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Thomas Cromwell: The Rise and Fall of Henry…

Thomas Cromwell: The Rise and Fall of Henry VIII's Most Notorious… (2007)

by Robert Hutchinson

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129293,299 (3.74)11
  1. 10
    Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (gennyt)
    gennyt: A fictional exploration of Cromwell's rise.

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A well paced and generally well written biography, though the author has a tendency to write in a slightly sensationalist style on occasion. I think one of the most significant features about Cromwell was that he was one of the first (along with Wolsey) to rise to high office from humble origins. It is a pity that that fact means we know so very little about his early life, which leaves the book feelign a little inevitably unbalanced in the extent of its coverage. ( )
  john257hopper | Oct 6, 2009 |
Intriguing, easy to read account of the career of Thomas Cromwell, notorious chief minister to Henry VIII. Robert Hutchinson sets out the main events of Cromwell's life and times without going into much detail. This book is very much a once over lightly account, for instance there is only the bare bones on Cromwell's role in the downfall of Anne Boleyn, an event he played a major part in. Hutchinson does bring to life the Tudor court in all its madness and corruption, illustrating how easy it was to fall foul of the king and meet a gruesome end. Hutchinson plainly does not like his subject, nor Henry VIII, very much. He does not have much good to say about either. However, he does write in an engaging style and this book would be a good starting point for anyone interested in Henry VIII's world. ( )
  boleyn | Feb 25, 2009 |
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Book description
Thomas Cromwell was an infamous figure in the court of Henry VIII. The son of a brewer, Cromwell rose from obscurity to become the Earl of Essex, Vice-Regent and High Chamberlain of England, Keeper of the Privy Seal, and Chancellor of the Exchequer. He maneuvered his way to the top through intrigue, bribery, and sheer force of personality.

Cromwell pursued Henry's interests with single-minded energy and no little subtlety. Tasked with engineering the judicial murder of Anne Boleyn when she had worn out her welcome in the royal chamber, he tortured her servants and relations to extract condemning information, the organized a "show trial" of Stalinist efficiency.

Cromwell also orchestrated the "greatest act of privatization in English history": the seizure of the monasteries. Their enormous wealth was used not only to enrich the crown, but also to cement the loyalty of the English nobility.

Over the course of his career, Cromwell himself amassed a fortune through bribery and theft, and created many enemies along the way. As meteoric as his rise was, his fall was spectacular--beheaded outside the Tower of London, his boiled head was placed on a spike above London Bridge.

Rich in incident and colorful detail, this is narrative history at its finest. Robert Hutchison has brought the treacherous world of sixteenth-century England vividly to life through the incredible story of one of the most cunning and ruthless men in British history.
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Traces the rise of Henry VIII's advisor from an obscure brewer's son to one who encouraged the king's marriage to Anne Boleyn and the Protestant Reformation, and details his corrupt activities and violent execution.

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