Thomas Cromwell is one of the most famous - or notorious - figures in English history. Born in obscurity in Putney, he became a fixer for Cardinal Wolsey in the 1520s and remained intensely loyal to his memory even when Wolsey had fallen for failing to solve Henry VIII's 'Great Matter' - lack of a male heir and efforts to repudiate his wife Katherine of Aragon. Henry too appreciated Cromwell's talent and promoted him to a series of ever greater offices, such that in the 1530s he was effectively running the country for the King.
Diarmaid MacCulloch is Professor of the History of the Church at Oxford and a Fellow of St Cross College, Oxford. His Thomas Cranmer (1996) won the Whitbread Biography Award, the James Tait Black Prize and the Duff Cooper Prize; Reformation- Europe's House Divided (2003) won the Wolfson Prize for History and the British Academy Book Prize. A History of Christianity- The First Three Thousand Years and the BBC television series based on it appeared in 2009; the book won the Cundill Prize, the world's largest history prize, in 2010. His television series How God Made the English aired on BBC2 in March 2012. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and was knighted in the New Year's Honours List of 2012.
Sir Diarmaid MacCulloch is one of finest historians in the English-speaking world and preeminent in the area of the English Reformation. He has combined his expertise in 16th-century history with a compelling literary style in his latest book ... the definitive work on Henry VIII's great minister and an extraordinary insight into the politics and religion of the age, and of any age for that matter. Thomas Cromwell's somewhat dark reputation was given a new and bright shine by Hilary Mantel in the Wolf Hall trilogy and this life takes us from the fictional into the authentic; its triumph is that it is just as thrilling and equally stimulating and challenging. A profoundly important book.-- Rev. Michael Coren * Spectator *