THOMAS CROMWELL: A Revolutionary Life

THOMAS CROMWELL: A Revolutionary Life

DIARMAID MACCULLOCH    Book Number: 88796    Product format: Hardback

Diarmaid MacCulloch's superb biography is a masterpiece of detailed research, new insights and gripping readability. Henry VIII's right hand man was a complex character, and the book takes a new angle on his part in Anne Boleyn's downfall, challenging the assumption that they were natural allies as fellow-Protestants. Anne was an implacable enemy of Cromwell's patron, Cardinal Wolsey, because he resisted Henry's divorce from his first wife, Katherine of Aragon. After Wolsey's death Cromwell did all he could to procure the divorce and the break of the English Church from Rome, but he did not forgive Anne and when the time came he collected evidence of Anne's infidelity, at least some of it fabricated, to present to Henry. A key witness against Anne was Cromwell's secretary Thomas Wriothesley, who later turned against his master. Cromwell is often credited with being the prime mover of the dissolution of the monasteries, but in fact the process was begun under Wolsey, and Cromwell preferred to dissolve only the houses where there was demonstrable corruption and superstition, encouraging others to move towards academic status as colleges. MacCulloch recounts in detail Cromwell's involvement in the Pilgrimage of Grace and its brutal termination, and argues that Cromwell was covertly moving the English church in the direction of Swiss Protestantism based in Zurich. Cromwell's own downfall followed on the failure of Henry to consummate his marriage with Anne of Cleves, which he confided to Cromwell and which Cromwell injudiciously passed on to the faithless Wriothesley, made Henry a laughing stock at court. The fact that Cromwell's son Gregory had married the sister of Queen Jane Seymour may have contributed to Henry's unease. Thomas Cromwell has become a vivid personality to the reading public following the publication of Hilary Mantel's acclaimed trilogy of novels, and this brilliant book supplies a wealth of background. 728pp, colour photos. Remainder mark.
Published price: £30
Bibliophile price: £8.50

Additional product information

ISBN 9780670025572
Browse these categories as well: Historical Biography, History

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