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
Robinson

The Last Hurrah

Graham Viney
Authors:
Graham Viney

The Last Hurrah describes in vivid detail a pivotal moment not just in the history of South Africa, that far-flung imperial outpost, but of the British Empire itself. The year 1947 marked the high-water mark of the British Empire in Africa, but also the very moment at which it began to unravel, ahead of the Afrikaner Nationalist victory in South Africa in 1948, which led inexorably to the Republic of South Africa in 1961 and its departure from the Commonwealth. Graham Viney's book not only superbly captures a moment in the life of a fractious, recently formed 'nation', before its descent into nearly five decades of darkness, but also gives us an intimate and revealing portrait of the royal family - King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret - hard at work in support of the national interest. It seems clear that the present Queen Elizabeth must have learned a great deal from her father, but perhaps particularly her mother, about duty and statecraft in the course of this three-month tour, during which the then princess celebrated her twenty-first birthday. Viney evocatively details the background to the 1947 royal tour of southern Africa, which took in not just the length and breadth of what was then the Union of South Africa, but its neighbours, too: Basutoland (now Lesotho), Bechuanaland (Botswana), Swaziland (very recently renamed the Kingdom of eSwatini), Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and Northern Rhodesia (Zambia). The royal family travelled ceaselessly, from February to April that year, on a specially commissioned, white-painted train, meeting thousands of people at every stop along the way. The tour was a show of imperial solidarity and a recognition of South Africa's contribution to the Allied cause during the Second World War, specifically that of South African prime minister Jan Smuts, who, though once an adversary in the Boer War and Churchill's jailer, had served in both British war cabinets and been nicknamed 'the handyman of Empire'. Despite concerns and ongoing controversy, wherever the tour took the Royal Family, South Africans of all kinds turned out in their thousands to cheer and welcome them. But India was to gain independence later that same year and just one year later, Smuts had been ousted from power and South Africa set on the path to becoming a republic. The Last Hurrah draws skilfully on many diverse sources, including the Royal Archive at Windsor, to explore not just the troubled politics of the time, but also local society and the royal visitors in richly textured, telling detail. The book includes many photographs of the royal family on tour not previously published, including stills from film footage unearthed in the South African Railway Museum archives.

Constable

Viceroys

Christopher Lee
Authors:
Christopher Lee

Between 1858 and 1947, twenty British men ruled millions of some of the most remarkable people of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.From the Indian Mutiny to the cruel religious partition of India and the newly formed and named Pakistan, the Viceroy had absolute power, more than the monarch who had sent him. Selected from that exclusive class of English, Scottish and Irish breeding, the aristocracy, the Viceroys were plumed, rode elephants, shot tigers. Even their wives stood when they entered the room. Nevertheless, many of them gave everything for India. The first Viceroy, Canning, exhausted by the Mutiny, buried his wife in Calcutta before he left the subcontinent to die shortly afterwards.The average Viceroy lasted five years and was granted an earldom but rarely a sense of triumph. Did these Viceroys behave as badly as twenty-first century moralists would have us believe? When the Raj was over, the legacy of Empire continued, as the new rulers slipped easily into the offices and styles of the British who had gone. Being 'British' was now a caste.Viceroys is the tale of the British Raj, the last fling of British aristocracy. It is the supreme view of the British in India, portraying the sort of people who went out and the sort of people they were on their return. It is the story of utter power and what men did with it. Moreover, it is also the story of how modern British identity was established and in part the answer to how it was that such a small offshore European island people believed themselves to have the right to sit at the highest institutional tables and judge what was right and unacceptable in other nations and institutions.

Robinson

A Woman Lived Here

Allison Vale
Authors:
Allison Vale

'A pretty awesome present for the feminist in your life' - Caroline Criado Perez, OBE, author of Do It Like a WomanAt the last count, the Blue Plaque Guide honours 903 Londoners, and a walking tour of these sites brings to life the London of a bygone era. But only 111 of these blue plaques commemorate women.Over the centuries, London has been home to thousands of truly remarkable women who have made significant and lasting impacts on every aspect of modern life: from politics and social reform, to the Arts, medicine, science, technology and sport. Many of those women went largely unnoticed, even during their own lifetimes, going about their lives quietly but with courage, conviction, skill and compassion. Others were fearless, strident trail-blazers. Many lived in an era when their achievements were given a male name, clouding the capabilities of women in any field outside of the home or field. A Woman Lived Here shines a spotlight on some of these forgotten women to redress the balance. The stories on these pages commemorate some of the most remarkable of London's women, who set out to make their world a little richer, and in doing so, left an indelible mark on ours.

Little, Brown

The King's City

Don Jordan
Authors:
Don Jordan
Robinson

Superstition and Science

Derek Wilson
Authors:
Derek Wilson

'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.

