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Tudor: Passion. Manipulation. Murder. The Story of England’s Most Notorious Royal Family Hardcover – October 8, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; 1St Edition edition (October 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1610393635
  • ISBN-13: 978-1610393638
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 6.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #223,773 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

From the peccadilloes of Henry VIII, to the judicial murders of Anne Boleyn and Thomas More, to the Golden Age of Elizabeth, the Tudor epoch in English history lends itself to the soap-opera treatment as well as serious historical study. This enjoyable, well-written account is a bit of both. De Lisle, who has written extensively on Tudor history, begins the saga with the Welsh commoner, Owen Tudor, who lucked into a marriage with the widow of Henry V, thus providing Tudor descendants with noble lineage. Bouncing between hard historical facts and sometimes-debatable speculations, De Lisle examines the key events and characters that make the Tudor story interesting. She offers a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of Margaret Beaufort, the mother of the first Tudor monarch, Henry VII. She describes an unfairly maligned “Bloody Mary” and an Elizabeth not quite deserving of “Gloriana.” This is a very well-done popular history ideal for general readers. --Jay Freeman

Review

“Leanda de Lisle reveals such hidden depths in the vivid history of England’s most famous dynasty”—The American Conservative
“Deeply researched but vibrantly accessible.” Wall Street Journal

“Leanda de Lisle has the gift of reminding us that history is the story of real people; real men, real women, full of rage and ambition and lust and hope and love. The Tudors are already our most vivid dynasty, by quite a long chalk, but these pages render them more vivid still. This was an age when the game was worth the candle, when a chance remark could result in a crown or the axe. Wonderful, passionate, dangerous, fascinating stuff. I couldn’t put it down.”—Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey

“This fresh take on the Tudor dynasty is history at its best… an engaging and well-sourced account, sprinkled with provocative anecdotes that will appeal to both scholars and general readers… This compelling tale is driven by three-dimensional people and relationships, and de Lisle does a fantastic job of making them feel lived and dramatic. ” Publishers Weekly, starred

“A reliable and amply researched guide.” Kirkus Reviews

“Enjoyable, well-written… De Lisle examines the key events and characters that make the Tudor story interesting… This is a very well-done popular history ideal for general readers.” Booklist

“Six centuries after they began, the Tudors are still England’s most famous family. Their story is told in full in Leanda de Lisle’s Tudor, a wonderfully fluent portrait of five generations that connects the often overlooked fifteenth century Tudors with the more famous stuff. In bridging this divide, de Lisle brings an entirely fresh feel to the Tudor story, reminding us of the one thing the monarchs themselves wanted us to forget: the sheer improbability of their royal rule.” —The Times (London)

“Europe has produced no family saga that could match the Tudors. Rarely has that story been so well told as here.” The Mail

“De Lisle's masterful command of the facts – great and small – provides a complete and entertaining overview.” The Guardian

“Leanda de Lisle’s accomplished survey of the ‘Renaissance romance and gothic horror’ of the Tudor era provides a vibrant reappraisal of this turbulent family saga… she introduces a different perspective. Avoiding sensationalism, she is meticulous in her use of sources. Her account confirms the Tudors as one of history’s great success stories, even though their reigns were marked by bloodshed, religious upheaval and the fearful prospect of a disputed succession.” The Spectator

“Absorbing… In de Lisle’s hands, this is a deeply human tale, a family tree come to vivid life, rather than a narrative of politics and power structures.” The Sunday Telegraph

“[De Lisle’s] crisp, uninterfering style lets the story tell itself. Almost every page is vivid with the well-noted detail.” The Telegraph

“Tudor is a gripping account of a family riven by passionate jealousies, murderous ambitions, and crippling tragedies. Leanda de Lisle is a master storyteller, and this is her greatest work yet. Immersive and exhaustively researched, Tudor is a triumph.” —Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire

Customer Reviews

Fabulous book for Tudor history lovers!
Midwest Bookworm
I am looking forward to reading not just more about this time in history, but to reading another book by this author.
Rachel
This is a very well written book and bring up some new information.
L.J. Cardin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read her earlier book on the Gray Sisters, and when I heard Tudor was coming out, I was confident I'd be getting a good book. What I DIDN'T expect was how expertly Ms. de Lisle examined all the Tudors of the period, including those minor characters: Margaret Clifford, Margaret Douglas, etc., of whom nobody ever hears anything. The book does not read like a non-fiction book (even though I like those kind of books) and instead captured me from cover to cover. I have never heard anyone else summarize James VI's future plans, as succinctly as Ms. de Lisle did. I know there are a bunch of new Tudor and Plantagenant books coming out this fall, and I'm on the waiting list for many of them. Those authors will have to work really hard to equal Ms. de Lisle's talent, research, and story-telling!
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Rachel on September 27, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

WOW .. JUST WOW! I have to admit/proclaim right here and now that am completely fascinated with the Tudor Dynasty. Actually my fascination seems to spreading deeper and deeper into history. When I saw this book available for review I knew I immediately wanted to read it.

