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Children of England [Paperback]

Alison Weir
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)

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Paperback, April 7 1997 --  
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Book Description

April 7 1997
When Henry VIII died in 1547, he left three highly intelligent children to succeed him in turn to be followed, if their lines failed, by the descendents of his sister, Mary Tudor. In Children of England, Alison Weir’s interest is not in constitutional history but in the characters and relationships of Henry’s four heirs. Making use of a huge variety of contemporary sources, she brings to life one of the most extraordinary periods of English history.

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From Amazon

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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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lady Jane Grey was a child of Henry VIII? May 20 2001
By A Customer
Including Lady Jane, also known as the "Nine Days Queen", as a child of Henry VIII is a bit of a stretch but seeing that she did 'wear his crown' for a short time, I guess she should be included in the scheme of things. This book was OK, a bit of a disappointment considering all the excellent biographies that are available for each of his children on an individual basis. But, if a person needs to read about Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth all at one sitting, this book is a nice source of information and it is easy to understand.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This book was a dissapointment after reading Weir's excellent Eleanor of Aquitaine. This book is a fairly straighfoward accounting of the lives of Henry 8th's children (plus Lady Jane Grey) from his death to the accension of Elizabeth to the throne.
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Readable history.... Aug. 4 2001
I like Alison Weir's books because she is able to extract the pertinent facts from the most complex of sources and present a great deal of information in an immensely readable book. THE CHILDREN OF HENRY THE VIII is no exception. Although she is a "popular" writer, Weir does not shun primary materials. Her bibliography is very impressive and she seems to have "done her homework".
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Next Tudor Chapter Dec 31 2000
Alison Weir's second book regarding the Tudor monarchy is as great as her first, The Wives of Henry VIII. Although Weir touches upon all of Henry VIII's children as well as his niece, Lady Jane Grey, the majority of this book delves into the life of Queen Mary I. Wier discusses the short reign of Henry VIII's only son, Edward VI as well as the 9 days reign of Lady Jane Grey; however the book focuses on Mary, and ends at her death and the accession of Queen Elizabeth.
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating look at the Tudors June 19 2000
This book got me hooked on the Tudors & on Alison Weir. It's an excellent look at the monarchs usually overlooked between the larger-than-life figures of Henry VIII & Elizabeth I--Edward & Mary. Edward proved to be a fascinating, intelligent young man who might have turned out to be a maginificent ruler in his own right. And it's very sympathetic to "Bloody" Mary--showing that she never really had any happiness or security after her mother was passed over for Anne Boleyn.
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").
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Children of England, some more than others
Though I feel this book was seriously lacking in information regarding Elizabeth's reign, the rest of this book was perfection. Read more
Published on July 4 2010 by Ashley B
4.0 out of 5 stars a good book
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 more
Published on March 6 2010 by Donna Diogo
4.0 out of 5 stars bit of along read
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 read
Published on May 15 2009 by v. rubin
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the money
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 more
Published on March 24 2002 by Christina
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
An excellent book. Allison Weir includes historical facts mixed with the perfect amount of personal history. I couldn't put this book down! Read more
Published on Feb. 14 2002 by Kelly C. Connell
4.0 out of 5 stars Ignore the "creative" title and jump in...
Fans of Alison Weir are familiar with her "style" of historical biography, and Ms. Weir uses the same style in this book. Read more
Published on Jan. 21 2002 by D. Todd Miller
4.0 out of 5 stars The Children of Henry VIII
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 more
Published on Dec 9 2001
4.0 out of 5 stars Alison Weir writes history like a suspenseful novel
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 more
Published on Sept. 21 2001 by "lcgplus"
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book! Wonderful author!
Alison Weir knows her British history and this book is another winner. Although not as perfect as THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY VIII, this is an interesting follow up and enlightens us to... Read more
Published on Aug. 24 2001 by Nelson Aspen
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly accurate, but rather dull in places.
I found this to be a very accurate book -- good, solid history -- but occasionally boring. I would have liked to know more about Mary and Edward themselves, not just the way they... Read more
Published on Aug. 9 2001 by Meaghan
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