Thursday, May 9, 2013

Henry VIII: The King and His Court review

Having read a number of Alison Weir's biographies on royalty in Tudor England, I was excited to pick up Henry VIII: The King and His Court. Unfortunately, I found that this particular biography didn't flow as well as some of her others and it was almost too detailed.

I usually enjoy Weir's work because her biographies, while incredibly detailed and researched, feel like reading fiction rather than history and she really makes the figures come alive. That was less true of Henry VIII: The King and His Court and I think it was because she spent so much time describing the architecture, decorations, and activities and less time on the people. I find those things less interesting than the personalities and interactions of the people but I realize that other readers may be fascinated by what she detailed.

As always, Weir's book was extremely detailed and vivid and I did enjoy the various parts that involved the court intrigues, Henry's changing personality, and his various relationships. If you are interested in the reign of Henry VIII and in knowing a great deal of his holdings and the culture shift during that time, Henry VIII: The King and His Court is an outstanding book to read. If you are like me and are more interested in the people and personalities, I'd recommend one of Weir's other biographies from that time period.


Henry VIII, renowned for his command of power and celebrated for his intellect, presided over one of the most magnificent–and dangerous–courts in Renaissance Europe. Never before has a detailed, personal biography of this charismatic monarch been set against the cultural, social, and political background of his glittering court. Now Alison Weir, author of the finest royal chronicles of our time, brings to vibrant life the turbulent, complex figure of the King. Packed with colorful description, meticulous in historical detail, rich in pageantry, intrigue, passion, and luxury, Weir brilliantly renders King Henry VIII, his court, and the fascinating men and women who vied for its pleasures and rewards. The result is an absolutely spellbinding read.

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