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Mary Tudor: Princess, Bastard, Queen [Kindle Edition]

Anna Whitelock
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $28.00
Kindle Price: $13.00
You Save: $15.00 (54%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

She was the first woman to inherit the throne of England, a key player in one of Britain’s stormiest eras, and a leader whose unwavering faith and swift retribution earned her the nickname “Bloody Mary.” Now, in this impassioned and absorbing debut, historian Anna Whitelock offers a modern perspective on Mary Tudor and sets the record straight once and for all on one of history’s most compelling and maligned rulers.
Though often overshadowed by her long-reigning sister, Elizabeth I, Mary lived a life full of defiance, despair, and triumph. Born the daughter of the notorious King Henry VIII and the Spanish Katherine of Aragon, young Mary was a princess in every sense of the word—schooled in regal customs, educated by the best scholars, coveted by European royalty, and betrothed before she had reached the age of three. Yet in a decade’s time, in the wake of King Henry’s break with the pope, she was declared a bastard, disinherited, and demoted from “princess” to “lady.” Ever her deeply devout mother’s daughter, Mary refused to accept her new status or to recognize Henry’s new wife, Anne Boleyn, as queen. The fallout with her father and his counselors nearly destroyed the teenage Mary, who faced imprisonment and even death. 

It would be an outright battle for Mary to work herself back into the king’s favor, claim her rightful place in the Tudor line, and ultimately become queen of England, but her coronation would not end her struggles. She flouted the opposition and married Philip of Spain, sought to restore Catholicism to the nation, and fiercely punished the resistance. But beneath her brave and regal exterior was a dependent woman prone to anxiety, whose private traumas of phantom pregnancies, debilitating illnesses, and unrequited love played out in the public glare of the fickle court. 
Anna Whitelock, an acclaimed young British historian, chronicles this unique woman’s life from her beginnings as a heralded princess to her rivalry with her sister to her ascent as ruler. In brilliant detail, Whitelock reveals that Mary Tudor was not the weak-willed failure as so often rendered by traditional narratives but a complex figure of immense courage, determination, and humanity.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Queen Mary Tudor of England (who reigned from 1553 to 1558) will forever live in history as “Bloody Mary,” for the number of Protestants put to the flames during the reign of this unbendingly Catholic monarch. In this inviting biography, British historian Whitelock presents a more favorable queen. The eldest child of Henry VIII, Mary was initially his pampered only child, but despair over the lack of a male heir led him through a series of wives and the relegation of Mary as a bastard. As a Catholic, she experienced difficult times during the English Reformation and particularly during the brief reign of the ultra-Protestant Edward VI, her brother. Her fight to achieve the throne as Edward's rightful heir is seen here as showcasing in full color Mary's mettle: “her triumph over the other contestants to the throne was one of the most surprising events of the sixteenth century.” The author sees survivalism in her subject, where other historians have seen only inflexibility and self-righteousness. --Brad Hooper


“An impressive and powerful debut.”
—David Starkey
“This roller coaster of a story is told by Whitelock with great verve and pace.”
—Antonia Fraser
“Impressive . . . an unforgettable picture of Mary . . . [Whitelock] gives us a woman who met impossible challenges with courage and conviction.”
Financial Times
“Whitelock blazes through the Protestant burnings that earned her the name ‘Bloody Mary’ and excels in her timely portrait of a religious fanatic.”
—The Sunday Times

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1411 KB
  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (September 7, 2010)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003EY7IXQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #375,496 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So, you think you know Mary? September 20, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Everyone knows "Bloody Mary" from history class or even the famously popular show, "The Tudors" -which although a bit inaccurate I adored- but this book seeks to challenge the mainstream. You will come to know Mary as a strong woman who has learned a lot from her mother. A determined Catholic, oft threatened with treason from her own family. Denied her title as princess by her very father. Denied her mother's marraige to her father and bastardized. Even forced at one point to cater to her father's new wife's baby, Elizabeth, she weathers horrors involving her Mother's public dismissal, isolation and eventual death only to be shunned, threatened with treason by her father until she relents and confesses to his wishes.

