What makes a man marry six times? Was Henry VIII a voracious philanderer? On the contrary, says Dr David Starkey, the King was seeking happiness -- as well as hoping for a son. The first of his wives was Catherine of Aragon, the pious Catholic princess who suffered years of miscarriages and still births and yet failed to produce a male heir. As Henry VIII's interest shifted from her powerful Hapsburg relations and drifted towards France, so began his obsession with the pretty Lutheran Anne Boleyn. Jane Seymour's submissiveness was in contrast to Anne's vampish style -- and Henry married her on the day of Anne's execution. Jane died soon after giving birth to the longed-for son. There followed a farcical 'beauty contest' which ended in the short marriage of the now grossly overweight Henry to 'the mare of Flanders', Anne of Cleves. The final part of Six Wives contrasts the two Catherines -- Catherine Howard, the flirty child whose adulteries made a fool of the ageing King, and Catherine Parr, the shrewd, religiously radical bluestocking.
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David Starkey is Honorary Fellow of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, and the author of many books including 'Elizabeth'; 'Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII' and 'Monarchy: England and Her Rulers from the Tudors to the Windsors'. He is a winner of the WH Smith Prize and the Norton Medlicott Medal for Services to History presented by Britain's Historical Association. He is a well-known TV and radio personality. He was made a CBE in 2007. He lives in London.From AudioFile:
Intrigue. False piety. Self-serving legalism. Backstabbing (figurative). Beheadings (literal). David Starkey's history of Henry's wives (and their husband, children, allies, and enemies) chronicles their struggles for power and survival. The means to their ends, more often than not, were machination and connivance. Patricia Hodge relates this account in a knowing tone that seems to say, "Try as they might to put a decent face on things, we know better, don't we, my dear?" We are entertained. A minor criticism: Hodge's "foreign" accents, applied to the words of non-English characters, are cartoonish and an unnecessary distraction. Unnecessary because there's no dialogue here--no true conversation between characters-- and because all quotes are attributed. T.J.W. © AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
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Book Description Harpercollins Publishers, 2004. Compact Disc. Book Condition: Brand New. abridged ed edition. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # zk0007155123