Monday, June 18, 2012

Winter King: Henry VII and the Dawn of Tudor England

I've read a lot of English history, just because I like that sort of stuff, but didn't know too much about the reign of Henry VII. He tends to get skipped over a lot, in favor of the fascinating complexities of the Wars of the Roses before him or the glamorous (and scandalous) years of the next Henry after him. So when I saw advance copies of this one at the PLA conference back in March, I picked one up; it was the only free book I brought home with me, since I was trying very hard to travel with only a carry-on bag in both directions.

It turns out that Henry VII's reputation for avarice was founded on some thoroughly frightening practices which also served to keep his nobles and the merchants of London in line. Powerful lords were forced to go into debt to the crown, and sell off their properties to royal favorites at knockdown prices. People were accused of awful crimes, then allowed to purchase a royal pardon. Henry himself initialed every page of every account book.

Very informative, and a well written introduction to an otherwise shadowy figure.

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