I found this stark contrast to her younger sister. Even in death, Elizabeth is buried atop her sister in Westminster Abbey with an inscription that reads - "Regino consortes et urna, hic obdormimus Elizabetha et Maria sorores, in spe resurrectionis." (Partners in both throne and grave, here rest we two sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, in the hope of one resurrection). Yet Elizabeth is seen as the golden ruler and Mary the tyrranous bloodthirsty Catholic. If we are to hope for one resurrection it seems hardly likely considering their polar opposite public perception, doesn't it? Afterall, if it were not for Mary it is doubtful Elizabeth could have attained the throne (Mary could have even had her younger sister killed at the drop of a hat) and both Queens had to fight to rectify social issues their father left behind and their brother's refutal of their father's Rule of Succession. Mary had many enemies in England when she returned to claim her throne just as Elizabeth had enemies to contend with after she succeeded her sister.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars superficial look at the life of Queen Mary October 21, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Mary Tudor is, in my opinion, one of the most fascinating females in English history. She showed unbelievable strength of character and courage at certain points in her life, such as when she fought for her crown or refused to betray her religious ideals. On the other hand, she also had a tendency to be submissive and needy, especially in her relationships with men. A good biography of her life would be an excellent addition to anyone's bookshelf; unfortunately, Anna Whitelock's account of Mary's life leaves more than a little to be desired.

Whitelock's biography is superficial at best, leaving out major parts of Mary's life, important contemporaries, and political and religious background information, in what I can only assume was an attempt to make the book more streamlined and easy to read. While I understand that biographies from this period in history, especially biographies of the Tudor family, can be somewhat overwhelming and readers can become bogged down in the details, Whitelock really went too far in cutting away everything but the barest impression of Mary's life and times. I was especially disappointed by her handling of the religious difference between Protestants and Catholics. This was the key issue of Mary's reign, and in fact her entire life, and yet the author glosses over the history of the conflict between the groups and the differences between the two faiths. It is impossible to truly understand Mary's commitment to her faith or her decisions to act against Protestants (which earned her the nickname Bloody Mary) without a more careful examination of the religious issues of the time.

If you are looking for a relatively brief (for a historical biography) and cursory look at the life of England's first queen regnant, this book might be a good choice for you. If you are interested in an in depth look at Mary's life and the political and religious issues of her life, I strongly suggest you look elsewhere.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I found this to be a very informative, and yet very readable biography of Mary Tudor. It begins with her early years, as her father Henry VIII was reigning. Because of the influence his reign, his battles with the Catholic Church, and his succession of wives, on his daughter, this book has a good bit of information about Henry VIII as well. I found this book to be much better in dealing with both of these rulers than a book I recently read on the Tudors The Tudors: The Complete Story of England's Most Notorious Dynasty.

The author's objective in writing this book was to provide a more fleshed-out portrayal of Mary than is commonly given in the history books of her as "Bloody Mary." He blames that characterization of her on Foxe's Book of Martyrs. However, he does portray the graphicness of the persecution of Protestants under her reign. He simply tries to make us understand why and to also show the great accomplishment of being the first female queen of England.

I felt that I got to know and understand Mary Tudor as a person more than in other books that I've read on the topic. I liked the fact that there were quite a few quotes from Mary herself and other historical figures, along with the requisite footnoting. I would have liked to have been given a bit better of an understanding of her relationship with her sister Elizabeth, but other than that, I felt other areas of her life were developed well enough. And, the author did make me sympathize with her at times, like during her phantom pregnancies.

Overall, this is a very good book on Mary Tudor, with a good bit of valuable information about her father Henry VIII as well.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Loved it
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent biography.
This is an excellent biography of Mary Tudor. I've found this period of England's history to be extremely fascinating. Read more
Published 3 months ago by K. Spangler
4.0 out of 5 stars Just started reading
this and I am very impressed with the research and the skill employed here. Mary Tudor is a difficult subject, and not much reviewed, either. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Roni Gabriellle Sacksteder
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
This book was well-researched and well-written! How wonderful it is to finally get to see the true story behind Mary's life.
Published 6 months ago by Heather Dominguez
3.0 out of 5 stars Very much a Tudor
An interesting study which clearly shows how very much the two daughters of Henry VIII were similar, the compromises each made to stay alive and how they, like their father could... Read more
Published 13 months ago by A. Martin
3.0 out of 5 stars A generous examination of a poor ruler.
Ms. Whitelock's research base is excellent, and the book is well written--reads smoothly. My rating is more for the "spirit of its vision" regards Mary Tudor, and the Tudors in... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Irving Warner
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly readable
The problem with non-fiction history is that it can be like reading a text book and unless you have a particular interest in the subject it can be more of a chore than a pleasure... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Michael J Brainerd
4.0 out of 5 stars Not so Bloody-Mary
We all know the history of Tudor monachs and blood. They all have body counts (as do most of the princes of 16th century Europe) but Mary's focus always gets put on that. Read more
Published 19 months ago by A
2.0 out of 5 stars How Bloody was Mary?
Mary Tudor's historical reputation as a bloodthirsty religious bigot may be unfair, as the author maintains, but just how unfair is it? Read more
Published 20 months ago by A Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book on Mary's 4 year short reign.
From this book there doesn't seem to be too much going on in England during the Queens' reign except religious fanaticism,with a lot of vengeance type purges for the temporary... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Douglas E. Libert
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