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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Viceroys

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A Woman Lived Here

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The King's City

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Superstition and Science

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Superstition and Science

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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Nigel Cawthorne

London abounds with all manner of ludicrous laws, and not all of these curious statutes have been relegated to the past. Despite the efforts of the Law Commission there are medieval laws that are still in force, and the City of London and its livery companies have their own legal oddities. Laws are made in the capital because parliament is here; so are the Old Bailey, the Law Courts, the House of Lords and, now, the Supreme Court. The privy council, which sometimes has to decide cases, also sits in London, and there were other courts that used to sit in London, from prize courts concerning war booty to ecclesiastical courts. Having maintained its 'ancient rights and freedoms' under Magna Carta, the City felt free to enact its own laws, many of which seem to have had to do with what people could wear. Until quite recently, for example, a man could be arrested for walking down the street wearing a wig, a robe and silk stockings - unless he was a judge. And all human folly has been paraded through the law courts of London, to the extent that it is difficult to know where the serious business of administering justice ends and where farce begins. As law is made in the courtroom as well as in parliament and elsewhere, judges like to keep a firm hand, but sometimes so-called jibbing juries will simply not do what they are told. All sorts of oddities get swept up into the law. Legislators particularly love to pass Acts about sex. If sexual services are being offered in a London massage parlour, for example, a police officer must then search the premises for school children. According to The Children and Young Persons Act of 1933 it is against the law for children and 'yowling persons' between the age of four and sixteen to frequent a brothel. A writ was introduced under both Edward III and Henry IV to ban lawyers from parliament as there were too many of them, the reason being that it was easier for a lawyer to spend his time in London attending parliament that it was for a knight of the shires. But because parliament was already packed with lawyers it was difficult to make any such rule stick. Then an effective way of excluding them was found. They were denied the wages paid to members in those days. Sadly, these days, parliament and the government are packed with lawyers once again. And they are being paid.A law passed in 1540 - and still in force today - makes it illegal for barbers in the City of London to practise surgery; with impeccable impartiality, the Act also forbids surgeons to cut hair. Finally, never forget that under the Vagrancy Act of 1824, you can be convicted of being 'an idle and disorderly person, or a rogue, vagabond, or incorrigible rogue'. The same act also outlaws people 'professing to tell fortunes', including 'palmistry'. Under the Act, it is an offence merely to be suspected.

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Christopher Hibbert
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There can be few military victories so complete, or achieved against such heavy odds, as that won by Henry V on 25 October 1415 against Charles VI's army at Agincourt. In the words of one contemporary French chronicler, it was the 'most disgraceful event that had ever happened to the Kingdom of France'.Christopher Hibbert's wonderfully concise account draws on the unusual number of contemporary sources available to historians to describe in lucid detail not only what happened, but how it happened. His classic account of the crushing defeat of the French at Agincourt combines historical rigour with a vigorous and very readable narrative style.

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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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A Brief Guide To British Battlefields

David Clark
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Starring Thomas Treviot, each novel in this thrilling new series of historical mysteries is based on a real unsolved Tudor crime.1536. In the corrupt heart of Tudor London a killer waits in the shadows...The Real CrimeBefore dawn on a misty November morning in 1536, prominent mercer Robert Packington was gunned down as he crossed Cheapside on his way to early morning mass. It was the first assassination by handgun in the history of the capital and subsequently shook the city to its core.The identity of his assassin has remained a mystery.Our StoryThomas Treviot is a young London goldsmith and a close family friend of Robert Packington. Through his own upstanding social connections - and some less upstanding acquaintances he has made along the way - Thomas launches a dramatic investigation into Packington's death. As Thomas searches for revenge, he must travel from the golden heart of merchant London, to the straw-covered backstreets of London's poorest districts before reaching the country's seat of power: the court of King Henry VIII. Before long he is drawn into a dark conspiracy beyond his wildest imaginings and claiming justice for his friend starts to look impossible. Especially when Thomas realises that Robert wasn't the man he thought he knew...In the first of a new series investigating real unsolved Tudor crimes, D.K. Wilson brings the streets of Tudor London to spectacular life as Thomas Treviot faces a fight to bring the truth to light in the corrupt world of Anne Boleyn, Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII.

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Elizabethan Society

Derek 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

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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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