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Winter King by Thomas Penn
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Winter King (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Thomas Penn

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5323218,946 (3.84)59
Member:annalena21
Title:Winter King
Authors:Thomas Penn
Info:Simon & Schuster (2012), Kindle Edition, 482 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
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Winter King: The Dawn of Tudor England by Thomas Penn (2011)

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Serious documentary but eminently readable. The only thing left unmentioned was the Star Chamber. ( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
Occasionally brilliant - occasionally frustrating. Straddles a line between dry academic and popular history writing. The long lists of courtiers and their backgrounds does drag a bit, but I learned a lot about a period of history that's often overshadowed by the preceding and subsequent years. The stuff about Henry's control through debt finance was fascinating. ( )
  sometimeunderwater | Mar 19, 2016 |
This was an interesting look at the transitional King Henry VII. It was nice to find something well researched on this King who is usually overshadowed by his notorious son in the realm of history. Overall, I did not find Penn's approach or presentation of the facts as reader friendly as say Alison Weir's writing, but I might be a bit biased. ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 22, 2016 |
I found this to be a highly readable account of the early days of the Tudor dynasty. This well researched history provides good insight into Henry VII’s machinations to maintain his hold on the crown by ruthlessly defeating his opponents and amassing great wealth at the expense of his subjects as well as detailing his interactions with Spain, Philip of Burgundy and the Papacy. Additionally, it provides an interesting view of the formative years of Henry VIII and the early years of many of his courtiers, including Thomas Cromwell, Thomas More and Erasmus. There is also some fascinating information about Catherine of Aragon during the years she was left to flounder in England between her marriages to Arthur and Henry VIII. I found it a little difficult to keep track of all the people and titles during the first part of the book; it helps to have a little familiarity with the time period.

I part read this and part listened to the audio version--Simon Vance gives a great narration. ( )
  Bluebird1 | Jan 14, 2016 |
Overall, I found this disappointing. I had really looked forward to this one and really enjoyed the opening quarter or so. (I remember describing it to my brother as almost like a Tudor-era version of a top-notch Cold War thriller.) But then I found it dragging when it went into the meticulous detail of how Henry's court, and his totalitarian 'Council Learned' operated. I confess that I lost interest in the various methods of taxation and extortion that the king's courtiers and subjects were controlled and oppressed by. Henry VII (like many of his predecessors and successors) was a cruel and ruthless monarch, but his Machiavellian machinations really set the template for how to be the complete bastard dictator. Perhaps this made him a great king? I'm not sure, but it certainly proved a tough act for Henry VIII to follow. Josef Stalin himself would have learnt a lot from reading this. It takes a certain type of tyrant to establish a royal dynasty in late-medieval Europe.

"In London, the information-gathering and persecution, the arrests and financial penalties continued unabated."

To its credit, the author does an extremely thorough job, and his book is obviously a consummate piece of research, but I have to admit that I found it verging on the boring in long stretches. That said, it is without doubt a fascinating period of English history and there was much here that I did relish. The later chapters on the youthful heir Prince Henry were of particular interest. It was compelling to read of how the King's young son was gradually groomed for his kingly role, and how young Henry saw the world around him come into focus as he matured.

Henry Tudor's entire world from the court rulings to the court gossip, and from every show trial to each and every royal jousting tournament, it is all bought painstakingly to life within the covers of this book. One for the enthusiasts undoubtedly. ( )
2 vote Polaris- | Nov 30, 2015 |
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'I love the rose both red and white,
Is that your pure, perfect appetite?'

Thomas Phelyppes,
'I love, I love and whom love ye?' c.1486
'Since men love at their own pleasure and fear at the pleasure of the prince, the wise prince should build his foundation upon which is his own, not upon that which belongs to others: only he must seek to avoid being hated.'

Machiavelli, The Prince
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A biography
Of Henry VII, founder
Of the Tudor line.
(passion4reading)

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Profiles Henry VII as an enigmatic and ruthless king of a country ravaged by decades of conspiracy and civil war, discussing the costs of establishing a Tudor monarchy and the ways he set the stage for Henry VIII's reign.

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