new portrait of a much misunderstood King.

PRAISE FOR DEREK WILSON'S PREVIOUS WORKS:

The Uncrowned Kings of England:

'Stimulating and authorative.' John Guy

'Masterly. [Wilson] has a deep understanding of...characters, reaching out accross the centuries.' Sunday Times

Hans Holbein: Portrait of an Unknown Man:

'Fascinating.' Sarah Bradford, Daily Telegraph'

Highly readable...The most accurate and vivid portrayal to date.' Alison Weir

Biographical Notes

Derek Wilson is an award-winning historian and author of the high acclaimed biographies of Hans Holbein and Sir Francis Walsingham, and The Uncrowned Kings of England. He runs the annual Cambridge History festival and lives in Devon. His website is: www.derekwilson.com.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781845299033
  • Publication date: 12 Feb 2009
  • Page count: 400
  • Imprint: Robinson
Perfect for anyone wanting a readable account that gets behind the myth to the man. — The Good Book Guide
This masterful biography breaks new ground in its portrayal of a monarch who, perhaps more than any other, changed the course of our history ... Wilson does an excellent job of separating myth from fact. — Choice Magazine
Derek Wilson, author of two well-received Tudor history books, has written an enjoyable and readable account of the man. In a year when we are going to be inundated with Prince Hal, this is a worthy addition. — Catholic Herald
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Ludo and the Power of the Book

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The Fighting Irish

Tim Newark
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For hundreds of years, Irish soldiers have sought their destiny abroad. Stepping aboard ships bound for England, America, or Europe, young Irishmen have been hungry for adventure, a self-made fortune or the means to carry on a cause back home. Wherever he has travelled, whichever side of the battlefield he has stood, the tales of his exploits have never been forgotten.The Irish soldier has always been in the thick of the fight. Leaving his birthplace, he travelled with hope, sometimes wanting to bring a liberating revolution to his fellow countrymen. Often seeking adventure, the Fighting Irish have been found in all corners of the British Empire, winning new territories, gaining a reputation as fearless soldiers. Some sailed to America and joined in frontier fighting or demonstrated their loyalty to their new homeland in the bloody combats of the American Civil War. Others took the opportunity to carry on their home-borne disputes with campaigns against the British Empire in Canada and South Africa.The Irish soldier has been in the thick of war during the twentieth century-facing slaughter at the Somme, surviving prison camps in Korea, desperate last-stands in the Congo-and continuing sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Fighting Irish, acclaimed historian Tim Newark tells their tales in the dramatic words of the soldiers themselves, gathered from diaries, letters and journals from archives-and interviews with veterans-in Ireland and across the world.Praise for Highlander:"Tim Newark is a remarkably gifted storyteller." The Scotsman"At last, the Highland soldier has the history he richly deserves. Tim Newark tells the dramatic tale with some startling new stories and superbly researched detail." Andrew Roberts."Highlanders have long been among the most feared soldiers in the world and Tim Newark's book admirably tells their stirring tale. A great read!" Bernard Cornwell.

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Superstition and Science, 1450-1750

