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With the novelistic vividness that made his National Book Critics Circle Award finalist Queen of Scots "a pure pleasure to read" (Washington Post BookWorld), John Guy brings to life Thomas More and his daughter Margaret- his confidante and collaborator who played a critical role in safeguarding his legacy.Sir Thomas More's life is well known: his opposition to Henry VIII's marriage to Anne Boleyn, his arrest for treason, his execution and martyrdom. Yet Margaret has been largely airbrushed out of the story in which she played so important a role. John Guy restores her to her rightful place in this captivating account of their relationship.Always her father's favorite child,Margaret was such an accomplished scholar by age eighteen that her work earned praise from Erasmus. She remained devoted to her father after her marriage-and paid the price in estrangement from her husband.When More was thrown into the Tower of London,Margaret collaborated with him on his most famous letters from prison, smuggled them out at great personal risk, even rescued his head after his execution. John Guy returns to original sources that have been ignored by generations of historians to create a dramatic new portrait of both Thomas More and the daughter whose devotion secured his place in history.
A groundbreaking reconsideration of our favorite Tudor queen, Elizabeth is an intimate and surprising biography that shows her at the height of her power by the bestselling, Whitbread Award-winning author of Queen of Scots. Elizabeth was crowned at twenty-five after a tempestuous childhood as a bastard and an outcast, but it was only when she reached fifty and all hopes of a royal marriage were dashed that she began to wield real power in her own right. For twenty-five years she had struggled to assert her authority over advisers who pressed her to marry and settle the succession; now, she was determined not only to reign but also to rule. In this magisterial biography of England's most ambitious Tudor queen, John Guy introduces us to a woman who is refreshingly unfamiliar: at once powerful and vulnerable, willful and afraid. In these essential and misunderstood forgotten years, Elizabeth confronts challenges at home and abroad: war against the Catholic powers of France and Spain, revolt in Ireland, an economic crisis that triggered riots in the streets of London, and a conspiracy to place her cousin Mary Queen of Scots on her throne. For a while she was smitten by a much younger man, but could she allow herself to act on that passion and still keep her throne? For the better part of a decade John Guy mined long-overlooked archives, scouring court documents and handwritten letters to sweep away myths and rumors. This prodigious historical detective work has made it possible to reveal for the first time the woman behind the polished veneer: wracked by insecurity, often too anxious to sleep alone, voicing her own distinctive and surprisingly resonant concerns. Guy writes like a dream, and this combination of groundbreaking research and propulsive narrative puts him in a class of his own.From the Hardcover edition.
National Book Critics Circle Award finalist"A triumph . . . a masterpiece full of fire and tragedy." -- Amanda Foreman, author of GeorgianaIn the first full-scale biography of Mary Stuart in more than thirty years, John Guy creates an intimate and absorbing portrait of one of history's greatest women, depicting her world and her place in the sweep of history with stunning immediacy. Bringing together all surviving documents and uncovering a trove of new sources for the first time, Guy dispels the popular image of Mary Queen of Scots as a romantic leading lady -- achieving her ends through feminine wiles -- and establishes her as the intellectual and political equal of Elizabeth I.Through Guy's pioneering research and superbly readable prose, we come to see Mary as a skillful diplomat, maneuvering ingeniously among a dizzying array of factions that sought to control or dethrone her. Queen of Scots is an enthralling, myth-shattering look at a complex woman and ruler and her time."The definitive biography . . . gripping . . . a pure pleasure to read." -- Washington Post Book World"Reads like Shakespearean drama, with all the delicious plotting and fresh writing to go with it." -- Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionJohn Guy is a fellow in history at Clare College, University of Cambridge, and the author of several books, including the best-selling textbook Tudor England.
A revisionist new biography reintroducing readers to one of the most subversive figures in English history--the man who sought to reform a nation, dared to defy his king, and laid down his life to defend his sacred honor NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY KANSAS CITY STAR AND BLOOMBERGBecket's life story has been often told but never so incisively reexamined and vividly rendered as it is in John Guy's hands. The son of middle-class Norman parents, Becket rose against all odds to become the second most powerful man in England. As King Henry II's chancellor, Becket charmed potentates and popes, tamed overmighty barons, and even personally led knights into battle. After his royal patron elevated him to archbishop of Canterbury in 1162, however, Becket clashed with the King. Forced to choose between fealty to the crown and the values of his faith, he repeatedly challenged Henry's authority to bring the church to heel. Drawing on the full panoply of medieval sources, Guy sheds new light on the relationship between the two men, separates truth from centuries of mythmaking, and casts doubt on the long-held assumption that the headstrong rivals were once close friends. He also provides the fullest accounting yet for Becket's seemingly radical transformation from worldly bureaucrat to devout man of God. Here is a Becket seldom glimpsed in any previous biography, a man of many facets and faces: the skilled warrior as comfortable unhorsing an opponent in single combat as he was negotiating terms of surrender; the canny diplomat "with the appetite of a wolf" who unexpectedly became the spiritual paragon of the English church; and the ascetic rebel who waged a high-stakes contest of wills with one of the most volcanic monarchs of the Middle Ages. Driven into exile, derided by his enemies as an ungrateful upstart, Becket returned to Canterbury in the unlikeliest guise of all: as an avenging angel of God, wielding his power of excommunication like a sword. It is this last apparition, the one for which history remembers him best, that will lead to his martyrdom at the hands of the king's minions--a grisly episode that Guy recounts in chilling and dramatic detail. An uncommonly intimate portrait of one of the medieval world's most magnetic figures, Thomas Becket breathes new life into its subject--cementing for all time his place as an enduring icon of resistance to the abuse of power.From the Hardcover edition.
Basically covers the reigns of Henry VIII throough the death of Queen Elizabeth I with background leading up to this era.
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