This book is bad. It reeks, it is derogatory to its subjects, it insults the reader, and the author is pushing his own agenda here. I really wanted to like this one, and went into it with some optimism that I could learn something new. But no, the author is fixated on religion here, especially in what makes evangelical protestantism different from everyone else. I could have handled this much better if the same amount of space and effort had been devoted to five (almost six) Tudor monarchs -- Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, (Lady Jane Grey), Mary I and Elizabeth I.
But no. We get the same hyperbolic crap to be found in most bad novels about the Tudors. Even worse, the author focuses nearly entirely on Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Henry VII gets a smidgen of a mention -- namely his origins and Bosworth. Then we whip right along to Henry VIII, Katherine of Aragon, a little about Anne Boleyn, and an awful lot on monasticism, various cardinals and popes, those English noblemen who were protestant leaning, and even more about Religion, and why Catholicism is bad. Alright, not so much on that, but that is certainly the feeling that I had when I finished the book. Even the last four of Henry's wives were barely mentioned, beyond their names and what happened to them. Edward VI isn't given much mention either, just what he did to support protestantism, his Seymour uncles and then John Dudley and Lady Jane Grey. Mary I is treated as a near-hysteric, and then there's her marriage to Philip II of Spain.
Did I mention there's a lot about religion in this book?
Then there's Elizabeth I, who gets about the last hundred or so pages. The Armada is dismissed as a lucky fluke for the English, Elizabeth is vain and insecure, and so the Tudors dwindle on out of history. I hated this book by the time that it ground to a finish. The sources he uses are fairly slight, and while he cites sources, most of them secondary -- this amazes me in that there is a host of primary sources out there. It tries to be a popular history, but the end result is boring and flat. Two stars overall, and not recommended at all.