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J. J. Scarisbrick

Autor/a de Henry VIII

9+ obres 650 Membres 10 Ressenyes

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Nom oficial
Scarisbrick, John Joseph
Data de naixement
Lloc de naixement
London, England
Llocs de residència
Learnington Spa
Christ's College, Cambridge
John Fisher School
University of Warwick



There is a lot to like about this stodgy scholarship; indeed I do believe that the first paragraph of the final chapter may be the best piece of expository prose I've ever read. It must be remembered, though, that as with all books in this series, the reader is taking on a formidable task, and in this case especially so; one will face four chapters of scriptural and canonical minutiae when he takes on Henry's split from Rome. Certainly this was very important, perhaps Henry's most important legacy, but, at least to me, it seemed a bit much.… (més)
Big_Bang_Gorilla | Hi ha 9 ressenyes més | Jun 27, 2023 |
When I began this book I was a bit concerned about the age of the book and what that might mean for accuracy. My edition did include a forward from 1997 where the author does address how his interpretations of events have changed over the years. I felt a bit more confident in it as it was also recommended by notable booktube influencer, Steve Donoghue. :)

I will be quite honest that this was not an easy book to get through. It checks all the boxes of a dense non-fiction work. I would describe the book as not a biography of Henry VIII, but as a history of his reign. I felt like I as given more personal information about Thomas Wolsey and Thomas Cromwell than Henry himself. Henry's many wives (aside from Catherine of Aragon) and his daughters barely register as more than a footnote. I would only recommend this if you are interested in Tudor History and not just Henry himself. I was inspired to read it after watching the very dated Showtime show, The Tudors.
… (més)
kaylacurrently | Hi ha 9 ressenyes més | Mar 5, 2023 |
Maybe Henry was no more unaware and irresponsible than many Kings have been; but rarely, if ever, have the unawareness and irresponsibility of a king proved more costly of material benefits to his people

Scarisbrick's biography published in 1968 cannot resist looking at its subject from a moral viewpoint entrenched in the 1960's. His final chapter which is akin to a balance sheet of good points and bad points suffers the most from this stance, which is a pity because what had gone before was a detailed examination of the public life of one of England's most notorious kings. Henry VIII was fated and revered after his death as one of the great Kings and there is no doubt that a cold hard look at his life would redress the balance, but Scarisbrick for me does not quite give the reader enough context in which to make his own judgement.

Coming in at over 650 pages there is more than enough here to satisfy the amateur historian who wants to find out in some detail the workings of Henry VIII and his government. Scarisbrick is particularly strong on the religious and political arguments that lead to the break with the Pope and the church of Rome. There are well over 100 pages that provide a blow by blow account of the arguments and diplomacy that resulted in Henry's policy of Royal Supremacy. Scarisbrick managed to make this all very readable with some insightful commentary on the religious issues involved; that allows the reader to gasp the main points of the struggle. He was apparently the first historian to make use of hitherto unused documents from the Vatican library and so this aspect of Henry's life features very strongly in the Biography. It was perhaps the most important aspect of Henry's reign and I think the time spent on the issues rather than the characters involved (the Boleyn family for instance) gives the Biography an historical weight. The biography also provides plenty of details concerning Henry's ambitious foreign policy and his dealings with Francis 1st of France and Charles of Spain the Holy Roman emperor.

The Biography rightly centres on Henry VIII and his motives and actions providing a good insight into his character. Scarisbrick explains convincingly the reasons for his matrimonial difficulties even speculating a little as to why Henry's relationships were so fraught. From our 20th century perspective it is impossible to know or even understand all the reasons for Henry's difficulties. It is clear he was a volatile character supremely confident in his right to be king and ruler over his domain and he was Machiavellian in the extreme, but in keeping speculation to a minimum Scarisbrick serves his subject well.

I wanted to read a Biography that would provide me with a background for my reading of Early Tudor literature and this Biography fits the bill exactly, as far as kingship and politics are concerned, however it is lacking in social history and so anyone not familiar with the first half of 16th century England might need to read more widely.

This is a solid biography in many respects, there are many other books on the period and the characters surrounding the king, but if you really want to get to grips with the issues that Henry VIII faced as King of England then this is a good place to start. A four star read.
… (més)
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baswood | Hi ha 9 ressenyes més | Apr 29, 2014 |
An excellent biography and analysis of the role of the king of England in the complex environment of the times. The author makes it very clear that Henry was bright, as a young man beautiful, energetic, and not that interested in the role of being a serious king. Against this backdrop Wolsey makes sometimes successful efforts to keep the peace, even anticipating the UN, and controlling Henry, but not fully succeeding. The author credits Cromwell, Wolsey's successor with "a high concerpt of the 'state" and for national sovereignty". and being an "idealist". It was he who managed the breach with Rome. According to this book it is not really clear why he fell and met execution.

According to this book, Henry had no successor to Worley or Cromwell the last years of his life.

The most valuable aspect of the book is the author's readable, but well orchestrated explanation of the complications of having the Holy Roman Empire, the Vatican, Spain, France and England all given their appropriate places in the backdrop in front of what Henry operated. That Henry himself aspired and actively sought election to become Emperor, that Wolsey took steps to be Pope.

At the end of his life the author shows how Francis, Charles, and Henry continued the conflict but it simply ground down.
… (més)
carterchristian1 | Hi ha 9 ressenyes més | Dec 21, 2011 |



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