Children of England Paperback – Apr 7 1997
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The royal family may have its problems these days, but as Alison Weir reminds us in this cohesive and impeccably researched book, the nobility of old England could be both loveless and ruthless. Weir, an expert in the period and author of a book on Henry's VIII wives, focuses on the children of Henry VIII who reigned successively after his death in 1547: Edward VI, Mary I ("Bloody Mary") and Elizabeth I. The three shared little--living in separate homes--except for a familial legacy of blood and terror. This is exciting history and fascinating reading about a family of mythic proportions. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
The tragedy of four accidental rivals to a throne, three of them children?by different mothers?of a much-married despot, seems to lose none of its drama by frequent retelling. Along with the royal siblings, Weir (The Six Wives of Henry VIII) includes their cousin, the doomed Lady Jane Grey. Guiltless of the intrigues committed in the name of religion, power and property, Queen Jane was forced at 15 to reign for nine days in a futile attempt to block the accession of the fanatically Catholic Princess Mary. The 300 burnings for heresy during the five years Mary ruled were eclipsed statistically by the hangings and beheadings for conspiracy and treachery. In the 11 years between the death of Henry VIII and the survival of his adroit daughter Elizabeth into the succession in 1558, rapacity had at least as much to do with the turbulence and the terror as religion. So many ennobled miscreants grasped for land, loot and legitimacy that readers will need a scorecard to match their names with their new titles. Weir adds nothing fresh to the story, but her sweeping narrative, based on contemporary chronicles, plays out vividly against the colorful backdrop of Tudor England. Illustrations not seen by PW.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
There's not much particulary new in this book, and you would probably be better served by individual biographies if you want their lives in depth. In particular I found the lives of Edward VI and Lady Jane quite sketchy, with Elizabeth and Mary being better delt with.
However, if you don't know much about this period of England's history this book would be an excellent introduction and overview as the author's writing style is very clear and staight forward.
CHILDREN covers the lives of Henry's three children by Katherine of Aragon, Anne Boylyn, and Jane Seymour. I find it amazing that one of England's greatest monarchs, Elizabeth I, was the daughter of a woman who reigned for a mere 1,000 days. Known as the "French whore" by the Catholics who hated her, she was a lady in waiting to Katherine of Aragon the mother of Mary.
According to Weir, the young Mary was most solicitous for the life and welfare of her young sister Elizabeth after Anne Boylyn was beheaded. Had it not been for Mary's care, perhaps there would have been no Elizabeth I. Both of young princesses were at risk from various parties after Anne died. Mary, a bit older than Elizabeth was aware their lives were at risk and she did what she could to protect her self and her sister from whom she was later cruelly separated. Sadly, as they grew older and were kept apart by various scheming interest groups, Mary and Elizabeth grew more estranged and distrustful of each other until finally there was a parting which nearly cost Elizabeth her life.
Weir tells Mary's tale from the standpoint of a sympathetic viewer. After all, Mary had been raised to expect her place would be with her parents and that someday she would be queen if she had no brothers. Henry was married to Katherine for 20 years, and she bore him many children. Alas, only Mary survived.Read more ›
Mary was a Catholic like her mother Katherine of Aragon. She tried so hard to bring Catholism back to England that she has gone into history as earning the nickname "Bloody Mary." Mary burned about 300 heretics in her short five year reign. Mary was portrayed as being merciful, but resorted to flexing her control as she had so many people against her.
Weir again introduced the reader to the importance of alliances and marriges of monarchs during the 16th century as well as the importance of religion. This book is an easy to read narrative of the politics of accession to the English throne after the death of Henry VIII and the adult life of Queen Mary I. Weir takes the reader into more depth of Elizabeth's reign in her book, The Life of Elizabeth I.
Although it is not necessary for the reader to have read The Wives of Henry VIII in order to enjoy this book, it does help the reader in understanding the genuine hate Mary had for Elizabeth because of Elizabeth's mother, Anne Boleyn.
This is another wonderful chapter of The Tudors.
It also gives interesting insight into Jane Grey--another brilliant young woman whose religious fanaticism (& abuse by her father) condemned her to an early death.
Above all, it's a testament to the excellent education Henry VIII gave to his children. All of these young people were extremely well educated, even the girls--fascinating in light of the oppression that women lived under in those days. Even though he may have ignored them & treated them cruelly, Henry did make sure his children received the finest educations. And all turned out to be strong-minded, interesting characters.
If you're interested in Elizabeth I, this is the 2nd part of 3 books Weir wrote covering her life (starting with "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" & ending with "Elizabeth I").
Most recent customer reviews
I love Alison Weir's writing and her history books about The Tudor dinasty are among my favorites.Published 6 months ago by Befly
Though I feel this book was seriously lacking in information regarding Elizabeth's reign, the rest of this book was perfection. Read morePublished on July 4 2010 by Ashley B
I found this book very interesting and informative. It would have been nice if the book gave a little history about Henry's other children as well. Read morePublished on March 6 2010 by Donna Diogo
This book is a bit of a long read and at some points not very interesting ,but if you want to find out about Henry' children this is a must readPublished on May 15 2009 by v. rubin
This biography of four young English aristocratic children--Edward VI, Elizabeth I, Mary I, and Lady Jane Grey--tells their life stories and shows the backstabbing nature of the... Read morePublished on March 24 2002 by Christina
An excellent book. Allison Weir includes historical facts mixed with the perfect amount of personal history. I couldn't put this book down! Read morePublished on Feb. 14 2002 by Kelly C. Connell
Fans of Alison Weir are familiar with her "style" of historical biography, and Ms. Weir uses the same style in this book. Read morePublished on Jan. 21 2002 by D. Todd Miller
Set during the end of the second phase of the Renaissance period, Alison Weir's biography of the four charismatic sovereigns is an enthalling tale of power, religious fantasism,... Read morePublished on Dec 9 2001
It's hard to believe that a history book can keep you at the edge of your seat, but Alison Weir has managed to hook me on this period in English history. Read morePublished on Sept. 21 2001