Thursday, October 13, 2011

Book Review - The Tudors

I'm a sucker for a good historical novel, or pretty much anything history related.  If I weren't a Spanish teacher, I'd probably be a social studies teacher.  I've also been known to go off on the Mexican (or Spanish or South American) history tangent in my class from time to time.

When they began replaying all of the episodes of "The Tudors" TV shows on BBC America, I was hooked.  I DVRed all of them, and over the course of a couple of months worth of nighttime feedings, I watched the whole series.  That was last spring, so I was still Tudors-obsessed at my birthday in June.  M got me The Tudors by G.J. Meyer as a present (along with Bossypants by Tina Fey, which I reviewed here).

The Tudors is incredibly informative and detailed.  I was amazed by the depth of the author's description of the royal family and all of its foibles, and also by his wonderful illustration of the times in which the Tudors lived.  In between each chapter of historical narrative, he depicts an aspect of daily life for either the royals, nobility, or the commoners in 16th century England, such as the role of religion in their lives, or even what they ate.

While it was very interesting, at times, the amount of detail was overwhelming.  The historical chapters had the tendency of reading as a textbook.  There is a reason I'm writing this review now: I began the book at the end of June, and just finished it at the end of September; it was a slow read.  I'm not sure that this could have been avoided.  All of the detailed are necessary to understanding how much England was changed by these 5 rulers, whose total reign spanned only a century and a half.

The "in-between" chapters with their focus on daily life in the 1500s were the highlight of the book for me.  I would recommend The Tudors to anyone who is very interested in this time period, or in royal history.  Someone with only a slight interest may be bogged down by the amount of detail included in the book.

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