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HENRY VIII Hardcover – 1969

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 561 pages
  • Publisher: Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Pr; First Edition edition (1969)
  • Language: English
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,008,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
Prof. Scarisbrick has written the definitive biography of Henry VIII and his times, even though this book is about 30 years old. Scarisbrick brought an interesting view to the subject: as a Roman Catholic he was the first British author granted access to Vatican archives for his research on the subject. The result is a still cogent, absolutely exhaustive book on the subject. Entailing a practically week by week account of Henry VIII's reign is overwhelming but of the upmost help for students of the subject. If you are looking for a light introduction to Henry VIII, this is probably not the place. But if you want *all* the (mind-numbing) details on Henry VIII, look no further than Scarisbrick's brilliant work.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Schmerguls VINE VOICE on February 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
I read this book right after reading Carolly Erickson's biography of Henry VIII, and on balance this book is better and easier to read. I love that Scarisbrick has modernized the spelling and punctuation of the original documents he quotes. I think the picture of Henry presented is well-balanced, and does not minimize the faults of the subject of the biography. The careful examination of the question of the validity of the marriage of Henry and Catherine of Aragon is the best I have ever read, and partisans on either side of that question will see that there is indeed another side to the view they favor. The examination of the religious views of Henry is detailed and enlightening. I have always had a negative view of Henry VIII and I still have after reading this book, but the book was instructive and enlightening. The footnotes are where they belong (at the bottom of each page) and the bibliography is detailed though of course a bit dated in the 1968 edition I read. After you read this book you will know that you have read a really good biography of this important figure in world history.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth A. Root on August 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Anyone wanting to seriously study Henry VIII will need to read this book. I think that it takes a number of books to get an idea of "Great Harry's" life, but this has unique information. I believe that Scarisbrick was the first historian permitted to use the Vatican archives to research Henry's annulment/divorce. Scarisbrick, for example, analyzes the divorce/annulment of Henry and Catharine of Aragon in careful details, and comes to a somewhat surprising conclusion. Also very carefully examined are the course of the Henrician church, and Henry's ever-shifting foreign policy.

I have one small comment. Scarisbrick expresses surprise that Henry persisted in using the somewhat eccentric argument from Leviticus. I think the reason is clear: Henry wanted something that could not be resolved by dispensation. As Retha Warnicke says in The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn: Family Politics at the Court of Henry VIII (Canto): "[...] Cardinal [Wolsey] [...] could and did find better reasons than Henry's for ending his marriage, but his arguments (like those of other scholars) can all be characterized as legal technicalities that are by their nature subject to retroactive dispensation. In contrast, Henry's reasoning is straightforward: the pope could not dispense from Biblical law [...]." This cavil does not diminish Scarisbrick's achievement.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By GAB on June 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
Scarisbrick's book is a scholar's book and remains recognized after over three decades as the definitive work on the subject. It provides the background for other, equally valuable books, such as David Starkey's "Six Wives: The Wives of Henry VIII". This, though, is not to say that Scarisbrick can't be read for pleasure. It can, but you will not find it the brezzy read of a popular history; instead, you will find a wealth of information that will serve you well in future reading on the subject. And it is a very enjoyable read itself. If you are serious about your understanding of this period of English history then Scarisbrick is essential, and I can't imagine a personal library on Henry or Tudor England without a copy.

As another reviewer remarked, this is not the book for an extensive treatment of Henry's wives. For that, I recommend turning to Starkey, and it too is essential for an understanding of this period of the history of Tudor England. What I've said about Scarisbrick's book can also be said about Starkey; although, I don't think it has quite the stature of Scarisbrick's.
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