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Henry VIII: King and Court by Alison Weir

Henry VIII: King and Court (2001)

by Alison Weir

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1,255199,495 (3.88)36

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Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
There were some very interesting details about Henry's life and I have a new "visual" of him. However...there was a lot of "castle talk" (he bought this and that) and the noblemen's titles got confusing. If his name is John Smith, please, have pity on your readers and just refer to him as John Smith, even though he later becomes the Duke of This and/or the Earl of That. Or at least provide a list of important people with their various titles. ( )
  Kuglar | Mar 28, 2018 |
This book has its weaknesses, the lack of a coherent thread to its account early on being one of them. But the level of detail and depth of research shown more than make up for that.

And the subject matter is, of course, endlessly fascinating – as Alison Weir herself writes in the very last paragraph: “[Henry’s] charisma still has the power to intrigue us.” ( )
  Devatipan | May 7, 2017 |
This book is not only a biography of King Henry VIII, but it also takes a close look at the culture of the royal court in 16th century England.

I really liked this. Often, Weir's nonfiction books read like fiction and I would say this is one that did. I really enjoyed all the extra behind-the-scenes look at court life. This included detailed information on all the people at court, their positions, their pay, as well as the design of the palaces, food, fashion and probably more that is just not coming to mind as I write this review. I will say that it can be tricky to remember who's who sometimes; I've read enough of this time period that I'm mostly ok with it, but at the end of Henry's reign it got a bit trickier. What made it tricky for me is when someone's title is used rather than their name. I do mostly remember names, but sometimes remembering titles is a bit more difficult (especially, when those titles “move” from person to person sometimes!).

Overall, though, this is a really good biography of Henry that includes many behind-the-scenes details of court life and culture. ( )
  LibraryCin | May 18, 2015 |
Henry VIII, renowned for his command of power and celebrated for his intellect, presided over one of the most magnificent–and dangerous–courts in Renaissance Europe. Never before has a detailed, personal biography of this charismatic monarch been set against the cultural, social, and political background of his glittering court. Now Alison Weir, author of the finest royal chronicles of our time, brings to vibrant life the turbulent, complex figure... ( )
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  Tutter | Feb 20, 2015 |
This is, in a way, a dual biography, for to read a biography of Henry VIII is to read a biography of his court. Alison Weir masterfully guides us through Tudor history with an experienced hand. Though a bit slow in parts, the book brings us ever closer to knowing the real Henry. A fantastic read. ( )
1 vote briandrewz | Aug 17, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 034543708X, Paperback)

Contemporary observers described the young king in glowing terms. At over six feet tall, with rich auburn hair, clear skin, and a slender waist, he was, to many, "the handsomest prince ever seen." From this starting point in Henry VIII, the King and His Court, biographer extraordinare Alison Weir reveals a Henry VIII far different from the obese, turkey-leg gnawing, womanizing tyrant who has gone down in history. Henry embodied the Renaissance ideal of a man of many talents--musician, composer, linguist, scholar, sportsman, warrior--indeed, the Dutch humanist Erasmus (not a man inclined to flattery) declared him a "universal genius." In scholarly yet readable style, Weir brings Henry and his court to life in meticulous, but never tedious, detail. Weir describes everything from courtly fashions to political factions and elaborate meals to tournament etiquette. Along the way she offers up charming--if all too brief--glimpses of Henry's court: tiny Princess Mary, still a very young girl, at her betrothal ceremony saying to the proxy, "Are you the Dauphin of France? If you are, I want to kiss you"; Henry weeping with joy as he held his long-awaited son and heir for the first time; Henry showing off his legs to the Venetian ambassador ("Look here! I have also a good calf to my leg"); Henry's courtiers dressing in heavily padded clothes to emulate--and flatter--their increasingly stout monarch. She also reveals some surprises, for example, that Henry and Katherine were still hunting together as late as 1530, even though Henry was desperately trying to have their marriage annulled. Weir also describes surprisingly happier times in their relationship; Henry loved to dress up in costume, and "was especially fond of bursting in upon Queen Katherine and her ladies in the Queen's Chambers.... Henry took a boyish delight in these disguisings and Katherine seemingly never tired of feigning astonishment that it was her husband who had surprised her." Henry's queens receive relatively little attention here (for them, see Weir's excellent Six Wives of Henry VIII), but this book is fascinating and a joy to read. Alison Weir has done it again. --Sunny Delaney

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:39 -0400)

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Acknowledgments - Introduction - 1. "A Most Accomplished Prince" - 2. "The Triumphal Coronation" - 3. "A Prince of Splendour and Generosity" - 4. "This Magnificent, Excellent and Triumphant Court" - 5. "A Perfect Builder of Pleasant Palaces" - 6 "The King's House" - 7. "The Worship and Welfare of the Whole Household" - 8. "Such Plenty of Costly Provision" - 9. "Elegant Manners, Extreme Decorum, and Very Great Politeness" - 10. "Innocent and Honest Pastimes" - 11. "New Men" and "Natural Counsellors" -12. "All Goodly Sports" - 13. "Merry Disports" - 14. "Rather Divine Than Human" - 15. "The Holy Innocent" - 16. "A Galaxy of Distinguished Men" - 17. "The King's Painters" - 18. "Graceless Dogholes" - 19. "Obstinate Men Who Govern Everything" - 20. "Cloth of Frieze Be Not Too Bold" - 21. "The Best Dressed Sovereign in the World" - 22. "This Cardinal Is King - 23. "The Pearl of the World" - 24. "Multitudes Are Dying around Us" - 25. "The Mother of the King's Son" - 26. "The Eighth Wonder of the World" - 27. "One Man's Disobedience" - 28. "A Proud Horse Tamed and Bridled" - 29. "All the Enemies of England Are Gone" - 30. "Next in Rank to His Majesty" - 31. "The Establishment of Good Order" - 32. "A Fresh Young Damsel" - 33. "Master Hans" - 34. "Noli Me Tangere, for Caesar's I Am" - 35. "A Thousand Cases of Sweat" - 36. "Back to Your Wife!" - 37. "Above Everyone, Mademoiselle Anne" - 38. "Squire Harry Will Be God, and Do as He Pleases!" - 39. "Opprobrious Words" - 40. "The Lady Marquess" - 41. "The Triumph at Calais and Boulogne" - 42. "Anna Regina Angliae" - 43. "Here Anna Comes, Bright Image of Chastity" - 44. "The High and Mighty Princess of England" - 45. "The Image of God upon Earth" - 46. "That Thin Old Woman" - 47. "Thunder Rolls around the Throne" - 48. "Bound to Obey and Serve" - 49. "The Suppression of the Religious Houses" - 50. "The Most Joyful News" - 51. "The Very Pearl of the Realm" - 52. "A Sort of Knaves" - 53. "Nourishing Love" - 54. "Displeasant Airs" - 55. "I Have Been Young, and Now Am Old" - 56. "Is Not the Queen Abed Yet?" - 57. "Little, Sweet Fool" - 58. "A Nest of Heretics" - 59. "The Good Expectations of the King's Majesty" - 60. "The Enterprise of Boulogne" - 61. "The Worst Legs in the World" - 62 "Painful Service" - 63. "The Rarest Man That Lived in His Time" - Genealogical Table: The Tudors and Their Rivals - Bibliography - Notes and References - List of Illustrations - Index.… (more)

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