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Catherine of Aragon: The Spanish Queen of Henry VIII Hardcover – November 23, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Walker & Company; 1ST edition (November 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802779166
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802779168
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #600,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Born to Spain's powerful King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, Catherine of Aragon (1485–1536) gave credibility to the rising Tudor monarchy into which she married. Guardian Madrid correspondent Tremlett (Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through Spain and Its Silent Past) eloquently fleshes out the 20-year reign of young Henry VIII's gracious, educated first wife, who intrepidly influenced foreign policy and, as regent, routed the Scots at Flodden Field while Henry less successfully led his army in France. Tremlett clearly favors his Catholic subject, giving her too much credit as the driving force behind opposition to the English Reformation. Still, his portrait of the often overlooked Catherine, who arrived as Henry was elevating his court to a glittering level, as England became firmly established as a European power--a position undermined by the "Great Divorce" from Catherine and the resulting alliance shifts. Tremlett's well-researched portrayal reads easily, and while recognizing Catherine's flaws, he restores the luster to a popular queen whose image was later reduced to a piously dour castoff. Tudor-era fans as well as scholars will appreciate this account. 16 pages of color illus. (Dec.)
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From Booklist

The Tudors never cease to fascinate. For many of us who are intrigued by their history, our first encounter with Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first queen, is with a middle-aged woman who is set aside when her husband’s attention turns to someone younger. This biography by the Guardian’s Madrid correspondent provides a fuller picture. The daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, Catherine was already one of the most learned women in Europe when, still in her teens, she married Arthur, Prince of Wales. His death a few weeks later left her stranded in England until she married King Henry VIII in 1509. Henry’s disappointment over the lack of a son to inherit the throne and his fascination with one of Catherine’s ladies, Anne Boleyn, are used to explain what went wrong with an initially happy union; but Tudor-era politics are never so simple. Tremlett deftly takes the reader through all the twists and turns, and shows us a woman who, rather than being a passive victim, was fully the equal of her husband in conviction and determination. --Mary Ellen Quinn

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Customer Reviews

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It is well researched and reads very well.
frrobinson
Only a very remarkable loving woman could carry so much hurt mingled with love to her grave.
George Cawthorne
The first book I have read by this author and I will definitely look up his other work.
linsey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By cyberpiglet on December 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The strength of this book lies in its detail concerning Catherine's childhood in the court of her parents, King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabel of Castille, and the formation of her character both in Spain and in her early days in England. This provides the reader with a clear picture of what made Catherine such a desirable royal bride and the circumstances that formed a personality that would defy a king to the point of death. The portion of the book dealing with Catherine's marriage to Henry VIII and her life within his court did not offer quite the same depth. I would have liked to see her relationships within the court and with her only surviving child, Princess Mary, fleshed out a bit more. Still, a worthy contribution to Tudor biography.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By George Cawthorne on November 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The chief strength of Giles Tremlett's biography of Catherine of Aragon is his additional material concerning Catherine's early life and her correspondence with various diplomats. When I compare his biography, however, with Garrett Mattingly's earlier effort, I consider that Tremlett lacks sympathy for Catherine, whereas Mattingly allows Catherine's excellent character to shine. Only toward the end does Tremlett give Catherine her due. Both authors include Catherine's touching last letter to Henry. Only a very remarkable loving woman could carry so much hurt mingled with love to her grave. When I taught English History, I spotlighted Catherine, her character, her virtue, and her constancy. Spanish though she was, she is one of the great women of English History
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By James on June 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Catherine of Aragon: The Spanish Queen of Henry VIII," was a great read. It was well-written, easy to understand and gave a good, unbiased view of this tragic, historic figure. The author's writing style is so readable that you are led to believe that it is fiction instead of a biography. I thoroughly enjoyed the book from cover to cover and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in Tudor England and in particular, Catherine of Aragon. I read so many books and this biography is one of the best I have encoountered. I'm glad I took a chance on an author I was not familiar with, but now I admire his writing style and wish other authors of historical biographies would follow his model!! Terrific book!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By N. Perz on June 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I've noticed a few things about history books written by journalists: they often read well but are usually lacking that depth that you get from a good "professional" history. CoA reads well and moves along nicely. It just seems a bit lite-weight as compared to "serious" history by professional historians. This isn't automatically a bad thing; it just depends on what you're looking for. The 16th Century is kind of a blank for me, generally, so a general kind of history of Catherine is a pretty good primer for someone in my position. Were I more knowledgeable about the era, I suspect that I would have found the book lacking.

Recommended.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E. Kelly on March 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book which adds to the body of work on the subject by giving Catherine's and the Spaniards' perspectives on the events in question. The information on Catherine's early years was particularly helpful in understanding her character and ultimate choices regarding her confrontation with Henry. The author was very successful in providing a wealth of documented historical detail without becoming pedantic. The organization of content and the author's writing style made the material flow easily. The book was a pleaure to read.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By KCG on March 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Yes, the book is well researched, and provided new information, but I often found Tremlett's writing style to be cumbersome,unwieldy and forced. At times it was an actual chore to read this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Laura on January 16, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading about Catherine's life, especially her earlier years. Most books on the Tudors seem to focus on her only as the rival to Anne Boleyn, so I enjoyed seeing her as the protagonist and I learned a lot. This book is very readable nonfiction- lots of information but not overly dense. My one critique is that the author definitely seemed to present an entirely negative portrayal of Anne Boleyn instead of viewing her more neutrally.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. Gates on September 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I've been interested in Catherine of Aragon since I saw the TV series The Six Wives of Henry V111 sometime in the early seventies. I was quite young at the time so Catherine, portrayed by Annette Crosbie as a small fair haired woman with great strength of character, made a big impression. As Henry V111 is a much loved subject for film makers I've seen many subsequent versions of Catherine, often she's presented as a fiery black haired, olive skinned woman alternately loving Henry, protecting her daughter's birthright and preventing civil war.

I picked up Giles Tremlett's biography with confidence because I'd read his earlier work Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through Spain and Its Silent Past while actually in Spain. With Catherine of Aragon: The Spanish Queen of Henry VIII, Tremlett did not disappoint. His telling presented us with Catherine as the daughter of Isabella and Ferdinand: educated, cultured, clever, diplomatic. She matured into womanhood testing her mettle against her father-in-law Hentry V11. She languished in widowhood, uncertain of her future and then, on the death of Henry VII, finally and quickly became young Henry's bride and England's queen. There was triumph when she prosecuted and won a battle against the Scots, confusion as she was torn between the diplomatic interests of Spain and England, and sadness at the death of children. The story of her last challenge, the ascendency of Anne Boleyn, is presented as an unfolding drama and I kept hoping for a different outcome.

Such is the strength of Tremlett's ability to tell the story, underpinned by his journalistic skill, that I feel as if I've finally met the real Catherine.
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