Tudor: The Family Story by Leandra de Lisle is a well written history book that spans just before the War of the Roses and ends with the death of the Tudor Dynasty (Elizabeth I to James I). There are complete illustrated charts to follow the family history (let's face it, it can all get very confusing with the repeat of royal names like Henry, Edward, Margaret, Elizabeth, Anne ... etc). Whenever a reference was to be made it was easily outlined with numbers/letters leading the reader to further investigate the source if they choose to.

Leanda de Lise goes about writing this book by approaching it like a huge fairytale (at least this is how I followed it as I do with most of the history I read), but never once leaving me to think it was unbelievable. While she states facts, she provides a vivid picture of dress, deportment, relationships, characters, politics and history that make it easy to follow. Never once was I ever confused reading this book and if you are familiar with medieval history, where the families married cousins and such,and many were addressed by titles that are used over an over again, it can be very confusing indeed.

I am not a historian, but an average woman who loves to read about the past of this world. I am not qualified to dissect this book and express what is right or wrong, pick at the details one by one, scorn, critique and/or debate truth.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Sarah-Hope on October 28, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
When I was a child (circa 1970) my entire family spent weeks watching the BBC series The Six Wives of Henry the Eighth. That marked the beginning of my interest in Tudor history.

When a new popular book on one of the Tudor monarchs comes out, I'm always eager to read it, to see how it confirms or challenges the understanding I have of Tudor history based on my previous reading. So, I was delighted to be offered an electronic review copy of Leandra De Lisle's Tudor: The Family Story, just published earlier this month. This is the first book I've read that focuses on the entire family, instead of just one or a few individuals, and it's added a great deal to my understanding of the era.

De Lisle is a historian who's a relatively new arrival on the scene (her first full-length work was published in 2005)--and a prolific one, given that Tudor is her third title in the seven years since then. The 2005 volume was a study of the transition from Elizabeth I to James I and VI. The 2008 volume looked at the Grey sisters, the eldest of whom had a brief reign as Queen Jane during the interval between the death of Edward VI and Mary Tudor's rise to power. In other words, she's focused on some very interesting transitional moments in addition to the lives of the monarchs themselves.

Given this focus on transitions of power, Tudor is an engaging read, whether you've been reading Tudor history for years or are looking for a first book on the subject. De Lisle's prose is crisp; she piles up detail without ever becoming tedious. I particularly appreciate the clarity with which she treats her sources--she takes time to explain her interpretation of key documents, and she's also done some digging to locate documents not used in previous biographies of members of this family.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 7, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Goodness, where do I start? Leanda de Lisle is truly a master as far as relaying history in a riviting, and at times emotion charged subject matter. What do I mean? Well, I can honestly say that she got my attention when discussing the reformation. Oh, I know what most of you might be thinking....how is her telling possibly going to differ from what you might have already learned on this subject. Well, let me start by saying that I learned quite a bit about the founder of my religion, via this book. Did I get angry about what I read? Oh, you better believe I did, as a matter of fact I immediately called the Church I was raised and Confirmed in. But, wouldn't you know, it was after 4 P.M on a Friday, and everyone had already gone home. But I pulled out my catechism books, looking for answers there. None to be found, we were the sweet angels, that I learned about in Sunday school, and Catechism. You know, the Lutherans of Garrison Kealor's beloved tales...well not exactly. Religious bubble popped, I began some research online. I shuddered at much of what I could find concerning the Lutherans rage. It seems that blood was on all the hands of the men of the cloth. How could I not have known. Oh, it is true that the Catechism books mention religious wars, but not with the specifics that Leanda de Lisle uncovers. Now, I have to accept that despite the fact that I am embarrassed by all of this, Leanda de Lisle has a masters degree in history. She is well admired, and has written two other fantastic books, and is quite delightful to have discussions with. She is brilliant, period. As far as the Tudor dynasty goes, Leanda de Lisle is in her element.

One review here on Amazon.com judged this book, soley by the beautiful cover. Why?
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More About the Author

I took a Master's degree in Modern History at Oxford University. Modern history begins in the seventh century at Oxford, so not as modern as some people might suppose! I then became a columnist for a number of high profile magazines and newspapers. Some were funny columns, some serious, and I gained a reputation as a skilled writer. I soon returned to history, and I have spent the last ten years focussing on the Tudor and early Stuart period. I take time over my books - time to research and time to make that research as readable as possible. I hope I improve with each book. I live in a rural area with my husband of twenty-five years and I have three sons - all of them historians, although the youngest one is studying ancient history. We also have a huge brown labrador called Fitz. His full name is Fitz Pepsi - his father was called Pepsi and is still much missed. We don't own a cat, but we have a regular tortoiseshell visitor who stares at my husband in the garden as if he owns the place.

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Tudor: Passion. Manipulation. Murder. The Story of England’s Most Notorious Royal Family
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