Henry VIII and the men who made him
The secret history behind the Tudor throne
By Tracy Borman
Tracy Borman, author of the bestselling biography Thomas Cromwell, takes us behind the scenes of Henry VIII's court and sheds new light on the most notorious Tudor monarch through the fresh perspective of his male relationships.
Henry VIII is well known for his tumultuous relationships with women, and he is often defined by his many marriages. But what do we see if we take a different look? When we see Henry through the men in his life, a new perspective on this famous king emerges.
Henry's relationships with the men who surrounded him reveal much about his beliefs, behaviour and character. They show him to be capable of fierce, but seldom abiding loyalty; of raising men only to destroy them later. He loved to be attended and entertained by boisterous young men who shared his passion for sport, but at other times he was more diverted by men of intellect, culture and wit. Often trusting and easily led by his male attendants and advisers during the early years of his reign, he matured into a profoundly suspicious and paranoid king whose favour could be suddenly withdrawn, as many of his later servants found to their cost. His cruelty and ruthlessness would become ever more apparent as his reign progressed, but the tenderness that he displayed towards those he trusted proves that he was never the one-dimensional monster that he is often portrayed as.
In this fascinating and often surprising new biography, Tracy Borman reveals Henry's personality in all its multi-faceted, contradictory glory.
Tracy Borman is joint Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces and Chief Executive of the Heritage Education Trust. She studied and taught history at the University of Hull and was awarded a PhD in 1997.
Tracy is the author of a number of highly acclaimed books including The Private Lives of the Tudors: Uncovering the Secrets of Britain's Greatest Dynasty, Thomas Cromwell: The Untold Story of Henry VIII's Most Faithful Servant, Matilda: Wife of the Conqueror, First Queen of England, Elizabeth's Women: The Hidden Story of the Virgin Queen and Witches: A Tale of Sorcery, Scandal and Seduction. Tracy is also a regular broadcaster and public speaker, giving talks on her books across the UK and abroad.
Follow Tracy on Twitter @TracyBorman
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- Publication date:
18 Apr 2019
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In this stunning book, Tracy Borman proves yet again that she is at the top of her field. It's an outstanding work of historical artistry, a brilliantly woven and pacy story of the men who surrounded, influenced and sometimes plagued Henry VIII. Borman is in complete command of the vast source material, and affords us a new perspective on a king who has dominated the national consciousness for centuries - no mean achievement. Masterful, and hugely impressive, this is one Tudor book you must not miss! — Alsion Weir
An arching overview of Henry's reign with small surprises on virtually every page. Why wait for the final installment of Wolf Hall, when the real tale is every bit as compelling? We meet a Henry who for once is a wholly convincing man - neither a monster, nor the monolith of the Holbein portrait [Borman] unpacks so deftly. — Sarah Gristwood
Henry VIII and The Men Who Made Him is a meticulously researched and compellingly presented narrative, which presents the infamous Tudor King in a whole new light from the eyes of the men who knew him: family, friends, servants and enemies. It's a refreshingly brilliant approach to a well known story, which is beautifully and engagingly written. — Nicola Tallis, author of Crown of Blood
Praise for The Private Lives of the Tudors
Borman approaches her topic with huge enthusiasm and a keen eye for entertaining...this is a very human story of a remarkable family, full of vignettes that sit long in the mind. — The Sunday Times
Tracy Borman's eye for detail is impressive; the book is packed with fascinating courtly minutiae...this is a wonderful book. — The Times
Borman is an authoritative and engaging writer, good at prising out those humanising details that make the past alive to us. — The Observer
Fascinating, detailed account of the everyday reality of the royals... This is a book of rich scholarship. Tracy Borman is a chief curator of Historic Royal Palaces and she knows her Tudor history inside out. — Daily Mail
Praise for Thomas Cromwell
This deeply researched and grippingly written biography brings Cromwell to life and exposes the Henrician court in all its brutal, glittering splendour. — Independent
Dr Tracy Borman has crafted an exceptional and compelling biography about one of the Tudor age's most complex and controversial figures. With expert insights based on a wealth of research, and riveting detail, she has brought Thomas Cromwell to life as never before. — Alison Weir
Tracy Borman tells us succinctly in 400 pages what we need to know about the man who rose to be the king's highest adviser ... a very good book. — The Times
Borman's is a highly readable account, and will add to the debate surrounding this ultimately elusive character. — Financial Times
Elegant...her prose, as ever, glides beautifully along. — Sunday Times