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95 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Fine Piece of Tudor History from Alison Weir
Alison Weir has created another fine addition to her group of histories surrounding the Tudors. The Children of Henry VIII will fit quite nicely between the Wives of Henry VIII and The Life of Elizabeth. This particular volume covers the period from the death of Henry VIII to the beginning of the rule of Elizabeth. It is a wonderful period to study and read about as it...
Published on December 19, 2000 by Ricky Hunter

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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable and informative
The best quality of Weir's book on the period between Henry VIII's death and Elizabeth's accesion is its quick pace and accessible language. While hardly a "heavy" or "in-depth" work, it will provide most readers with a basic understanding of the personalities and motivations of Edward VI, Mary I, Lady Jane Grey, and Elizabeth I. The Tudors and their times are endlessly...
Published on June 27, 2005 by Anne L


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95 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Fine Piece of Tudor History from Alison Weir, December 19, 2000
By 
Ricky Hunter (New York City, NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Children of Henry VIII (Paperback)
Alison Weir has created another fine addition to her group of histories surrounding the Tudors. The Children of Henry VIII will fit quite nicely between the Wives of Henry VIII and The Life of Elizabeth. This particular volume covers the period from the death of Henry VIII to the beginning of the rule of Elizabeth. It is a wonderful period to study and read about as it covers the reigns of Edward and Mary and the almost reign of Jane Grey (not a child of Henry, of course, but a fine addition to this history). This tumultous period is seen through the eyes of the children themselves and the religion confusion occuring at this time is truly brought to life. Ms. Weir does no disservice to this rich tapestry she is given and in her usual readable and exiciting style brings all of this royal madness directly to the reader. A wonderfully entertaining read. I was sorry when it was over.
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68 of 72 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book, January 30, 2000
By 
Kelly Muncy (Jackson, TN, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Children of Henry VIII (Paperback)
The Children of Henry VIII was a wonderful book. Alison Weir gave accurate historical information while keeping the book on a personal level. She really got in touch with the relationships of Henry VIII's four heirs: Prince Edward, his only son; Princess Mary, his daughter by his first wife Katherine of Aragon; Princess Elizabeth, his daughter by his unfortunate wife Anne Boleyn; and Lady Jane Grey, granddaughter of Henry's sister Mary of France. Not only did the book show the relationships between the heirs, but it showed how they related to and got along with important men and women in the era of British history that took place during the reformation. The devoutly Catholic Mary and her faction was hardly a match for the protestant views of Edward, Elizabeth and Jane. The book also shows how the people of England felt about the changes taking place in their homeland while not leaving out the effects of foreign powers on the decisions of the kings, queens and powerful men in Britain at the time. Overall the book was easy to follow although Alison Weir called the same person by different names on several different occasions which made things a little confusing. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in British royalty, other royalty of the era, Holy Roman Popes of the era, and the reformation.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating study of the Tudors, July 10, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Children of Henry VIII (Paperback)
A wonderful account of the eventful period between Henry VIII death and Elizabeth I succession. By focussing on the characters, their private lives and motivations, it read like a thriller and awoke a new interest in history for me! N.B. In response to other customer reviewers of this book who commented on its misleading title (as Jane Grey was not Henry VIII daughter) this only occurs with the American edition; my British edition is titled "Children of England; The Heirs of King Henry VIII".
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable and informative, June 27, 2005
By 
Anne L "Gallup" (Montgomery, Alabama) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Children of Henry VIII (Paperback)
The best quality of Weir's book on the period between Henry VIII's death and Elizabeth's accesion is its quick pace and accessible language. While hardly a "heavy" or "in-depth" work, it will provide most readers with a basic understanding of the personalities and motivations of Edward VI, Mary I, Lady Jane Grey, and Elizabeth I. The Tudors and their times are endlessly fascinating; Weir skillfully transports the royal intrigues and scandals of the sixteenth-century across the centuries. Readers will find that the Tudors make England's present royals look like the Brady Bunch.

My biggest complaint was lack of footnotes. Most of the time, Weir notes the source within the text, and there is an extensive bibliography; however, there are several unreferenced quotations and pieces of information for which I would have liked to know the source. Particularly since many of the diarists and witnesses had deep biases and axes to grind - they could stretch the truth quite a bit. Also, Weir is annoyingly repetive, both in rehashing assessments of individuals and her repitition of several phrases, WORD FOR WORD, several chapters after they first appeared. I admit this is mainly a pet peeve, but I was reading along when I realized the phrase "she was comely rather than handsome" looked suspiciously familiar. Flipping back to find its identical twin, I broke the flow of my reading. This may be more my fault than Alison Weir's, but be aware that once you make acquaintance with a sentence, you may meet it again a hundred pages down the road.

