A delightful story of intrigue and manipulation that shows how Henry really couldn’t control his kingdom.

THE KING IS DEAD

THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF HENRY VIII

Lipscomb (A Journey Through Tudor England: Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London to Stratford-upon-Avon and Thornbury Castle, 2015, etc.) shows Henry VIII’s attempt to continue control over both church and state.

His last will, signed a month before his death, set forth the steps of succession beginning with his son, Edward. After arranging for possible children of his current and any future wives, he pronounced first Mary, then Elizabeth to be the next successors. In naming his son, he also stipulated that Edward’s heirs, or named successors, were primary. In another scenario, instead of naming the heirs of his sister, Margaret, he skipped to the heirs of the daughter of his sister, Mary: Frances Grey—i.e. Lady Jane Grey. In the 1540s, after war with the Scots, Henry arranged with Marie de Guise, James V’s widow, to wed her infant daughter Mary to his son Edward. However, de Guise had bigger plans for her daughter in France and renounced the match. Henry never forgave a slight, so Mary Queen of Scots was left out of the succession plans. Another of Henry’s stipulations was that Masses should be said for his soul. This was particularly artful, as he had dissolved monasteries whose members prayed for souls. Hedging his bets, Henry still left land and revenues for Masses and prayers to ensure his place in heaven. He designated more than a dozen executors and regents in hopes the transfer of power would be smooth. The author, who shows her deep knowledge of the Tudor period throughout the book, rejects the many charges that Henry’s will might have been changed or altered or that undue influence was used. It was treason to even suggest that the king might die. Afterward, the story was completely different, with Edward Seymour and Chief Secretary William Paget seizing control of the Regency and the kingdom.

A delightful story of intrigue and manipulation that shows how Henry really couldn’t control his kingdom.

Pub Date: Dec. 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68-177254-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

Did you like this book?

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

more