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on February 15, 2003
I read this book right after reading Carolly Erickson's biography of Henry VIII, and on balance this book is better and easier to read. I love that Scarisbrick has modernized the spelling and punctuation of the original documents he quotes. I think the picture of Henry presented is well-balanced, and does not minimize the faults of the subject of the biography. The careful examination of the question of the validity of the marriage of Henry and Catherine of Aragon is the best I have ever read, and partisans on either side of that question will see that there is indeed another side to the view they favor. The examination of the religious views of Henry is detailed and enlightening. I have always had a negative view of Henry VIII and I still have after reading this book, but the book was instructive and enlightening. The footnotes are where they belong (at the bottom of each page) and the bibliography is detailed though of course a bit dated in the 1968 edition I read. After you read this book you will know that you have read a really good biography of this important figure in world history.
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