Derek Wilson
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'A dazzling chronicle, a bracing challenge to modernity's smug assumptions' - Bryce Christensen, Booklist'O what a world of profit and delightOf power, of honour and omnipotenceIs promised to the studious artisan.'Christopher Marlowe, Dr FaustusBetween the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, Europe changed out of all recognition and particularly transformative were the ardent quest for knowledge and the astounding discoveries and inventions which resulted from it. The movement of blood round the body; the movement of the earth round the sun; the velocity of falling objects (and, indeed, why objects fall) - these and numerous other mysteries had been solved by scholars in earnest pursuit of scientia. Several keys were on offer to thinkers seeking to unlock the portal of the unknown:Folk religion had roots deep in the pagan past. Its devotees sought the aid of spirits. They had stores of ancient wisdom, particularly relating to herbal remedies. Theirs was the world of wise women, witches, necromancers, potions and incantations.Catholicism had its own magic and its own wisdom. Dogma was enshrined in the collective wisdom of the doctors of the church and the rigid scholastic system of teaching. Magic resided in the ranks of departed saints and the priestly miracle of the mass.Alchemy was at root a desire to understand and to exploit the material world. Practitioners studied the properties of natural substances. A whole system of knowledge was built on the theory of the four humours.Astrology was based on the belief that human affairs were controlled by the movement of heavenly bodies. Belief in the casting of horoscopes was almost universal.Natural Philosophy really began with Francis Bacon and his empirical method. It was the beginning of science 'proper' because it was based on observation and not on predetermined theory.Classical Studies. University teaching was based on the quadrivium - which consisted largely of rote learning the philosophy and science current in the classical world (Plato, Aristotle, Galen, Ptolemy, etc.). Renaissance scholars reappraised these sources of knowledge.Islamic and Jewish Traditions. The twelfth-century polymath, Averroes, has been called 'the father of secular thought' because of his landmark treatises on astronomy, physics and medicine. Jewish scholars and mystics introduced the esoteric disciplines of the Kabbalah.New Discoveries. Exploration connected Europeans with other peoples and cultures hitherto unknown, changed concepts about the nature of the planet, and led to the development of navigational skills.These 'sciences' were not entirely self-contained. For example physicians and theologians both believed in the casting of horoscopes. Despite popular myth (which developed 200 years later), there was no perceived hostility between faith and reason. Virtually all scientists and philosophers before the Enlightenment worked, or tried to work, within the traditional religious framework. Paracelsus, Descartes, Newton, Boyle and their compeers proceeded on the a príori notion that the universe was governed by rational laws, laid down by a rational God.. This certainly did not mean that there were no conflicts between the upholders of different types of knowledge. Dr Dee's neighbours destroyed his laboratory because they believed he was in league with the devil. Galileo famously had his run-in with the Curia.By the mid-seventeenth century 'science mania' had set in; the quest for knowledge had become a pursuit of cultured gentlemen. In 1663 The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge received its charter. Three years later the French Academy of Sciences was founded. Most other European capitals were not slow to follow suit. In 1725 we encounter the first use of the word 'science' meaning 'a branch of study concerned either with a connected body of demonstrated truths or with observed facts systematically classified'. Yet, it was only nine years since the last witch had been executed in Britain - a reminder that, although the relationship of people to their environment was changing profoundly, deep-rooted fears and attitudes remained strong.

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Quicksilver

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HRH Princess Michael of Kent

From HRH Princess Michael of Kent, bestselling author of The Queen of Four Kingdoms, comes the eagerly-anticipated third volume in the Anjou trilogy.The final volume of the Anjou trilogy focuses on merchant Jacques Coeur, a man of humble beginnings but fiercely ambitious, who became one of the richest and most powerful men in fifteenth century France. HRH Princess Michael of Kent vividly re-enacts the life of Jacques Coeur as he becomes trusted confidante and champion of the Anjou royal family, particularly of his beloved patroness Yolande, Queen of the Four Kingdoms, and, of course, the beautiful and captivating Agnes Sorel who Jacques comes to know and understand as a friend.As Jacques's star shines brighter and brighter, his story runs parallel to that of Yolande and Agnes Sorel until the three interlink in devastating fashion and Jacques's ambition and generosity become his downfall. Meticulously researched and powerfully evoked, HRH Princess Michael of Kent unveils a seldom told story, enriched by her own insider's perspective of royal life.

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On Intelligence

John Hughes-Wilson
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From the ancient Greek and Roman origins of human intelligence to its use in the Catholic church to Francis Walsingham's Elizabethan secret service to the birth of the surveillance state in today's digital hi-tech age, Colonel John Hughes-Wilson, professional military-intelligence officer and author of the bestselling Military Intelligence Blunders and Cover-Ups, gives an extraordinarily broad and wide-reaching perspective on intelligence, providing an up-to-date analysis of the importance of intelligence historically and in the recent past. Drawing upon a variety of sources, ranging from first-hand accounts to his own personal experience, Hughes-Wilson covers everything from undercover agent handling to photographic reconnaissance to today's much misunderstood cyber welfare. This book stands apart from the rest in that it tells the real inside story from a controversial insider's point of view, lifting the veil on what really happened behind the scenes in the intelligence world during some of the most well-known military events that have shaped our lives. On Intelligence is looking for hard answers - there are some tough lessons to be learned from both intelligence failures and successes - why is crucial intelligence so often ignored, misunderstood or spun by politicians and seasoned generals alike? One of the leading military experts of our time, Colonel John Hughes-Wilson skilfully weaves together an accessible and readable narrative on intelligence, accompanied by his unrivalled professional insight.

