Read The Autobiography of Henry VIII with Notes by His Fool, Will Somers by Margaret George Free Online
Book Title: The Autobiography of Henry VIII with Notes by His Fool, Will Somers|
The size of the: 7.44 MB
Edition: Ballantine Books
Date of issue: August 12th 1987
ISBN 13: 9780345342751
The author of the book: Margaret George
Format files: PDF
Read full description of the books:The way I felt about this book was perhaps much like Henry VIII felt about one of his doomed wives. At first I was entranced, captivated, under a spell of sorts - I couldn't put the book down. However, about halfway through the honeymoon was over (so to speak), and I began to be annoyed at the little things... This was perhaps not the match made in heaven that I thought it was. Perhaps I had been led atray. By the end there was nothing but the most urgent desire to be done with it - let it die already, I'm finished, I want to move on, perhaps even a feeling of violence existed towards the book - I even already had my next reading choice picked out (dare I say that, like Henry, I too could not wait until one "marriage" was over before I was dallying elsewhere?)... Yet after it was all over and I had moved on, I still found myself looking back with fond memories and a feeling of love that I had thought lost by the end of the book...
I think you get the point. George's novel is a masterpiece of history, certainly. She has captured ALL of Henry VIII's life in her 932 page tome. And perhaps that's the problem - right along with the interesting came the dull, the mundane, the repetitive... There is always an interesting thing to consider when reading historical fiction - how much history and how much fiction? I appreciate what George has done, certainly, but for me it's always the fiction part I love, whereas George is more history I think. Give me intrigue, give me drama, give me passion, and anger, and love, and hate. Give me all of that even if it isn't all exactly as it should have been. I think I prefer Philippa Gregory, even with her bastardized history, as opposed to Margaret George with her flawless accounting.
And if you think this review is long, consider the fact that the book took me over a WEEK to read! For those of you who know me, that in and of itself is a sad commentary on it's compelling nature. I would recommend this novel only to the most dedicated historical fiction and Tudor history buffs.
Read information about the authorMargaret George is a rolling stone who has lived in many places, beginning her traveling at the age of four when her father joined the U.S. diplomatic service and was posted to a consulate in Taiwan. The family traveled on a freighter named after Ulysses' son Telemachus that took thirty days to reach Taiwan, where they spent two years. Following that they lived in Tel Aviv (right after the 1948 war, when it was relatively quiet), Bonn and Berlin (during the spy-and-Cold-War days) before returning--at the height of Elvis-mania--to Washington DC, where Margaret went to high school. Margaret's first piece of published writing, at the age of thirteen, was a letter to TIME Magazine defending Elvis against his detractors. (Margaret has since been to Graceland.)
But it was earlier in Israel that Margaret, an avid reader, began writing novels to amuse herself when she ran out of books to read. Interestingly, the subject of these was not what lay around her in the Middle East, but the American west, which she had never set foot in. (Now that she lives in the American Midwest she writes about the Middle East!) Clearly writing in her case followed Emily Dickinson's observation "There is no frigate like a book" and she used it to go to faraway places. Now she has added another dimension to that travel by specializing in visiting times remote from herself.
Neither of these horse sagas got published, but the ten-year-old author received an encouraging note from an editor at Grosset & Dunlap, telling her she had a budding talent but should work on her spelling.
It was also in Israel that Margaret started keeping land tortoises as pets, an interest which she still follows today. She had a great affinity for animals and nature and that led her to a double major at Tufts University in English literature and biology. Following that she received an MA in ecology from Stanford University--one of the earliest departments to offer such a concentration. Today she is active in environmental and animal conservation groups.
Combining her interests led her to a position as a science writer at the National Cancer Institute (National Institutes of Health) in Bethesda, Maryland for four years.
Her marriage at the end of that time meant moving, first to St. Louis, then to Uppsala, Sweden, and then to Madison, Wisconsin, where she and her husband Paul have lived for more than twenty years now. They have one grown daughter who lives in California and is in graduate school.
Through all this Margaret continued to write, albeit slowly and always on only one project at a time. She wrote what she refers to as her 'Ayn Rand/adventure novel' in college and her 'Sex and the City' novel in Washington DC. It was in St. Louis that she suddenly got the idea of writing a 'psycho-biography' of Henry VIII. She had never seen such a thing done but became convinced the king was a victim of bad PR and she should rescue his good name. Her background in science meant that only after thoroughly researching the literature and scholarship on Henry VIII would she embark on the novel itself. She sought the guidance of a Tudor historian at Washington University for a reading list, and proceeded from there.
It was actually fourteen years between her initial idea and the publication of The Autobiography of Henry VIII. The book made an impression for several reasons: first, because no one had ever written a novel sympathetic to the king before; second, because it covered his entire life from before birth until after his death, making it almost a thousand pages long, and third, because it was so fact-filled.
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