The History of England From Henry VIII to Elizabeth I

Book - 2013 | 1st U.S. ed.
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Ackroyd brings the age of the Tudors to vivid life, charting the course of English history from Henry VIII's cataclysmic break with Rome to the epic rule of Elizabeth I.
Publisher: New York : Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, 2013.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
ISBN: 9781250003621
Branch Call Number: 942.05 ACKRO
Characteristics: x, 507 p., 16 unnumbered p. of plates : ill. (chiefly col.), col. map ; 25 cm.
Additional Contributors: Ackroyd, Peter 1949- History of England.


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This is the second volume of Peter Ackroyd’s sweeping history of England. This history focuses on the religious and political upheaval of the period.

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Dec 11, 2020

This is the second book in the author’s series on English history. My interest in it is as background for early American history. The era opens with Henry VIII as a strong ruler in search of an heir and yet there are limitations on what such a monarch can do and keep support of the nobles and populace. While the reign of Elizabeth I provides stability and the limitations on her power shift, constraints remain. Court intrigue seems a little more refined, though it is still dangerous to oppose the monarch especially if seen as supporting a possible claimant to the throne or a religion at variance with the state. Pre-Tudor vengeful execution methods moderate while induced confessions are elicited with the aid of the rack. This period marks the break with the Catholic church and the rejection of continental Protestantism. Religious conflict will eventually motivate some to emigrate to the new world. The author asserts the landscape of holy wells and springs, the abandonment of public rituals in the streets and surveyed maps for the new landed gentry that omitted common fields coupled with a new commercial spirit would lead to the wretchedness of the landless laborer while laying the foundation for the nation that would rule an empire.

Peter Ackroyd has provided a list of books recommended for further reading. I’m looking forward to the third book of the series.

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