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The Traitor's Mark

D. K. Wilson
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Each novel in this thrilling series of historical mysteries is based on a real unsolved Tudor crime. This second instalment reunites readers with its star, London goldsmith Thomas Treviot.The Real CrimeHans Holbein, King Henry VIII's portrait painter, died in the autumn of 1543. A century later a chronicler reported that the artist had succumbed to plague, yet there is no contemporary evidence to support this. Suspicions have been raised over the centuries, but the mystery of what actually happened remains unsolved to this day.Our StoryYoung London goldsmith Thomas Treviot is awaiting a design for a very important jewellery commission from Hans Holbein. When the design fails to turn up, Thomas sends a servant to track Holbein down, only to discover that the painter has disappeared. In his hunt for Holbein and the lost design, Thomas is led into a morass of dangerous political intrigue, Spanish spies and courtiers that is more treacherous than he could ever have anticipated...

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D. K. Wilson
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Elizabethan Society

Derek Wilson
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The reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603) marked a golden age in English history. There was a musical and literary renaissance, most famously and enduringly in the form of the plays of Shakespeare (2016 marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death), and it was a period of international expansion and naval triumph over the Spanish. It was also a period of internal peace following the violent upheaval of the Protestant reformation. Wilson skilfully interweaves the personal histories of a representative selection of twenty or so figures - including Nicholas Bacon, the Statesman; Bess of Hardwick, the Landowner; Thomas Gresham, 'the Financier'; John Caius, 'the Doctor'; John Norreys, 'the Soldier'; and Nicholas Jennings, 'the Professional Criminal' - with the major themes of the period to create a vivid and compelling account of life in England in the late sixteenth century. This is emphatically not yet another book about what everyday life was like during the Elizabethan Age. There are already plenty of studies about what the Elizabethans wore, what they ate, what houses they lived in, and so on. This is a book about Elizabethan society - people, rather than things. How did the subjects of Queen Elizabeth I cope with the world in which they had been placed? What did they believe? What did they think? What did they feel? How did they react towards one another? What, indeed, did they understand by the word 'society'? What did they expect from it? What were they prepared to contribute towards it? Some were intent on preserving it as it was; others were eager to change it. For the majority, life was a daily struggle for survival against poverty, hunger, disease and injustice. Patronage was the glue that held a strictly hierarchical society together. Parliament represented only the interests of the landed class and the urban rich, which was why the government's greatest fear was a popular rebellion. Laws were harsh, largely to deter people getting together to discuss their grievances. Laws kept people in one place, and enforced attendance in parish churches. In getting to grips with this strange world - simultaneously drab and colourful, static and expansive, traditionalist and 'modern' - Wilson explores the lives of individual men and women from all levels of sixteenth-century life to give us a vivid feel for what Elizabethan society really was.Praise for the author:Masterly. [Wilson] has a deep understanding of characters reaching out across the centuries. Sunday Times Scores highly in thoroughness, clarity and human sympathy. Sunday TelegraphThis masterly biography breaks new ground. Choice MagazineHis book is stimulating and authoritative. Sunday TimesBrilliant, endlessly readable ... vivid, immediate history, accurate, complex and tinged with personality. Sunday Herald

Robinson

Elizabethan Society

Derek Wilson
Authors:
Derek Wilson

The reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603) marked a golden age in English history. There was a musical and literary renaissance, most famously and enduringly in the form of the plays of Shakespeare (2016 marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death), and it was a period of international expansion and naval triumph over the Spanish. It was also a period of internal peace following the violent upheaval of the Protestant reformation. Wilson skilfully interweaves the personal histories of a representative selection of twenty or so figures - including Nicholas Bacon, the Statesman; Bess of Hardwick, the Landowner; Thomas Gresham, 'the Financier'; John Caius, 'the Doctor'; John Norreys, 'the Soldier'; and Nicholas Jennings, 'the Professional Criminal' - with the major themes of the period to create a vivid and compelling account of life in England in the late sixteenth century. This is emphatically not yet another book about what everyday life was like during the Elizabethan Age. There are already plenty of studies about what the Elizabethans wore, what they ate, what houses they lived in, and so on. This is a book about Elizabethan society - people, rather than things. How did the subjects of Queen Elizabeth I cope with the world in which they had been placed? What did they believe? What did they think? What did they feel? How did they react towards one another? What, indeed, did they understand by the word 'society'? What did they expect from it? What were they prepared to contribute towards it? Some were intent on preserving it as it was; others were eager to change it. For the majority, life was a daily struggle for survival against poverty, hunger, disease and injustice. Patronage was the glue that held a strictly hierarchical society together. Parliament represented only the interests of the landed class and the urban rich, which was why the government's greatest fear was a popular rebellion. Laws were harsh, largely to deter people getting together to discuss their grievances. Laws kept people in one place, and enforced attendance in parish churches. In getting to grips with this strange world - simultaneously drab and colourful, static and expansive, traditionalist and 'modern' - Wilson explores the lives of individual men and women from all levels of sixteenth-century life to give us a vivid feel for what Elizabethan society really was.Praise for the author:Masterly. [Wilson] has a deep understanding of characters reaching out across the centuries. Sunday Times Scores highly in thoroughness, clarity and human sympathy. Sunday TelegraphThis masterly biography breaks new ground. Choice MagazineHis book is stimulating and authoritative. Sunday TimesBrilliant, endlessly readable ... vivid, immediate history, accurate, complex and tinged with personality. Sunday Herald

