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Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World Hardcover – December 3, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 11.3.2013 edition (December 3, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345521366
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345521361
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.6 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The subject of the popular British historian’s latest plunge into the fertile Tudor ground she has so successfully tilled in many previous books is the wife of the first Tudor monarch, Henry VII, who dethroned the last Yorkist king, Richard III, in a pitched battle and assumed the crown himself. The marriage of Elizabeth of York, the last surviving Yorkist heir, to the new Tudor king had the intended effect of settling any controversy as to who rightfully sat on the throne. Despite some bothersome initial bumps in the narrative road—namely, Weir’s tendency early on, in the face of scant documentary evidence specifically about Elizabeth, to say, “She would have done this, she would have seen that”—this bracing biography reveals a woman of integrity, who, while honoring her Yorkist heritage, grew to love her husband, became a kind and generous queen consort, and helped him lay strong groundwork for the success of the new Tudor dynasty. As always in a Weir book, the tenor of the times is drawn with great color and authenticity. High-Demand Backstory: Given Weir’s universal appeal as a popular historian, especially of the very popular Tudor era, her publisher has an extensive ad campagin planned for the release of her new book. --Brad Hooper

Review

Praise for Elizabeth of York
 
“Weir tells Elizabeth’s story well. . . . She is a meticulous scholar. . . . Most important, Weir sincerely admires her subject, doing honor to an almost forgotten queen.”The New York Times Book Review

“In [Alison] Weir’s skillful hands, Elizabeth of York returns to us, full-bodied and three-dimensional. This is a must-read for Tudor fans!”Historical Novels Review
 
“This bracing biography reveals a woman of integrity, who . . . helped [her husband] lay strong groundwork for the success of the new Tudor dynasty. As always in a Weir book, the tenor of the times is drawn with great color and authenticity.”Booklist
 
“Weir once again demonstrates that she is an outstanding portrayer of the Tudor era, giving us a fully realized biography of a remarkable woman.”Huntington News

Praise for Alison Weir’s Mary Boleyn, named one of the Best Books of the Year by the Chicago Tribune
 
“This nuanced, smart, and assertive biography reclaims the life of a Tudor matriarch.”Publishers Weekly
 
“Weir has achieved the enviable skill of blending the necessary forensic and analytical tasks of academia with the passionate engagement that avocational history lovers crave.”—Bookreporter
 
“Top-notch . . . This book further proves that [Weir] is a historian of the highest caliber.”—Washington Independent Review of Books
 
“A refreshing change from recent books on the subject . . . If you want to learn more about this often-maligned woman of the sixteenth century, this is a must-read.”The Free Lance–Star
 
“Weir’s research is always first-rate and her narratives accessible. In her latest book, the author has to navigate the historical minefields of gossip, fiction, and conjecture to finally get at the truth.”Tucson Citizen
 
“Engaging . . . Weir matches her usual professional skills in research and interpretation to her customary, felicitous style.”Booklist

More About the Author

Alison Weir is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Innocent Traitor and The Lady Elizabeth and several historical biographies, including Mistress of the Monarchy, Queen Isabella, Henry VIII, Eleanor of Aquitaine, The Life of Elizabeth I, and The Six Wives of Henry VIII. She lives in Surrey, England with her husband and two children.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#92 in Books > History
#92 in Books > History

Customer Reviews

Once again she had written a well researched and interesting book.
Paul Ruby
Having just finished this book I can honestly say that I really know very little more about Elizabeth of York than before.
Susan
I recommend this book if you enjoy the history of the Tudor period.
Nancy Famolari

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Alison Weir, of necessity, subtitles her biography "A Tudor Queen and Her World" because frankly there isn't that much known about the life of Elizabrth of York that would otherwise merit 450 pages. Yes, she was born in tumultuous times. And yes, the accident of birth, and historical events converge to make her an important figure in the resolution of the War of the Roses. But truthfully, she is the sort of person who was swept along by history's tide, not an active player who attempted to determine its course.

