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In the political ferment of 16th-century England, one family above all others was at the troubled center of court and council. Throughout the Tudor Age the Dudley family was never far from controversy. They were universally condemned as scheming, ruthless, overly ambitious charmers, with three family members even executed for treason. Yet at the opposite extreme of the speIn the political ferment of 16th-century England, one family above all others was at the troubled center of court and council. Throughout the Tudor Age the Dudley family was never far from controversy. They were universally condemned as scheming, ruthless, overly ambitious charmers, with three family members even executed for treason. Yet at the opposite extreme of the spectrum, Edmund Dudley was instrumental in establishing the financial basis of the Tudor dynasty, while John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, led victorious armies, laid the foundations of the Royal Navy, ruled as uncrowned king, and almost landed on the throne. Written by award-winning historian, Derek Wilson, The Uncrowned Kings of England charts the scandals and triumphs of this legendary clan. Foremost among the family, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, was Queen Elizabeth's favorite for 30 years (and came the closest to marrying her), and governed the Netherlands in her name. His successor, Sir Robert Dudley, scholar, adventurer, and courtier, was one of the Queen's most audacious seadogs in the closing years of her reign, but fell foul of James I. The fortunes of this astonishing family rose and fell with those of the royal line they served faithfully through a tumultuous century....

Title : The Uncrowned Kings of England: The Black History of the Dudleys and the Tudor Throne
Author :
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ISBN : 9780786714698
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 352 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Uncrowned Kings of England: The Black History of the Dudleys and the Tudor Throne Reviews

  • Charity
    2019-05-29 02:41

    I'm starting to form a pet peeve: historians who mention someone's name in conjunction with a title ONCE and then expect you to remember, and go on to address that person by their title rather than their name, thereafter. Since titles came and went with frequency in Tudor England (various and sundry individuals bereft of head and all that goes with it)... it can be confusing. This book commits that sin.Otherwise, it's quite good. Well, with one enormous irony that becomes a misstep, but I'll discuss that later.The conclusions drawn here are thus:1st Dudley: scheming ambitious mini-tyrant, given free rein under Henry VII. (From other research, I agree.) Executed as a scapegoat. Again, agreed. Rather unfairly, too, all things considering. And then I remember the Thomas Sunnyff affair* (not mentioned herein; I found that gem in "The Winter King") and think... maybe Dudley wasn't so innocent after all.2nd Dudley: scheming but less politically savvy than his father. I actually found this section more interesting, because there's not much floating around out there about Guilford Dudley (Lady Jane's husband, and this Dudley's son). One of the best tidbits is how his hesitation in moving against Princess Mary led her to practically march into London undeterred at the head of an enormous army. Again, scapegoated. This one seems even more of an injustice, really. He was simply following the dead King Edward's orders.(The wee section devoted to little Edward further convinces me he was a militant Protestant tyrant in the making. He may have taken after his grandfather, in terms of detachment, but I suspect he would have been a brutal, ruthless monarch, intent on persecuting Catholics. Still, the section on Dudley trying to force Princess Mary to give up her old prayer book, only to retreat in haste after she complained to the Emperor, who dropped hints about Edward needing better councilors than Dudley, cracked me up. I literally snorted my tea.) 3rd Dudley: This one, I feel sorry for. Elizabeth jerked him around a lot. Still, there's a lot of questions hanging over the death of his wife -- who mysteriously was found with a broken neck at the foot of a SHALLOW set of stairs. The author can't quite convince me Dudley had nothing to do with it. Pros: lots of details!Cons: lots of details!Finally, my nitpick:There's Something About Mary that doesn't add up. How she went from being a glorified, adored monarch to a loathed tyrant in a matter of months doesn't make sense. It smells of historical revisionism during Elizabeth's reign. It stinks of John Fox's "History of Martyrs" influencing public opinion after the fact. And this author falls for the same old story. There's no question Mary burned nearly 300 Protestants at the stake. She did. What I question is whether or not it made her unpopular, since burnings were fairly common throughout Europe. Many Churches HAPPILY went back to Catholicism voluntarily as soon as she took power. The burnings SEEMED to be as much in response to political activism (preaching against her / the throne / encouraging Protestant uprisings) as individual heretical punishments. I have no doubt the Protestant faction hated and feared her; I also suspect the sizable Catholic faction was behind her, regardless. That is beside the point -- the bottom line is this: the author paints a deeply unflattering, biased portrait of Mary, reducing her reign to the burnings (never mind that she set policies that Elizabeth benefited from later), then two pages later reminds the reader of Elizabeth's historians' tendency to "rewrite" history to cast Elizabeth in a more favorable light -- it seems the author doesn't consider that the very "history" he's relating, pertaining to Mary, may have been tampered with. Still, it's a minor quibble and there's quite a lot here worth reading.* Dudley participated in framing Thomas Sunnyff, a wealthy merchant, for murder, arrested him and his wife, threw them in the Tower, then refused to bring them to trial. He released Sunnyff's wife, but held Sunnyff ransom for 500 pounds (consider this: a farmer earned a pound a year) for over a year. It was extortion, pure and simple. This sort of thing was COMMON in Tudor England under Henry VII, which makes "Dudley is an innocent scapegoat, and only following the king's orders" a hard sell.

