Six Wives

Six Wives

The Queens of Henry VIII

Book - 2003
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No one in history had a more eventful career in matrimony than Henry VIII. His marriages were daring and tumultuous, and made instant legends of six very different women. What could make him marry six times? In this remarkable new study, David Starkey argues that the king was not a depraved philanderer, but someone seeking happiness -- and a son. Knowingly or not, he empowered a group of women to extraordinary heights and changed the way a nation was governed. Henry took his first bride, Catherine of Aragon, when he was seventeen. They lasted twenty-four years together, but Catherine suffered through many miscarriages and failed to produce a male heir. Henry then fell in love with Anne Boleyn, the mother of Elizabeth I. Their relationship transformed England forever, but Henry had Anne beheaded and married his next wife, Jane Seymour, on the very day of Anne's execution. At last, Seymour gave birth to Henry's longed-for son, Edward VI. What followed was a farcical beauty contest which ended in the King's brief marriage to the "mare of Flanders," Anne of Cleves. Finally, there were the two Catherines: Catherine Howard, the flirtatious teenager whose adulteries made a fool of the aging king and who was the second bride to lose her head; and Catherine Parr, the shrewd, religiously radical bluestocking who outlived him. Six Wives is a masterful work of history that intimately examines the rituals of diplomacy, marriage, pregnancy and religion that were part of daily life for women at the Tudor Court. Weaving new facts and fresh interpretations into a spellbinding account of the emotional drama surrounding Henry's six marriages, David Starkey reveals the central role that the queens played in determining policy. With an equally keen eye for romantic and political intrigue, he brilliantly recaptures the story of Henry's wives and the England they ruled.
Publisher: New York : HarperCollins, c2003
Edition: 1st U.S. ed. --
ISBN: 9780694010431
Branch Call Number: 942.0520922/STA 4565 2


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May 29, 2012

WOW-if you love this time period in history , this is the book for you! Very detailed-lots of info from original documents and letters. True to the title, this book is rally focused on the lives of these 6 women and does not go into much detail about some of the men and incidents that are fairly well-known. For example, there is very little in this book about Thomas More and the events leading up to his execution.

I found the information about Catherine of Aragon more complete that anything else I had read. I also thought that he did an excellent job dispelling mythis about all of these women, but in aprticular about Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr.

This book is almost 800 pages but if you are really interested in this subject, you will love it.

The only thing that would have made this book better for me would have been to put dates with the names on the geneology trees in the front of the book.

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