The Life and Rule of England's NeroBook - 2013
A compelling and groundbreaking study of Henry VIII as a deeply flawed individual, this book vigorously challenges old assumptions and new interpretations alike
Tudor historian John Matusiak paints an absorbingly intimate portrait of a man wholly unfit for power: his personality, his beliefs, his relationships, his follies, his hollow triumphs, and his bitter disappointments are all on full display in this biography. This is by no means yet another account of the "old monster" and his dealings. The "monster" displayed here is, at the very least, a newer type, more beset by anxieties and insecurities, and more tightly surrounded than ever by those who equated loyalty with fear, self-interest, and blind obedience. This compelling and groundbreaking book also demonstrates that Henry VIII's priorities were always primarily martial rather than marital, and accepts neither the necessity of his all-consuming quest for a male heir nor his need ultimately to sever ties with Rome. As the story unfolds, Henry's predicaments prove largely of his own making, the paths he chose neither the only nor the best available. For Henry VIII was not only a bad man, but also a bad ruler who failed to achieve his aims and blighted the reigns of his two immediate successors.