Most books I have read about Henry the Eighth focus on the soap opera like quality of his reign. Lust, personal interaction, and hubris are assumed to explain all that happened. When they attempt to go deeper, most books present Henry as an embryo Protestant reformer.
"The Wives of Henry the Eighth" (1905) places Henry's reign in its historical context, showing how Henry was driven by the three-way strife of Charles V of the Empire, Francis of France, and Henry himself - all of whom played off the Pope. The large part Henry's wives played was only a part of the subtle politics of the day.
This is, to me, a fascinating book, albeit rather demanding of the reader. One must pay close attention as he reads. The author assumes a knowledgeable reader; one not familiar with the period would do well to read a general history before diving into "The Wives of Henry the Eighth".
While not meant for a casual reader interested in sexual innuendo, I think this would be an interesting read for anyone who wishes to put Henry VIII into the true historical context.
I always wince when I hear someone say that "History repeats itself" - as if history were a deity. In fact, it is men who repeat the errors of other men - which proves only that all men are driven by similar vanities and desires. This book illustrates this principle to the Nth degree, as person after person tries to manipulate situations, only to suffer from unintended consequences.
The story of Henry the Eighth is a parable and, as told in this book, a lesson to all men.