Robinson

Superstition and Science

Derek Wilson
Authors:
Derek Wilson
Hachette Australia

Maralinga

Frank Walker
Authors:
Frank Walker
Robinson

The Ludicrous Laws of Old London

Nigel Cawthorne
Authors:
Nigel Cawthorne
Abacus

The King's Bed

Don Jordan, Michael Walsh
Authors:
Don Jordan, Michael Walsh

To refer to the private life of Charles II is to abuse the adjective. His personal life was anything but private. His amorous liaisons were largely conducted in royal palaces surrounded by friends, courtiers and literally hundreds of servants and soldiers. Gossip radiated throughout the kingdom. Charles spent most of his wealth and his intellect on gaining and keeping the company of women, from the lowest sections of society such as the actress Nell Gwyn to the aristocratic Louise de Kérouaille. Some of Charles' women played their part in the affairs of state, colouring the way the nation was run. Don Jordan and Michael Walsh take us inside Charles' palace, where we will meet court favourites, amusing confidants, advisors jockeying for political power, mistresses past and present as well as key figures in his inner circle such as his 'pimpmasters' and his personal pox doctor.The astonishing private life of Charles II reveals much about the man he was and why he lived and ruled as he did. The King's Bed tells the compelling story of a king ruled by his passion.

Robinson

A Brief History of the Battle of Agincourt

Christopher Hibbert
Authors:
Christopher Hibbert
Sphere

The Traitor's Mark

D. K. Wilson
Authors:
D. K. Wilson

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...

Robinson

A Brief Guide To British Battlefields

David Clark
Authors:
David Clark

A very readable work of reference offering a survey in chronological order, from AD 84 to 1746, of the major battles which have taken place on British soil, from the Roman occupation to Culloden, the last battle fought on British soil. In this way, the book can be read as a continuous narrative, while each entry also stands alone as a self-contained guide. The battles are grouped into relevant sections (such as the Wars of the Roses, the English Civil Wars and the Jacobite Rebellions), within broader historical periods. Each period is prefaced by a presentation of the nature of warfare and is enhanced by a feature article of specialist interest. Every entry includes a narrative of events leading up to the battle, a vivid description of the battle itself and an assessment of the long and short-term, consequences. In addition, there is useful information for visits, including precise identification of the location, details of access to and features of each site. The book is illustrated throughout with maps and a plate section.

Little, Brown

England, Arise

Juliet Barker
Authors:
Juliet Barker

The dramatic and shocking events of the Peasants' Revolt of 1381 are to be the backdrop to Juliet Barker's latest book: a snapshot of what everyday life was like for ordinary people living in the middle ages. The same highly successful techniques she deployed inAgincourt and Conquest will this time be brought to bear on civilian society, from the humblest serf forced to provide slave-labour for his master in the fields, to the prosperous country goodwife brewing, cooking and spinning her distaff and the ambitious burgess expanding his business and his mental horizons in the town.The book will explore how and why such a diverse and unlikely group of ordinary men and women from every corner of England united in armed rebellion against church and state to demand a radical political agenda which, had it been implemented, would have fundamentally transformed English society and anticipated the French Revolution by four hundred years. The book will not only provide an important reassessment of the revolt itself but will also be an illuminating and original study of English medieval life at the time.

Robinson

Elizabethan Society

Derek Wilson
Authors:
Derek Wilson
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

Constable

Bizarre London

David Long
Authors:
David Long
Robinson

A Brief History of Circumnavigators

Derek Wilson
Authors:
Derek Wilson

"Going round the world" is an idea that has excited people ever since it was realized that the earth was a sphere. The appeal has something to do with encompassing all the known environment and exploring the unknown, not only on the surface of the planet but within the spirit of the explorer. The story of circumnavigation is thus a long saga of human adventure, travel and discovery. Beginning with the fateful day in 1521 when Ferdinand Magellan was speared to death on Mactan and Juan de Elcano took up the challenge of bringing his surviving companions home, the story continues through four centuries crammed with astonishing exploits by men and women of many nations. Some of the names that feature are well-known, others less so.

Constable

Sir Francis Walsingham

Derek Wilson
Authors:
Derek Wilson

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

Robinson

A Brief History of the Magna Carta

Geoffrey Hindley
Authors:
Geoffrey Hindley

In 1215, the Barons of England forced King John to sign a revolutionary document which would change the political landscape of Britain and beyond for the next 800 years. Magna Carta was the forerunner of the Constitution that limited the powers of the crown and its echoes can be found in the seventeenth century Civil Wars, the struggles for American Independence, the work of Thomas Paine and in the bedrock of all contemporary liberal nations. As civil liberties and the rule of law are increasingly under question as part of the 'War on Terror', it has never been more essential to return to the original document, signed at Runnymede in June 1215. Leading medieval historian Geoffrey Hindley retells the story of events leading up to the conference and looks at the document itself, showing how it has resonated over centuries and throughout the world.

Robinson

The Uncrowned Kings of England

Derek Wilson
Authors:
Derek Wilson

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