The Tudors For Dummies, Paperback
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


This entertaining guide covers the period from 1485 to 1603, exploring the life and times of everyday people (from famine and the flu epidemic, to education, witchcraft and William Shakespeare) as well as the intrigues and scandals at court.

Strap yourself in and get ready for a rollercoaster ride through the romantic and political liaisons of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I - and that's not all!

Information on surviving Tudor buildings, such as Hampton Court, adds a contemporary twist for readers wanting to bring history to life by visiting these historic sites. The Tudors For Dummies includes: Part I: The Early Tudors Chapter 1: Getting to Know the Tudors Chapter 2: Surveying the Mess the Tudors Inherited Chapter 3: Cosying Up With the First Tudor Part II: Henry VIII Chapter 4: What was Henry like?Chapter 5: How Henry Ran his Kingdom Chapter 6: Divorced, Beheaded, Died; Divorced, Beheaded, Survived: The Perils of Marrying Henry Chapter 7: Establishing a New Church: Henry and Religion Part III: Edward VI, Mary and Philip, and Queen Mary Chapter 8: Edward, the Child King Chapter 9: Establishing Protestantism Chapter 10: Northumberland, Lady Jane Grey and the Rise of Mary Chapter 11: What Mary Did Chapter 12: Weighing Up War and Disillusionment Part IV: The First Elizabeth Chapter 13: The Queen and her Team Chapter 14: Breaking Dinner Party Rules: Discussing Religion and Politics Chapter 15: Tackling Battles, Plots and Revolts Chapter 16: Making War with Spain Chapter 17: Understanding the Trouble in Ireland Chapter 18: Passing on the Baton - Moving from Tudors to Stewarts Part V: The Part of Tens Chapter 19: Ten top Tudor Dates Chapter 20: Ten Things the Tudors Did For Us Chapter 21: Ten (Mostly) Surviving Tudor Buildings


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 376 pages, Illustrations map.
  • Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: British & Irish history
  • ISBN: 9780470687925



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"The Tudors are in fashion". This is how the Introduction of the book starts and this is one of the keys of what to expect from the book. I had never read a book from the series before - and the reason to get this one is that I am interested in the Tudors - so when a new book is published, I usually will at least look into it.The book surprised me in a good way - yes, it is an oversimplified history of the Tudors but it is not as watered down as I expected. It has its issues of course - some more serious than other but it is done by people that know the Tudors and care enough to try to actually tell the actual story - as strange and different from what almost anyone think it is it might be.The good things- The book is fairly objective and the history is simplified but true- The reign of Jane Grey is not just skipped (as some history books tend to do- All the major events from the Tudors reign are mentioned and/or explained- 3 of the 4 Top Ten lists (the "What the Tudors did for us", "Tudor Buildings" and "Major Tudor Events") are quite interesting and informative (and even of someone else could have selected different ones, these tens are pretty well chosen and balanced).- The style is highly readable- Knowing their usual audience, the authors chose to draw their attention to the portrayals of the events in movies (but where is the Helen Mirren one - almost any other is mentioned but that one is just skipped (and it is my favorite one from all them -- the first part at least)?) and how they differ in places from the real story (or how they show it exactly)- The book is thoroughly internally referenced - so if you read just the chapter you are interested in, you have the reference where to go for the term/person/event you just encountered and which is not explained in that chapter. - The book uses the modern scholarship on the controversial events and people (which comes as no surprise considering that one of the authors is Loades).The bad things:- The history is so simplified in some places that without prior knowledge you can interpret some of the things wrongly - not any of the major events but a few times I actually needed to think a bit on what they said as it sounded a bit strange- The ordering in some parts of the book is just awful. For example the chapter for the wives of Henry VIII is all ordered properly but the sidebars that carry the stories of each of them are all over the place - The "kitchen sink" was funny the first few times. After that it became almost tedious (everything but the kitchen sink or everything and the kitchen sink). If it was not used that often, it would have been quite a nice expression... - Gossips - the book is dealing pretty well with most of the events... and then out of the blue a rumor just get presented as a historical fact (Katherine of Aragon's life after being cast off from Henry for example). - At least one of the sidebars did not make it into the book (about Ireland in the 16th century) ... but it got referred to at least once. Adding to this a few very notable misspellings and mistypings and this book really needed an additional reading before being sent for publishing.- The 4th of the Top ten list (Tudor People) - Cecily Bodenham? Elizabeth Throckmorton? I really fail to see how most of the list is selected... They are interesting, I agree but they cannot be referred to Top Ten Tudor People..One of the things that was just mentioned in passing were the two sisters of Henry VIII - they were part of the Tudors politics and considering the style of the book, both stories would have fitted right in. If you cannot read a history book that uses modern language and expressions, just skip that one. It is written to be attractive to people that do not really know a lot about history and that will not sit down and read John Guy's Tudor England for example. And in this it succeeds. 4 stars for the book - and I hope that the book will make at least some of its reader want to read something more about the Tudors.

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