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Young and Damned and Fair: The Life of Catherine Howard, Fifth Wife of King Henry VIII by [Gareth Russell]
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Young and Damned and Fair: The Life of Catherine Howard, Fifth Wife of King Henry VIII Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 253 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


Young and Damned and Fair is a gripping account of a young woman's future destroyed by forces beyond her control.  Gareth Russell moves effortlessly between Catherine Howard's private, inner world and the public life of the Henrician court, providing an unparalleled view into this tragic chapter of Tudor history. This is an important and timely book.” (Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire and A World on Fire )

"This fascinating and ultimately heartbreaking account of Henry VIII's doomed fifth wife brings to life the cruel, gossip-fueled, backstabbing world of the court in which Catherine Howard rose and fell. The uncommonly talented Gareth Russell has produced a masterly work of Tudor history that is engrossing, sympathetic, suspenseful, and illuminating." (Charlotte Gordon, author of Romantic Outlaws, winner off the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography )

"This is a timely and powerful re-examination of Henry's fifth queen who was probably guilty of nothing more than failing to reveal she had been betrothed before her wedding to the king old enough to be her grandfather, and then falling in love with a young man after their marriage.  The  author has done some beautiful new research to indicate that Catherine was not as foolish as some historians have suggested, and that her death was managed and manipulated by her offended husband, purely for his own revenge. It's particularly strong on the detail of Catherine’s short reign and the reaction of those who tried to defend her. I love it when historians take the women who have been neglected by history seriously and study their lives rather than accepting stereotypes." (Philippa Gregory, #1 New York Times bestselling author )

"Securely rooted in the sources and mercifully devoid of sentiment, this is the most fully rounded, best written biography of Catherine Howard we have so far." (Julia Fox, author of Jane Boleyn: The True Story of the Infamous Lady Rochford )

"A magnificent account of the rise and fall of Henry VIII's tragic fifth queen - compelling, thought-provoking and above all real. In Russell's meticulously researched narrative Catherine Howard and her household are brought to life as never before." (Adrian Tinniswood, author of The Long Weekend: Life in the English Country House Between the Wars )

"In Young and Damned and Fair Gareth Russell marries slick storytelling with a great wealth of learning about sixteenth-century personalities and politics. The result is a book that leads us deep into the nightmarish final years of Henry VIII's reign, wrenching open the intrigues of a poisonous court in a realm seething with discontent. At the heart of it all is the fragile, tragic figure of Catherine Howard, whose awful fate is almost unbearable to watch as it unfolds.  This is authoritative Tudor history written with a novelist's lightness of touch. A terrific achievement." (Dan Jones, author of The Plantagenets and The Hollow Crown )

"Scholarly yet highly readable...fresh and compelling...a stunning achievement...Catherine is given a makeover so complete that she is virtually unrecognizeable from the hopelessly naive girl of traditional history books." (The Sunday Times)

"Russell's is an excellent account, putting the oft-ignored Catherine in her proper historical context....he is a scrupulous historian." (Daily Mail)

"Bold...assured...A novelist turned historian, he veers with laudable theatricality between the claustrophobic and the panoramic, from intimate, febrile exchanges in noble and royal households to the public spectacle of courtly high diplomacy...Let us hope he fixes his sharp eye on the further, more opaque past--here is a historian unafraid of the dark, whether of depravity or documentation." (The Daily Telegraph)

"Russell's portrait effectively underscores the machinations of this volatile court, the treachery of sycophants, and the importance of the all-seeing servants. Dense with material and flavor of the epoch." (Kirkus Reviews)

“Russell expertly tells a tale of jewels and dancing and thrilling trysts that sees Catherine move dizzily towards the block.” (Literary Review)

“Highly readable and peppered with engrossing stories, this book is also fascinating for its details about what was considered sexually moral in 16-century England. Biography lovers and those intrigued by the lives of the royals will welcome this tragic story of Henry VIII’s fifth wife.” (Library Journal)

"Thorough in his research, convincing in his analysis, and eloquent in his telling of Catherine Howard’s life story... exquisitely written. Gareth Russell’s writing style simply stated rivals that of Stacy Schiff and David McCullough....Beyond the outstanding historical content, this book provides a wonderful writing lesson in the art of biography composition....Write this down and take it to the bank. Gareth Russell is one “big bio” away from joining the world’s elite biographers composing in the English language today. (

About the Author

Educated at Oxford University and Queen’s University, Belfast, Gareth Russell is a historian, novelist, and playwright. He is the author of The Ship of Dreams, Young and Damned and Fair, The Emperors, and An Illustrated Introduction to the Tudors. He lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Product details

  • ASIN : B01CO34HVS
  • Publisher : Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (April 4, 2017)
  • Publication date : April 4, 2017
  • Language: : English
  • File size : 72784 KB
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Enabled
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Print length : 465 pages
  • Page numbers source ISBN : 1501108638
  • Lending : Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 253 ratings

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
253 global ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on June 6, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on June 3, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on May 16, 2017
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Top reviews from other countries

Miss Samantha J. Morris
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive biography on Catherine Howard
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 27, 2017
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32 people found this helpful
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William Roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and fulfilling
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 3, 2017
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28 people found this helpful
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S Riaz
5.0 out of 5 stars Young and Damned and Fair
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 23, 2020
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4 people found this helpful
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5.0 out of 5 stars A compulsive read.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 10, 2019
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6 people found this helpful
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Anna Bluebell
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent service. And what a book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 8, 2017
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8 people found this helpful
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