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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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4392523,910 (3.8)37
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: Henry VII and the Dawn of Tudor England by Thomas Penn (2011)

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This is an interesting and well constructed history of Henry VII. He tends to get defined in relation to the events before and after his reign, rather than his reign itself. So the beginning of his reign is all bout bringing an end to the Wars of the Roses, marrying Elizabeth of York and overcoming the usurper Richard III. All spring and new beginnings. The end of his reign is the coming of the glorious Henry VIII and the end of the miser, he's moved from Spring to Winter in the intervening years. This looks at how he came to take the crown and what he did with it when he got it. Lots of detail to bring the thing to life, lots of characters and bit players, some of whom play greater roles in the near future as well.
Very well done. ( )
  Helenliz | Dec 22, 2014 |
As I understand it, Henry VII is not as well remembered among the English kings in spite of the fact that he united the York and Lancaster houses and brought a measure of peace from the decades of wars, murders, and coups. Shakespeare apparently skipped him, perhaps because most would rather forget his reign.

After exile in France he returned and claimed the throne by defeating his rivals. Henry was from the Lancaster line but his wife, Queen Elizabeth, was from the House of York, and their union quieted some old animosities. But he was still ruthless with any other claimants or pretenders to the crown, and they usually found themselves wasting away in prisons under his watchful eye. He arranged for his oldest son Arthur to marry a Spanish princess for political alliances, and was left devastated when he died shortly thereafter. But what surprised me most was how manipulative Henry was and how he used his initially limited power to amass more power and wealth - and the way he did it using complex financial means to blackmail and extort every last bit of gold from those who soon found themselves hopelessly in his debt.

This is not a full biography of Henry VII and sometimes quickly skips over parts of his life. His exile is covered in some detail as is his assumption of power, but then it skips over the first ten years or so of his rule. The focus is more on the corruption of the latter years of his reign when he and his network of assistants had secured an iron rule over the people and used it ruthlessly. It's not an era of history that I was very familiar with and I found it tough reading - even stopping in the middle for a few months - but also strangely interesting in spite of that. ( )
  J.Green | Aug 26, 2014 |
As I understand it, Henry VII is not as well remembered among the English kings in spite of the fact that he united the York and Lancaster houses and brought a measure of peace from the decades of wars, murders, and coups. Shakespeare apparently skipped him, perhaps because most would rather forget his reign.

After exile in France he returned and claimed the throne by defeating his rivals. Henry was from the Lancaster line but his wife, Queen Elizabeth, was from the House of York, and their union quieted some old animosities. But he was still ruthless with any other claimants or pretenders to the crown, and they usually found themselves wasting away in prisons under his watchful eye. He arranged for his oldest son Arthur to marry a Spanish princess for political alliances, and was left devastated when he died shortly thereafter. But what surprised me most was how manipulative Henry was and how he used his initially limited power to amass more power and wealth - and the way he did it using complex financial means to blackmail and extort every last bit of gold from those who soon found themselves hopelessly in his debt.

This is not a full biography of Henry VII and sometimes quickly skips over parts of his life. His exile is covered in some detail as is his assumption of power, but then it skips over the first ten years or so of his rule. The focus is more on the corruption of the latter years of his reign when he and his network of assistants had secured an iron rule over the people and used it ruthlessly. It's not an era of history that I was very familiar with and I found it tough reading - even stopping in the middle for a few months - but also strangely interesting in spite of that. ( )
  J.Green | Aug 26, 2014 |
As I understand it, Henry VII is not as well remembered among the English kings in spite of the fact that he united the York and Lancaster houses and brought a measure of peace from the decades of wars, murders, and coups. Shakespeare apparently skipped him, perhaps because most would rather forget his reign.

After exile in France he returned and claimed the throne by defeating his rivals. Henry was from the Lancaster line but his wife, Queen Elizabeth, was from the House of York, and their union quieted some old animosities. But he was still ruthless with any other claimants or pretenders to the crown, and they usually found themselves wasting away in prisons under his watchful eye. He arranged for his oldest son Arthur to marry a Spanish princess for political alliances, and was left devastated when he died shortly thereafter. But what surprised me most was how manipulative Henry was and how he used his initially limited power to amass more power and wealth - and the way he did it using complex financial means to blackmail and extort every last bit of gold from those who soon found themselves hopelessly in his debt.

This is not a full biography of Henry VII and sometimes quickly skips over parts of his life. His exile is covered in some detail as is his assumption of power, but then it skips over the first ten years or so of his rule. The focus is more on the corruption of the latter years of his reign when he and his network of assistants had secured an iron rule over the people and used it ruthlessly. It's not an era of history that I was very familiar with and I found it tough reading - even stopping in the middle for a few months - but also strangely interesting in spite of that. ( )
  J.Green | Aug 26, 2014 |
Despite the author's generally clear style of writing, and despite the wealth of detail so painstakingly researched, the more one reads this book, the more Henry VII recedes from view behind the mountain of money he spent his life amassing. If the author was trying to give a rounded portrait of Henry VII then he failed, but it is an honourable failure because Henry VII gave him absolutely no help at all. ( )
1 vote comsat38 | Dec 13, 2013 |
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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.'

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A biography
Of Henry VII, founder
Of the Tudor line.
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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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