Six Wives

Six Wives

4.1 39
by David Starkey
     
 

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No one in history had a more eventful career in matrimony than Henry VIII. His marriages were daring and tumultuous, and made instant legends of six very different women. In this remarkable study, David Starkey argues that the king was not a depraved philanderer but someone seeking happiness -- and a son. Knowingly or not, he elevateda group of women to

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Overview

No one in history had a more eventful career in matrimony than Henry VIII. His marriages were daring and tumultuous, and made instant legends of six very different women. In this remarkable study, David Starkey argues that the king was not a depraved philanderer but someone seeking happiness -- and a son. Knowingly or not, he elevateda group of women to extraordinary heights and changed the way a nation was governed.

Six Wives is a masterful work of history that intimately examines the rituals of diplomacy, marriage, pregnancy, and religion that were part of daily life for women at the Tudor Court. Weaving new facts and fresh interpretations into a spellbinding account of the emotional drama surrounding Henry's six marriages, David Starkey reveals the central role that the queens played in determining policy. With an equally keen eye for romantic and political intrigue, he brilliantly recaptures the story of Henry's wives and the England they ruled.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Fraser's scrupulously researched recuperative study of Henry VIII's six queens makes a major contribution to feminist scholarship. Illustrations. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Fraser here attempts to provide a fuller view of the six women who unenviably danced around the maypole that was the corpulent King of England. Fraser, the distinguished author of many historical studies, including The Weaker Vessel ( LJ 8/84), portrays in fascinating detail the women who sought to be included in and were sometimes destroyed by the power structure of the times. Inevitably, more time is spent on Catherine of Aragon (after all, Catherine and Henry were married 24 years, whereas all five of his other marriages only totaled a little over ten years), and although Fraser claims to have tried to avoid any bias, she betrays a lingering sympathy for Henry's first queen. One cannot help but speculate, as the author does, what history would have been like if Catherine had provided Henry with a male heir. Not only were Henry's wives prisoners of their biology, but also Henry himself. Fraser's readable style, empathy for her subjects, and piquant use of historical details and anecdotes make this a satisfying addition to the history shelves. Recommended for all public and academic libraries. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/92.-- Katherine Gillen, Denver P . L .
Brad Hooper
British schoolchildren remember the matrimonial sequence by learning this little rhyme: "Divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived." Thus were the fates of the six women who--unfortunately, for most of them--entered into legal matrimony with the great Tudor king, Henry VIII. Esteemed British biographer Fraser brings her considerable talent for blending impeccable research, fresh interpretation, and an easy-flowing style to bear on a collective biography of Harry's half-dozen queens. That "the six women have become defined in a popular sense not so much by their lives as by the way these lives ended" is Fraser's point of departure; in the end, she has reconstructed cradle-to-grave portraits of Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard, and Catherine Parr as individuals dynamic in their own right, aside from the manner in which each was dispatched. Contrary to popular notion, King Henry was no bluebeard simply out to satisfy a gargantuan sexual appetite; Fraser's Henry is a husband who married five times for love and once for reasons of state. It's an aspect of English history--Henry and his wives--that can and has been treated either as silly or salacious. Fraser's tack is to see it in its personal and political seriousness.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061842160
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/13/2009
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
880
Sales rank:
232,596
File size:
1 MB

Meet the Author

David Starkey is the Bye Fellow of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, and winner of the W. H. Smith Prize and the Norton Medlicott Medal for Services to History presented by Britain's Historical Association. He is best known for writing and presenting the groundbreaking and hugely popular series Elizabeth and The Six Wives of Henry VIII. He lives in London.

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Six Wives 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
First of all a warning, this book deals heavily with Henry's first two wives. However, this detail allows the reader to see into the forces behind the Reformation of the Church of England. It also paints an evenhanded picture of the people involved in the events of the time. While not as much attention is devoted to the other four wives, the author does not short-change their stories either. Their effects on history are smaller as his is coverage of their lives.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's entitled 'Six Wives' but should have been called 'The Divorce.' This book deals too much with the divorce proceedings and not enough with the characters. Excellent book for someone studying the history of English Divorce & Marriage law - otherwise I suggest one of the other fine books on Henry VIII's wives.
Kirconnell More than 1 year ago
This history of Henry VIII and his wives is nicely done. I loved Starkey's book on the young Elizabeth and thought that I'd try this one. There are areas at the start where the story gets bogged down in all the political events and becomes tedious, but once past this the story moves more quickly. Excellent research and some new data that Starkey has uncovered.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a great book. I'm the kind of person who really likes to read about the English monarchy. I thought this was a great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well researched and written book. Goes into depth on first 2 wives, but most of Henry's life was with these two women . Highly recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I so enjoyed the fresh viewpoint of Mr. Starkey. Great insight and research.
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