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A Brief History of British Kings & Queens

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Here is the whole of recorded British royal history, from the legendary King Alfred the Great onwards, including the monarchies of England, Scotland, Wales and the United Kingdom for over a thousand years. Fascinating portraits are expertly woven into a history of division and eventual union of the British Isles - even royals we think most familiar are revealed in a new and sometimes surprising light. This revised and shortened edition of The Mammoth Book of British Kings & Queens includes biographies of the royals of recorded British history, plus an overview of the semi-legendary figures of pre-history and the Dark Ages - an accessible source for students and general readers.

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Sir Francis Walsingham

Derek Wilson
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During the brief reign of the Queen Mary, Walsingham was a Protestant exile in Italy. Returning home when Elizabeth assumed the throne, from 1570 he became a diplomat to the arch-pragmatist Queen. He was often troubled by her inconsistent policy decisions and for allowing the exile in England of Mary Queen of Scots. His triumph came in 1587 when Mary was at last beheaded after the cunning defeat of the Babington plot. A powerful, if enigmatic figure, loathed by his adversaries and deeply admired by friends and allies, Walsingham became the master co-ordinator of a feared pan-European spy network. His spies underpinned his organisation of national resistance to the Spanish Armada, but devotion and duty to Elizabeth was costly and Walsingham died two years later in penury.Historian and storyteller Derek Wilson delves deeply into the life of a fascinating and highly influential figure, bringing us tales of deceit, betrayal and loyalty along the way; popular history of the highest calibre.see www.derekwilson.com

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The Uncrowned Kings of England

Derek Wilson
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In the political ferment of the Tudor century one family above all others was always at the troubled centre of court and council. During those years the Dudleys were never far from controversy. Three of them were executed for treason. They were universally condemned as scheming, ruthless, over-ambitious charmers, and one was defamed as a wife murderer. Yet Edmund Dudley was instrumental in establishing the financial basis of the Tudor dynasty, and John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, led victorious armies, laid the foundations of the Royal Navy, ruled as uncrowned king and almost succeeded in placing Lady Jane Grey on the throne. The most famous of them all, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, came the closest to marrying Elizabeth I, was her foremost favourite for 30 years and governed the Netherlands in her name, while his successor, Sir Robert Dudley, was one of the Queen's most audacious seadogs in the closing years of her reign, but fell foul of James I. Thus the fortunes of this astonishing family rose and fell with those of the royal line they served faithfully through a tumultuous century.see www.derekwilson.com

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A Brief History of the Tudor Age

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A Brief History of Life in the Middle Ages

Martyn Whittock
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Using wide-ranging evidence, Martyn Whittock shines a light on Britain in the Middle Ages, bringing it vividly to life. Thus we glimpse 11th century rural society through a conversation between a ploughman and his master.The life of Dick Whittington illuminates the rise of the urban elite. The stories of Roger 'the Raker' who drowned in his own sewage, a 'merman' imprisoned in Orford Castle and the sufferings of the Jews of Bristol reveal the extraordinary diversity of medieval society. Through these characters and events - and using the latest discoveries and research - the dynamic and engaging panorama of medieval England is revealed.Interesting facts include:When the life expectancy for women dropped to 26 years in Sierra Leone in 2002, following a catastrophic civil war, it was one year longer than the estimate for early medieval women.So great was the extent of church construction in the thirteenth century that it has been calculated it was the equivalent, in modern terms, of every family in England paying £500 every year, for the whole century!Murder rates for East Anglia, in the fourteenth century, were comparable with those of modern New York. For England generally the homicide rate was far higher than that of the urban USA today.