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Edward VI : the lost King of England by…
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Edward VI : the lost King of England (original 2007; edition 2007)

by Chris Skidmore

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1475120,132 (3.83)8
Member:susang5371
Title:Edward VI : the lost King of England
Authors:Chris Skidmore
Info:New York : St. Martin's Press, 2007.
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Edward VI: The Lost King of England by Chris Skidmore (2007)

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A well written history book aimed at the more general reader. Edward VI came to the throne after the death of his father Henry VIII in 1547, he was nine years old at the time and he died when he was 15. Skidmore makes a case for him having some influence on the government of England, in spite of the fact that the country was run by a Council of nobles largely under the influence of the Duke of Somerset (Edward Seymour) and later the Duke of Northumberland (John Dudley.)

Skidmore case rests largely on Edwards education and his academic abilities which were well recorded at the time. The young King kept a diary, but there is little here that points to him having much influence and just when he was approaching his age of consent he became terminally ill. (he died well over two years away from gaining real power). The History is really about the rival factions at court in an age when religion was almost as important as nobility of birth. The reformers (protestants) held the upper hand and were intent on securing the throne and so the country, but they were opposed by other factions and those out for personal gain. It was a time when monastery and church lands were up for grabs and families could and did take every opportunity to enrich themselves. Skidmore’s focus on the boy king does not get in the way of the history telling although opportunities are missed in analysing motives and wider social issues.

Skidmore’s book fills in the gap as to what was happening between the reigns of Henry VIII and ‘bloody” Mary I st. It paints a lively picture of a country in danger of being torn apart through infighting amongst those nearest to the throne. Edward VI although king in name looked on much of this from the sidelines. He was largely a pawn in a battle for power, although being a kings pawn he was the figurehead of that battle.

Whoever wrote the blurb on the dust jacket had not read the book, because there are two glaring errors of fact and interpretation. It says that Skidmore reveals how the countryside rebellions were orchestrated by the plotters at court - no he didn’t and no they were not. It goes on to claim that Edwards reign is equally as important as those of Henry VIII and Elizabeth 1st - of course it wasn’t. Dust jacket blurbs like this do an intelligently written history no favours at all.

The book has notes, a bibliography and an index. It also contains potted biographies of many of the leading courtiers, giving both their titles and their family names. This is most useful because Dukedoms and Earldoms frequently passed from one family to another and so the reader needs to be aware of the family name to that he can navigate through the influence, wealth and religious persuasions of the characters. A four star read. ( )
  baswood | Jan 18, 2017 |
I though Edward was just manipulated by everyone around him. But this book shows that he really did have a voice. Granted, most of it is about his uncles and the Duke of Northumberland, but it also shows where Edward spoke for himself, like when he want to make Jane Grey his heir. Anyone who is interested in the English monarchy or the Reformation pf the Church should read this book. ( )
  mallinje | Jul 31, 2010 |
A very well written biography of the young king that gives one as good a feel as the evidence allows of Edward as a person, as well as covering the events of his reign. Indeed a good balance throughout between his personal life, religious developments, domestic and foreign policy. A joy to read and the author is clearly a major new young talent in Tudor historiography (and nearly young enough to be my son!). ( )
  john257hopper | Sep 11, 2009 |
4456. Edward VI The Lost King of England, by Chris Skidmore (read 4 Jul 2008) Henry VIII's son was born 12 Oct 1537, succeeded to the throne on the death of his father on 28 Jan 1547, and died 6 Jul 1553. This biography is carefully researched, and avoids offending Catholic sensibilities but shows Edward was in the hands of men who sought to establish the Church of England as a Protestant church--which Henry VIII never sought to do. There can be no doubt that Edward subscribed to such efforts. But at his death it appears clear that the people of England welcomed the return to Catholicism which accompanied the beginning of the reign of his half-sister Mary. This biography is so replete with reference to contemporary sources that it was not too enjoyable to read, but anyone who wants a fair biography of Edward will welcome this book. I am sort of seeking to read a biography of each English sovereign (that term covers queens and Cromwell as well as kings) and with my reading of this book I am one step closer to that aimed-at goal. ( )
  Schmerguls | Jul 4, 2008 |
Excellent biography of the almost forgotten Edward VI from fledging historian Chris Skidmore. Skidmore presents Edward's brief reign, from 1547-1553, as the turning point in the Tudor dynasty. Often portrayed as a boy manipulated by evil councillors, Skidmore argues that Edward was strong minded and deeply committed in matters of religion and was no easy dupe. An enjoyable and thorough book. ( )
  boleyn | Feb 13, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312351429, Hardcover)

The birth of Edward on October 12, 1537, ended his father’s twenty-seven-year wait for an heir. Nine years later, Edward was on the throne, a boy-king in a court where manipulation, treachery, and plotting were rife.

 

Henry VIII’s death in January 1547 marked the end of a political giant whose reign had dominated his kingdom with an iron grip for thirty-eight years. Few could remember an England without him---certainly little had remained untouched: the monasteries and friaries had been ripped down, the Pope’s authority discarded, and new authoritarian laws had been introduced that placed his subjects under constant fear of death.

 

Edward came to the throne promising a new start; the harsh legislation of his father’s was repealed and the country’s social and economic problems approached with greater sensitivity. Yet the early hope and promise he offered soon turned sour. Despite the terms of Henry’s will, real power had gone to just one man---the Protector, Edward’s uncle, the Duke of Somerset, and there were violent struggles for power, headed by the duke’s own brother, Thomas Seymour.

 

Chris Skidmore reveals how the countrywide rebellions of 1549 were orchestrated by the plotters at court and were all connected to the burning issue of religion: Henry VIII had left England in a religious limbo. Court intrigue, deceit, and treason very nearly plunged the country into civil war. The stability that the Tudors had sought to achieve came close to being torn apart in the six years of Edward’s reign.

 

Even today, the two dominant figures of the Tudor period are held to be Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Yet Edward’s reign is equally important. His reign was one of dramatic change and tumult, yet many of the changes that were instigated during this period---certainly in terms of religious reformation---not only exceeded Henry’s ambitions but have endured for over four centuries since Edward’s death in 1553.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:53 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"The birth of Edward on 12 October 1537 ended his father's twenty-seven-year wait for an heir. Nine years later, Edward was on the throne, a boy king in a court where manipulation, treachery and plotting were rife." "Henry VIII's death in January 1547 marked the end of a political giant, whose reign had dominated his kingdom with an iron grip for thirty-eight years. Few could remember an England without him - certainly little had remained untouched: the monasteries and friaries had been ripped down, the Pope's authority discarded and new authoritarian laws had been introduced that placed his subjects under constant fear of death." "Edward came to the throne promising a new start; the harsh legislation of his father's was repealed and the country's social and economic problems approached with greater sensitivity. Yet the early hope and promise he offered soon turned sour. Despite the terms of Henry's will, real power had gone to just one man - the Protector, Edward's uncle, the Duke of Somerset, and there were violent struggles for power, headed by the duke's own brother, Thomas Seymour." "Chris Skidmore reveals how the countrywide rebellions of 1549 were orchestrated by the plotters at court and were all connected to the burning issue of religion: Henry VIII had left England in a religious limbo. Court intrigue, deceit and treason very nearly plunged the country into civil war. The stability that the Tudors had sought to achieve came close to being torn apart in the six years of Edward's reign." "Even today, the two dominant figures of the Tudor period are held to be Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Yet Edward's reign is equally important. His reign was one of dramatic change and tumult, yet many of the changes that were instigated during this period - certainly in terms of religious reformation - not only exceeded Henry's ambitions but have endured for over four centuries since Edward's death in 1553."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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