Foundation: The History of England Volume I
About this deal
There is no doubt that he [Henry VIII] had conceived an overpowering passion for her [Anne Boleyn], and she in her turn was doing her best to retain his affection without alienating him." Review - A little disappointing in places as there were some glaring errors e.g. Thomas Brandon where it should have been Charles Brandon in the index. What? Nevertheless, a good overview of the period, although not very balanced. A large part of the book was given over to Elizabeth I with very little on Edward and Mary, and not much more on Henry VIII. Henry VII isn't even covered in this book on the Tudors but is covered in the previous one in the series, which seems a little odd to me. I wouldn't really recommend it to serious historians, a few too many little errors.
Conservative: A lot of newer research, theories and interpretations are overlooked here or dismissed without ceremony in favour of more conservative and traditional ideas. People like Anne Boleyn, who has been the subject of serious rehabilitation during the last 50 years, is once again reduced to a power hungry flirt. It was sad to read. I enjoy it, I suppose, but I never thought I'd be a novelist. I never wanted to be a novelist. I can't bear fiction. I hate it. It's so untidy. When I was a young man I wanted to be a poet, then I wrote a critical book, and I don't think I even read a novel till I was about 26 or 27.  Not that it should be overlooked, the point is important enough I won’t discuss that. But it fills 80% of the book, the rest being succession issues and unimportant details. To say it left me wanting is an understatement.The History of England, v.3 Civil War (also available as Rebellion: The History of England from James I to the Glorious Revolution)
After Edward’s early death, his deeply conservative Catholic eldest sister, Mary, came to the throne. Under her rule, Protestants were ruthlessly pursued and thousands were burned at the stake as heretics. He then explores the reign of Elizabeth I which had much stability even if it was plagued by plots against the queen, civil strife and an invasion force. Above all, it is the story of the making of the Anglican Church and the English Reformation. Each of the Tudor monarchs approached religion in different ways. Henry’s son Edward VI ruled only for a few years, but during that time England shifted significantly to the Calvinist position. A new Treason Act was introduced in 1563, passed specifically to protect the religious changes; it was a ‘considered a serious offence question the royal supremacy or to dissent from the articles of faith that the English Church now enjoined’.
The Book of Common Prayer effectively set the doctrine and liturgy of the Church of England for the future. These astonishingly frequent errors clearly undermine the general authority of the book; but even cleaned up, I think it would fail to convince. And Innovation is an odd title to choose when you have so little interest in technology and scientific breakthroughs. The internet, the discovery of antibiotics, nuclear power and many other things with specific English connections are passed over either in silence or with the briefest possible mention. It was taken for granted that every man must have a lord. Lordship was no longer dependent upon tribal relations, but on the possession of land. Mastery was assumed by those who owned the most territory. No other test of secular leadership was necessary. Land was everything. It was in a literal sense the ground of being. Land granted you power and wealth; it allowed you to dispense gifts and to bend others to your will."