'The author does a wonderful job of telling a gripping story that also gives a sense of the complexity of the reign and the period ... Students who read this will be well instructed about a very significant period of English history – and they will be entertained as well.' – Anne McLaren, University of Liverpool, UK
Henry VIII was one of England’s most unforgettable monarchs. He was at once inspiring, menacing and perplexing to his contemporaries, and his reputation remains both impressive and enigmatic.
Lucy Wooding's timely study provides an insightful and original portrait of this larger-than-life figure, and of the many paradoxes of his character and reign. Building on significant advances in recent research to put forward a distinctive interpretation of Henry’s complex character and remarkable style of kingship, Wooding locates him firmly in the context of the English Renaissance and the fierce currents of religious change that characterized the early Reformation.
Complete with colour illustrations, this compelling new biography gives a fresh portrayal of Henry VIII, cutting away the misleading mythology in order to provide a vivid account of this passionate, wilful, intelligent and destructive king.
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Lucy Wooding is a Lecturer in Early Modern History at King’s College, London. Her research interests lie in the political, religious and cultural history of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, in particular the history of the Reformation. She is the author of Rethinking Catholicism in Reformation England (2000).Review:
‘As a primer in the key developments and personalities of the period ... the book works excellently. As well as providing a reliable, conventional narrative ... there are useful digressions into everything from Tudor food to Tudor climate. Most winningly of all, the book recognises that the central interpretative challenge for anyone writing about Henry is to explain how he mutated from a learned, attractive, doted-upon young king into someone regarded by many of his subjects - and many modern historians - as little more than a tyrant...’ – The Tablet
‘Lucy Wooding’s readable one-volume study comprehensively updates J.J. Scarisbrick’s classic 1968 biography and deftly charts a middle way through ongoing controversies. Unlike some other discussions of the king, it gives due weight to the years 1509-1525.’ – History Review
‘Lucy Wooding covers the whole reign, necessarily drawing on others’ work, expounding and reviewing it in a way that students will greet with joy. A long afternoon in the company of her book, deftly used, will give them an air of easy familiarity with the great debates of the past few decades ... She takes her own line at every point, formulates her judgments in fluent and pointed prose, and illustrates her case liberally with quotations from chronicles, letters and formularies of faith.’ – Times Literary Supplement
‘It deserves a high ranking in any reading list for a study of Henry’s reign. If you are looking for a detailed, scholarly account of the king, and one which is very readable, then this is a great place to turn ... Wooding’s ability to delineate Henry’s complex character makes this an extremely worthwhile read.’– SATH History Teaching Review
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