I received this book as a birthday gift from a friend. It was actually a sort of gag gift - my friend and I have a two-year-old debate on the "true" interpretation of the Tudor years. She is sympathetic towards Mary Tudor; I am of the traditional school of "Good Queen Bess." In any event, Weir's book won't change our positions. Though she presents Mary as a long-suffering, sincere, and pious woman (which she indeed was), she still confirms the inevitable conclusion that Mary was a poor monarch and in her persecution of English Protestants fairly earned the name "Bloody Mary."
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Read for the Casual History Fan, September 30, 2005
This review is from: The Children of Henry VIII (Paperback)
This is history light, to be sure. A fusion of biography and history may be a more accurate description, but it is an engaging read. The writing is smooth and Weir keeps the story moving right along. She even manages to distinguish individuals sufficiently that it is easy to keep track of who played what role in each of the dramas, plots, and intrigues. That in itself is no small feat when discussing the history of England, given the tendency of English parents to name all of their sons Richard, Edward, or Henry.

This is not a serious piece of history, nor is it intended to serve as a comprehensice biography of any of the four monarchs discussed. it is strictly aimed at the casual reader, and serves that purpose quite well. If you have a casual interest in the era, but don't know much about it, it could serve as a good entry point before going on to more intensive biographies. If you know little more than that Henry VIII married a lot of women and would like to know a little more without getting bogged down in the doings of the various Richards, this is a good place to come. If your looking for intensive scholarship though, you should look else where.

Not everything in the book should be taken as doctrine (not intended as a pun, given the religious conflicts of the time, I just couldn't think of a more elegant way of phrasing it). Weir does have a tendency to rely on dubious sources, which I really wish she wouldn't do, though at least she does warn the reader that they aren't to be entirely trusted. Some times, you get the feeling that she thought the story they told was just too good to be left out even though she knew it wasn't true. Again, if you want a serious scholarly work where the author is too disciplined to give way to that impulse, look else where.

Weir succeeds admirable in giving a breath of life to figures that often seem remote and hard to understand. After reading this book, you have a sense of who these people were, what factors lead them to become those people, and how those traits lead them to the various fates that awaited them - tragic death, unfulfilled promise, reviled figure, and beloved (nearly legendary) monarch.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Next Tudor Chapter, December 31, 2000
By 
Linda R. (Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Children of Henry VIII (Paperback)
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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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A pretty standard overview of Edward, Mary, Lady Jane & Liz, September 30, 2001
By 
This review is from: The Children of Henry VIII (Paperback)
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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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting documentary of heirs to Tudor Monarch, August 20, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Children of Henry VIII (Paperback)
Overall, I found The Children of Henry VIII surprsingly more enjoyable then I though it would be. When I first picked up the book, my thoughts were, "This is just great. I've already skimmed through three other books and this one is going to be just as boring also." Halfway through the introduction, I decided that it wasn't so bad. The book was filled with vivid details that captured each scene and pulled me in right away plus kept my attention. At times, I felt like I was witnessing a scene up close. It was as if I had traveled back in time and joined another world. Something that I always thought would be fun to do, but of course, it's not possible. The vivid details are especially helpful if you're the visual type of learner which I am. One thing that I really liked about the book was the the author, Alison Weir, didn't spend endless pages babbling on about the same subject. Just enough pages were spent examining each topic that came up. She made me develop a curiosity about the subject first before continuing. I never had to flip through pages that were filled with the same information that I had just read. By the time all the explaining was done, I didn't have any quesitons left in my head because they had all be answered. However there were a few pages that I wish I hadn't read. If you're the type that can't stand the sight of blood or thinking about it, then the vivid details used to describe executions are not what you're looking for. One suggestion I would make though would be that a page or two in the back of the book listing all the characters and their titles be added because I found it a little confusing when in nearly every chapter a man was given another title. It made it somewhat hard for me to keep track of who was who. Other than that the book was easy to read and understand.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Tudors made human at last!, December 27, 1999
By 
John Skelly (Manchester, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Children of Henry VIII (Paperback)
Beyond all the usual stylisation and incomprehensible pomp and etiquette of the Tudor period this book actually gave me a glimpse into the lives of its characters and some understanding of what life actually felt like for them, and also allowed me to feel the actual spirit of those long gone times. Some of the passages brought tears to my eyes. Very descriptive, informative and addictive.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the money, March 24, 2002
By 
Christina (Columbus, OH USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Children of Henry VIII (Paperback)
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 Tudor court. Alliances were changed often for political and social gain, with these children often being used as pawns. Weir's book shows this and more, and is well worth your money.
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The Children of Henry VIII
The Children of Henry VIII by Alison Weir (Paperback - July 8, 1997)
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