Indeed, Weir spends a surprising amount of time telling us who Elizabeth of York wasn't: NOT a formidable, passionate and stubborn advocate like her granddaughter, Mary Tudor; NOT a brilliant, shrewd survivor who wields power with skill like her descendent and namesake Elizabeth I. Nor was she a phoenix capable of rising from the ashes of disappointment like great- grandchild Mary, Queen of Scots. No, says Weir. This Elizabeth, very much a woman of her time, is conventional. Happy to be consort even though she might have been regnant. Happy to be the pious, virtuous and ever-patient helpmate.

There is frequent repetition of the deep seeded misogyny of her day (all of it true) and one is almost ready to concur with Weir that we should appreciate Elizabeth (because of these constraints) merely as a survivor. Except......there were so many formidable women actually surrounding Elizabeth of York during her lifetime, that she comes off as a bit of a milksop in comparison. Her own mother, Elizabeth Wydeville was a shrewd manipulator of power and a fierce advocate of her family interest. Her mother-in-law Margaret Beaufort was relentless and successful in realizing her son's rather presumptuous ambitions.
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61 of 77 people found the following review helpful By chefdevergue VINE VOICE on December 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am all too familiar with Alison Weir's reputation amongst historians, but because there has been little written on Elizabeth of York, I went against my better judgment and decided to try this biography, so-called. Initially, I was settling on a 3-star rating, because there was really nothing all that special about the book. Certainly there is little about the writing style to keep the reader engaged, but I suppose that people who know little about this time period might find something of use.

But as I read on, that 3-star rating began to wobble, and then slip, and eventually it went into a complete free-fall. There is no actual biography here; there is only a recycling of material from other books, with Elizabeth's life as a pasted-on theme. It turns out that there is a good reason that no in-depth biography has been written on Elizabeth of York. There is little to no source material on her, and what little there is portrays an utterly conventional woman of her times, who would be indistinguishable from a comely, flaxen-haired peasant lass from Middle-of-Nowhereshire, except that she happened to be the daughter, wife, and mother of kings.

Since there is nothing about which she can write, Weir resorts to her tried-and-true method (on abundant display in earlier works like the Swynford biography and The Princes in the Tower) of supposition and conjecture. Other reviewers have commented on the surplus of phrases containing "Elizabeth must have," "Elizabeth probably," Elizabeth would have," etc. etc., and it was painfully apparent from nearly the beginning of the book. Weir says in her introduction that "there is sufficient evidence from which to draw conclusions about Elizabeth's character," but I'll be damned if I saw much evidence at all in the pages that followed.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By L. Lyons on December 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am in the middle of reading this book and am having a very mixed reaction. On the plus side, I am interested in the details of clothes, food, buildings, and ceremonies that Weir gleans from contemporaneous records. These will not be everyone's cup of tea, but I like them. On the negative side, she is an unabashed apologist for Henry VII. Henry VII good. Richard III bad. Really? Maybe they were both men of their times playing the hands they were dealt as best they could.

As other reviewers have noted, there is not much record of what these people actually felt and thought. What we have is limited record of what they did, but not why. Weir fills this gap with ample speculation based on nothing much beyond her interpretation. Frankly, Josephine Tey did a much better job in "The Daughter of Time" with her speculation and interpretation whether or not it was ultimately correct.

Weir has annoyingly strung together every description of Henry VII she could find without considering the sources, their motivations, their possible biases, and their access to first hand information. This leaves the reader with an indigestible lump of adjectives but no real picture of the person. Nor did she weigh the descriptions against known actions. She gives much weight to the opinions of Francis Bacon which were written 100 years after the events without any personal knowledge but with the spin of the Tudor era. It leaves the reader with a headache.

I was particularly annoyed by the speculation that Henry VII might have resented the rumors that Elizabeth might have been interested in marrying Richard III.
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