Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Ackroyd, Peter "Tudors"

Ackroyd, Peter "The History of England, Vol. 2 Tudors" - 2012

After having read the first part of Peter Ackroyd's History of England, "Foundation", this was the second one in the series. He is planning to write six but I am sure this is my favourite since I find the Tudors the most fascinating part of British history.

Last year, I read "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" by Alison Weir, followed by her book about "Katherine of Aragon".  I am looking forward to reading more about the other five wives but …

Peter Ackroyd is a great writer, he just knows all the little details and can put them together so that you get the feeling, you have been there. All the problems the Tudor's encountered, how the Anglican church started, what the problems were etc. I grew up in a country that is half Catholic and half Protestant and there wasn't always much love lost between the two, so it was interesting to see how it all came to pass in England. I have always observed in Anglican services that they were a lot like Catholic ones and this book explains it all. Henry VIII really wanted to remain Catholic, just have nothing to do with the Pope and rule the church himself. That is just a very short explanation, so you better read the book if you want to know more.

In any case, whilst the author focuses a lot on the reformation in this edition, there is also a lot about Henry VIII's successors and how the island carried on after his death. Totally interesting.

From the back cover:

"Peter Ackroyd, one of Britain's most acclaimed writers, brings the age of the Tudors to vivid life in this monumental book in his The History of England series, charting the course of English history from Henry VIII's cataclysmic break with Rome to the epic rule of Elizabeth I.

Rich in detail and atmosphere, Tudors is the story of Henry VIII's relentless pursuit of both the perfect wife and the perfect heir; of how the brief royal reign of the teenage king, Edward VI, gave way to the violent reimposition of Catholicism and the stench of bonfires under "Bloody Mary." It tells, too, of the long reign of Elizabeth I, which, though marked by civil strife, plots against her, and even an invasion force, finally brought stability.

Above all, it is the story of the English Reformation and the making of the Anglican Church. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, England was still largely feudal and looked to Rome for direction; at its end, it was a country where good governance was the duty of the state, not the church, and where men and women began to look to themselves for answers rather than to those who ruled them."

I also read "Thames. Sacred River" by the same author.


  1. I remember your review of the first in this series. You must have really liked it to already have moved through the second. Great review.

    1. I have and I will read the next ones, as well. He is a great author and I love English history.