THE KING IS DEAD

THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF HENRY VIII

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

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. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

NIGHT

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

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

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS

FROM MEAN STREETS TO WALL STREET

Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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