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The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir

The Six Wives of Henry VIII (original 1991; edition 1991)

by Alison Weir

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2,136423,064 (4.16)86
Title:The Six Wives of Henry VIII
Authors:Alison Weir
Info:Grove Press (1991), Edition: 1st Grove Press Paperback, Paperback, 656 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir (1991)


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This exhaustive effort by the author does not prove an exhausting experience for the reader - not for this one, anyway. Rather, this heavy tome is an engaging and informative, filled with details of the lives - and deaths - of Henry VIII'S six queen consorts.

It may seem to many that Catherine Parr - the sixth wife - was the most fortunate of these queens; however, after reading this it becomes clear that wife number four - Anne of Cleves - had the best life of them all.

It's also interesting to trace how the legendary Tudor monarch developed from a much-beloved sovereign to one of the most feared tyrants in English history.

In short, this is a brilliantly-researched book written by a great author. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Mar 13, 2015 |
I found this book to be very good. I learned something about each wife that I didn't know about. ( )
  harleyqgrayson02 | Feb 11, 2015 |
While this book started out fairly dry, I quickly got drawn into the story. I love the fact that the author put so much effort into giving an un-biased account of these six women even though it was clear from the beginning that she has very strong opinions regarding them.

I was surprised to find myself rethinking everything I knew about Tudor history after the chapter on Anne Boleyn, I've always seen her as a sort of tragic heroine, manipulated by her family and by political schemers. This book helped me see her as she was, neither an innocent victim nor an evil witch of a woman.

I had never read very much about Anne of Cleves as she'd always struck me as rather dull. I quickly found a well of admiration for this strong woman and realized that as a step-mother I can relate quite well with her choices and motivations.

This book is so well written (despite the dry beginning) that by the time you finish, you'll feel like you've met these women personally. ( )
  Mozzie | Jan 15, 2015 |
I became very keen to learn all about the Tudors after reading Hilary Mantel's excellent Wolf Hall, followed by Bring Up the Bodies not long after. At that time I had very little notion about British History, and none at all about Henry VIII and his time, other than the fact he was an oft-married tyrant who had a couple of his wives beheaded. This book was just what I needed to fill some of the biggest gaps in my understanding of a) the reasons why H8 married so often b) who his wives were, with their backgrounds and personal stories and c) why he killed off two of his wives and divorced two more. I also learned in greater detail about d) how and why the break from Rome and the pope occurred, and why there were so many reversals back and forth from Catholic to Protestant beliefs, resulting in the deaths of uncounted masses of people for heresies which were determined according to ever-changing priorities and whims of the great monarch.

I felt I got quite a thorough overview of each of H8's six wives, and also that Alison Weir seemed to greatly dislike Anne Boleyn, who came across as quite an unlikeable woman, though I gather this is a widely agreed upon opinion. Catherine of Aragon, his first wife, predictably enough, came across as a saint. Ann of Cleves and Catherine Parr, as the two clever ones who survived marriage to a vile brute. And of course, plenty of information about the monarch himself and his time. Recommended for those who like me have an interest in literature about that period with little background on the topic, as I imagine a lot of the material is familiar to those who have a better grasp on English history. ( )
1 vote Smiler69 | Jul 1, 2014 |
I read this book in 6th grade and have been in love with Alison Weir ever since. There is so much detail in this book but none of it is boring. It is amazing to see how many conceptions and miscarriages a queen had to go through just so that A king could have a son. Henry VIII spent most of his life looking for a son when he should have seen the potential he had in his daughters. I can read this over and over and I always seem to learn something new. ( )
1 vote Desilu42 | Aug 1, 2013 |
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The reign of Henry VIII is one of the most fascinating in English history.
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Henry VIII's marital affairs brought the royal marriage into public focus for the first time in our history.
Henry VIII's wives would all have learned very early in life that, as women, they had very little personal freedom.
Infidelity in a wife was not tolerated, but for queens Henry VIII made it a treasonable offence punishable by death, because it threatened the succession.
What was really required of a queen was that she produce heirs for the succession and set a high moral standard for court and kingdom by being a model of wifely dignity and virtue.
Queens walked slowly, danced slowly, and moved with regal bearing, not just because they were born to it, but because their clothes constrained them to it.
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blurb: Henry VIII is perhaps England’s most infamous monarch, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. He was married to six distinctly different women, and in this richly detailed and meticulously researched history, these remarkable, often misunderstood queens come to life once again: Katherine of Aragon, stubborn and devoutly Catholic; Anne Boleyn, proud and fiercely ambitious; Jane Seymour, deceptively strong willed; Anne of Cleves, unappealing and uncomplaining; Katherine Howard, young and foolish; and finally, Katherine Parr, brave, practical, and intelligent. Their full histories and personalities, emerge at last, giving voices to the six extraordinary women who left their distinctive marks on the English throne and thereby changed the course of British history.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802136834, Paperback)

The tempestuous, bloody, and splendid reign of Henry VIII of England (1509-1547) is one of the most fascinating in all history, not least for his marriage to six extraordinary women. In this accessible work of brilliant scholarship, Alison Weir draws on early biographies, letters, memoirs, account books, and diplomatic reports to bring these women to life. Catherine of Aragon emerges as a staunch though misguided woman of principle; Anne Boleyn, an ambitious adventuress with a penchant for vengeance; Jane Seymour, a strong-minded matriarch in the making; Anne of Cleves, a good-natured and innocent woman naively unaware of the court intrigues that determined her fate; Catherine Howard, an empty-headed wanton; and Catherine Parr, a warm-blooded bluestocking who survived King Henry to marry a fourth time.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:28 -0400)

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Well-documented portraits of each of King Henry the VIII's 6 wives. The lives and fates of King Henry VIII's legendary six wives are laid bare in a vivid, in-depth account that is set against the colorful, tempestuous background of the Tudor era.

(summary from another edition)

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