The second volume of Peter Ackroyd’s masterful history of England: the Tudors
Rich in detail and atmosphere and told in vivid prose, Tudors recounts the transformation of England from a settled Catholic country to a Protestant superpower. It is the story of Henry VIII’s cataclysmic break with Rome, and his relentless pursuit of both the perfect wife and the perfect heir; of how the brief reign of the teenage king, Edward VI, gave way to the violent reimposition of Catholicism and the stench of bonfires under ‘Bloody Mary’. It tells, too, of the long reign of Elizabeth I, which, though marked by civil strife, plots against the queen and even an invasion force, finally brought stability.
Above all, however, it is the story of the English Reformation and the making of the Anglican Church. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, England was still largely feudal and looked to Rome for direction; at its end, it was a country where good governance was the duty of the state, not the church, and where men and women began to look to themselves for answers rather than to those who ruled them.–description from Goodreads
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Tudors is the second book in Peter Ackroyd’s History of England series–if you have not read the first Foundation
(you really should) it is not a problem. This book is a continuation of the historical period and will still make perfect sense without the preface of the first book.
Whist I enjoyed reading this very much, I liked the way the information was organised and appreciated the scope of how much research was put into this, I was vaguely disappointed that it mostly focused on the upper class and not so much on the general population at that time. It was interesting to see how the rulers lived and gain insight into their lives, but it would have also been nice to see how the rest lived.
A good portion of this book also deals with the Protestant Reformation and the changes in social attitude during the Tudor period. The general feeling of Tudor determination to gain authority and status came through well in the writing.
For me, this was not quite as intriguing as the first book, but I still enjoyed it. I learned some new things and had fun along the way. With peter Ackroyd, you are always guaranteed quality work that can make history feel truly alive.
This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher and provided by netgalley.