Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Making of the Tudor Dynasty

I've read a lot about Henry VIII and his wives, but I didn't know much about Henry VII and how he came to power. I attempted to read a book about the Wars of the Roses, but I just got bogged down and gave up.

This book, by two British scholars, leaves out a lot of the extraneous history and focuses solely on the Tudor family and its Welsh origins, which, for the most part, makes it easier to follow than the other history I attempted. At times, however, the writing is too dry and scholarly.

It's definitely true that history is written by the victors. Richard III, who usurped the throne from the young Edward IV, comes across completely as a bad guy, while Henry VII, kept in exile in Brittany for most of his young life, is the hero, coming in to rescue England from its inept ruler.

I would have preferred, however, that the authors had carried on a bit with detail of Henry VII's reign instead of ending the book very quickly after the Battle of Bosworth. It seemed like they spent so much time getting to the point of the Tudors coming into power, only to end it with a litany of the men who benefited by their support of Henry VII.

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