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Black Tudors: The Untold Story by Miranda…
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Black Tudors: The Untold Story

by Miranda Kaufmann

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The author obviously did a lot of research, but most of what she included in this book has absolutely nothing to do with the purported subject of the book. It's as interesting as reading an inventory. I do not care how much a tournament cost. ( )
  fhudnell | Jun 6, 2018 |
For most people, Black British history beings with the Windrush. Miranda Kaufmann's book shows that it extends much further back into history—not just into the earlier twentieth century, or even into the nineteenth, but into the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. There was a small but detectable population of people of African descent in Britain: west African royalty travelling to England for education, trumpeters at Scottish courts, divers and seamstresses and servants and sailors. They weren't slaves, but rather free people, who worked for others or owned their own small businesses; they were baptised into the Church of England and intermarried with English people. In both the big picture and the fine details, Kaufmann presents a history sure to undermine many assumptions about what the distant past looked like.

Black Tudors is not a set of conventional biographies. The book is as much about the contexts, the moment in history, within which these people lived as it is about them. As with the case with the vast majority of the inhabitants of early modern Britain, we have only scraps of knowledge about them and their lives. This may frustrate some readers, as may the fact that Kaufmann sometimes roams quite far from the subjects of her book. Despite that, however, this is still a fine, well-written book which adds appreciably to our knowledge of Britain's past. ( )
  siriaeve | Apr 9, 2018 |
Interesting and well researched look into the lives of African migrants in Tudor England. ( )
  jtodd1973 | Mar 30, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Black Tudors is exactly what the title says, the “Untold Story” of black Africans and their descendants who lived in Britain in the seventeenth century, not as slaves but as free citizens. Kaufman combed historical records for this largely overlooked story. She focusses on the lives of ten people, although she paints a wider picture of the Tudor period in which the ten lived. ( )
  RoseCityReader | Mar 26, 2018 |
I really wanted to like this book. The topic sounds very interesting. However, the book was not as interesting.

I used to teach high school English, and my students had to write a research paper every year. Often the students would pick a topic they were interested in and dive into the research. Many would find great sources. Some would be able to piece the sources together and write a cohesive paper. Some would write what read like a list of facts, sometimes not even related to the topic. Many would struggle with transitions from sub-topic to sub-topic.

This book was in the last grouping. Each chapter started with a fictional re-creation/enactment of the character at hand. Then the chapter would end with a "transition" that amounted to "and here's what I'm going to discuss in the next chapter". In between, the facts may, or usually did not, relate to the chapter's character. For instance, in learning about a woman who held her own land as shown by her estate listing after her death, Kaufmann pointed out that another random person had named their cow "Fillpayle" because she was such a good milker. Mind you, not related to the original woman. It's impressive that Kaufmann dug into archives and found so many primary sources, but she seemed to struggle to tie everything together in a cohesive whole.

Overall, this book reads much better if the reader views it as a series of magazine articles and less as a cohesive whole. At times I enjoyed it, and at others I was very frustrated with it. ( )
  kevl42 | Jan 26, 2018 |
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From long forgotten records, Kaufmann has unearthed the remarkable stories of Africans who lived free in Tudor England. They were present at some of the defining moments of the Tudor age. They were christened, married and buried by the Church. And their stories have remained untold. Kaufmann challenges preconceptions of sixteenth century attitudes toward race and slavery, and transforms how we see this period of history.… (more)

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