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The King's Reformation


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About the Author

G.W. Bernard is professor of early modern history at the University of Southampton. His books include Power and Politics in Tudor England.


Bernard (history, Univ. of Southampton, England; Power and Politics in Tudor England) calls into question the view long held by historians that Henry VIII was a weak king manipulated by his counselors into breaking with Rome and grabbing up the wealth of the Church in England. Bernard reassesses the written material on the break with Rome, showing that Henry got what he wanted by controlling opposition and manipulating his supporters. Henry wanted a male heir with Anne Boleyn, but he also wanted to reform the Church-though he did not support Martin Luther's or Ulrich Zwingli's ideas. In his conclusion, Bernard writes, "So successfully did Henry maintain his `deniability' that many historians have been taken in." His book, presenting a king firmly in charge of religious policy, strongly supports this thesis, with numerous quotes and an extensive bibliography. Recommended for academic, theological, and public libraries.-Br. Benet Exton, St. Gregory's Univ., Shawnee, OK Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"'This is a brave book, tilting at many windmills, challenging many received ideas. It will certainly stimulate discussion... Everyone interested in the Tudor Reformation will therefore want to read this book.' Eamon Duffy, The Tablet 'If Bernard fails to turn consensus around, it will not bother him too much. Throughout this massively learned book, as in much of his other writing, he is the only one in step... Bernard strikes out on his own, and sees Henry as the guiding light through all this encircling gloom.' Patrick Collinson, London Review of Books 'A model of meticulous research' Alastair Hamilton, Times Literary Supplement 'Professor Bernard writes in elegant trenchant English. He orders a mass of material with lucidity... This massive history, the fruit of a lifetime of research and reflection, is a work of exceptional interest and importance.' The Spectator 'A bold and strikingly original book.' Andrew Pettegree, History Today '... the book is a superb achievement. It advances an extraordinarily skilled understanding of the intricate relationship of religious belief, religious life, political necessity and political opposition. It will infuriate a great many people, but inspire a great many more.' Lucy Wooding, Literary Review"

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