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Henry VIII: King and Court (2001)

by Alison Weir

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1,5392110,199 (3.93)36
For fans of Wolf Hall, Alison Weir's New York Times bestselling biography of Henry VIII brilliantly brings to life the king, the court, and the fascinating men and women who vied for its pleasures and rewards. BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Alison Weir's Mary Boleyn. Henry VIII, renowned for his command of power, celebrated for his intellect, presided over the most stylish--and dangerous--court in Renaissance Europe. Scheming cardinals vied for power with newly rich landowners and merchants, brilliant painters and architects introduced a new splendor into art and design, and each of Henry's six queens brought her own influence to bear upon the life of the court. In her new book, Alison Weir, author of the finest royal chronicles of our time, brings to vibrant life the turbulent, complex figure of Henry VIII and the glittering court he made his own. In an age when a monarch's domestic and political lives were inextricably intertwined, a king as powerful and brilliant as Henry VIII exercised enormous sway over the laws, the customs, and the culture of his kingdom. Yet as Weir shows in this swift, vivid narrative, Henry's ministers, nobles, and wives were formidable figures in their own right, whose influence both enhanced and undermined the authority of the throne. On a grand stage rich in pageantry, intrigue, passion, and luxury, Weir records the many complex human dramas that swirled around Henry, while deftly weaving in an account of the intimate rituals and desires of England's ruling class--their sexual practices, feasts and sports, tastes in books and music, houses and gardens. Stimulating and tumultuous, the court of Henry VIII attracted the finest minds and greatest beauties in Renaissance England--poets Wyatt and Surrey, the great portraitist Hans Holbein, "feasting ladies" like Elizabeth Blount and Elizabeth FitzWalter, the newly rich Boleyn family and the ancient aristocratic clans like the Howards and the Percies, along with the entourages and connections that came and went with each successive wife. The interactions between these individuals, and the terrible ends that befell so many of them, make Henry VIII: The King and His Court an absolutely spellbinding read. Meticulous in historic detail, narrated with high style and grand drama, Alison Weir brilliantly brings to life the king, the court, and the fascinating men and women who vied for its pleasures and rewards. NOTE: This edition does not contain illustrations.… (more)
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English (20)  Spanish (1)  All languages (21)
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
I really enjoyed reading this book. While I’m not a big fan of everything Henry VIII did, it’s nice having this book accessible to read. Many people only know Henry VIII for his six wives - only two of which were actually beheaded. I did feel like the book could have done better structured into parts along with chapters, and I feel like Weir tries to balance out the character of a person who wasn’t necessarily so balanced. Other than that, I enjoyed reading this. ( )
  historybookreads | Jul 26, 2021 |
I found this to be an absorbing look at Henry VIII's court, both in terms of its structure (human and material) and how it functioned (human and material, again). The author notes, with some justice, that Henry VIII's image has been subject to caricature (a la Charles Laughton), so a relatively balanced and thoughtful look is welcome. The book notes with relative degrees of passing certain events, like the Dissolution or the Pilgrimage of Grace, to focus on the functions of the court. It does very well in examining the poisonous nature of court intrigue from the period 1530 on. Recommended. ( )
  EricCostello | Mar 29, 2021 |
Interesting but tough read - As said by others the confusion of names makes for some difficult reading. Great read though of the "good guys" versus the "bad guys" of this era ( )
  busterrll | Mar 23, 2020 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
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For fans of Wolf Hall, Alison Weir's New York Times bestselling biography of Henry VIII brilliantly brings to life the king, the court, and the fascinating men and women who vied for its pleasures and rewards. BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Alison Weir's Mary Boleyn. Henry VIII, renowned for his command of power, celebrated for his intellect, presided over the most stylish--and dangerous--court in Renaissance Europe. Scheming cardinals vied for power with newly rich landowners and merchants, brilliant painters and architects introduced a new splendor into art and design, and each of Henry's six queens brought her own influence to bear upon the life of the court. In her new book, Alison Weir, author of the finest royal chronicles of our time, brings to vibrant life the turbulent, complex figure of Henry VIII and the glittering court he made his own. In an age when a monarch's domestic and political lives were inextricably intertwined, a king as powerful and brilliant as Henry VIII exercised enormous sway over the laws, the customs, and the culture of his kingdom. Yet as Weir shows in this swift, vivid narrative, Henry's ministers, nobles, and wives were formidable figures in their own right, whose influence both enhanced and undermined the authority of the throne. On a grand stage rich in pageantry, intrigue, passion, and luxury, Weir records the many complex human dramas that swirled around Henry, while deftly weaving in an account of the intimate rituals and desires of England's ruling class--their sexual practices, feasts and sports, tastes in books and music, houses and gardens. Stimulating and tumultuous, the court of Henry VIII attracted the finest minds and greatest beauties in Renaissance England--poets Wyatt and Surrey, the great portraitist Hans Holbein, "feasting ladies" like Elizabeth Blount and Elizabeth FitzWalter, the newly rich Boleyn family and the ancient aristocratic clans like the Howards and the Percies, along with the entourages and connections that came and went with each successive wife. The interactions between these individuals, and the terrible ends that befell so many of them, make Henry VIII: The King and His Court an absolutely spellbinding read. Meticulous in historic detail, narrated with high style and grand drama, Alison Weir brilliantly brings to life the king, the court, and the fascinating men and women who vied for its pleasures and rewards. NOTE: This edition does not contain illustrations.

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