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The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers Paperback – September 15, 1998
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
In many ways, this is a dark book. Henry was a complex man, and dangerous to get close to. A number of those closest to him lost their heads. Life was relatively short in those days anyway, though, and I found myself feeling for Henry by the end. In a very superstitious age, he was driven by his own inner demons. And it is apalling how superstitious these people were. There was a strong tendency to attribute every significant event as an act of God. Given the misfortunes that dogged his life, Henry was often left to wonder what he had done to offend his "God". Hence, he can convince himself that his marriage to Katherine of Aragon was incestuous when there was no hope of her giving him a son, despite many years together and the possibility that she was one of the few who really loved him. Later, he is able to convince himself that Anne Boleyn is a "witch". Disagreeable she might have been. She comes across as vain, selfish, greedy and vengeful. But, she certainly wasn't directly responsible for any of the deaths and illnesses in Henry's family. Nor is it likely that hismarriages were provoking angry responses from any vengeful deities.
If you have any interest in the life and times of Henry VIII, then you should definitely read this book.Read more ›
George's "The Autobiography of Henry VIII : With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers" is an amazing book. It's quite daunting to look at (being more than 900 pages long!) but I can assure you that, once started, you will fly through this book. As the title implies, this book is from Henry's point of view, and it is written as a journal.
In the opening pages we hear from Henry's fool Will, who is writing to Henry's illegitimate daughter Catherine (Anne Boleyn's sister Mary is the mother). Will explains that he is sending her Henry's journal, a journal that he, Will, found after Henry's death. He admits that he has read through it and added notes of his own in some sections, which is George's clever way of adding a more objective opinion to some of "Henry's" ramblings.
This book presents a fascinating, and markedly different, view of Henry than is usually presented in history books. Instead of seeing Henry VII as a mean, vindictive, overweight slob, he comes across as a mostly kind man who is haunted by inner demons (especially near the end of his life).
If you're at all interested in Henry VII (and even if you're not!), I strongly urge you to pick up this book.
George does better with the character of Will Somers, whose critical comments intrude on Henry's "manuscript" from time to time. She also does a pretty fair job of explaining a long and complicated span of English history. Character development tends to be limited to Henry and his six wives and several mistresses, but that is part of the historical romance genre. The important men in Henry's life: Wolsey, More, Cromwell, Cranmer, come off as cardboard sticks. ( I would have loved to have seen more of the inscrutable Cranmer--now THERE'S a novel for you.)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm a huge fan of historical fiction, especially about the Tudor era- and this book completely blew me away. Read morePublished 28 days ago by KLynne
The author makes a portrait of the man as a human being and not just a crazy, over-sexed blood-thirsty monarch.Published 1 month ago by Yvonne McKenzie
Couldn't put it down. It makes you feel like you're part of his court. You become one with him and his life.Published 1 month ago by Trina
I especially enjoyed the "whisper-synch" edition. I heartily recommend this book to anyone who loves a good, long, historical novel.Published 1 month ago by Mark Killops
I have read this book three times. Super entertaining. I bought this copy thinking I had lost my previous copy and then I found it so gave this was as a gift. Read morePublished 2 months ago by JGL2010
I gave one star to "The Autobiography of Henry VIII" because I could not give it half star or no star at all. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Ana Claudia de Faria Rodrigues
I loved this book and even after 932 pages, didn't want it to end! This fictional autobiography (with occasional comments by his fool, Will Somers) is exciting and informative and... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Kona