  • Sarah Wagner
    2019-05-31 09:54

    A good look at the Tudor dynasty through the eyes of their loyal servants - the Dudley family. Derek Wilson examines both the well-known and lesser-known members of this remarkable 16th-century family and emphasizes the loyalty they displayed towards the Tudors, rather than the self-interest they have been reviled for. A fresh view that brings in lesser-known figures. Good reading for those interested in the period.

  • Maryann MJS1228
    2019-05-23 05:31

    What most history fans know about the Dudleys comes from their supporting roles in the stories of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Jane Grey and Elizabeth I. To put it mildly, they have not been overburdened with good press. Wilson does his best to rescue the Dudleys from their "Black Legend" and in some regards succeeds. While I can't entirely accept his assertions that Northumberland did not plot to have his son crowned king through Jane Grey, Wilson's depiction of Robert Dudley as a wise advisor to Elizabeth I instead of a 16th Century boytoy is convincing.Like an increasing number of nonfiction books, this one could use a bit more time with a copy editor. One Dudley has "died in the wool" beliefs and Margaret Tudor has only one heir instead of two. Minor quibbles but annoying nonetheless.Definitely an entertaining, informative book for Tudor history buffs.

  • Helene Harrison
    2019-05-21 02:30

    Review - An interesting study on one of the most powerful dynasties of the Tudor era. Edmund Dudley was an advisor to Henry VII, John Dudley Duke of Northumberland was protector to Edward VI and Robert Dudley was the favourite of Elizabeth I who, it was rumoured, she would marry. The discussion over the hundred years was very interesting to see how power stays in families and how families go up and down.General Subject/s? - History / TudorsRecommend? – YesRating - 17/20

  • Jen
    2019-05-29 08:49

    This is what happens when I'm home with a cold/ear infection: I read a lot. And since I couldn't hear anything, it was either books I owned or on my nook.This book followed the Dudley family through four generations of power--admittedly the last generation was kinda loser.Derek Wilson is an excellent writer/storyteller. And he makes coherent and upfront arguments on why we should reexamine the Dudley family's reputation without making any grand apologies about their darker moments (Robert certainly loved those "secret marriages"). He also defends them in an upfront manner that I found refreshing--"This is why I think..." No hiding behind stuff for Derek!The book itself is intriguing just on the basis of the subject matter. One family, two beheadings, one unofficial consort. Not bad going really. Especially considering that they were at best of "yeoman stock." (By the way, that may be my favorite new insult to bandy about. "You are of yeoman stock." Yeoman is just fun to say. Yeoman. Yeoman. Yeoman. Okay now it's looking weird. I need to check my spelling...yep, I'm fine.)The pace does drag at times, but picks up when you get to Robert Dudley, because, let's face it, he's the fun one. However, I think I most enjoyed learning about John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland. Although I can't say I completely agree with Wilson's analysis without further reading, I did find it enlightening and made me reconsider some of my probably-media-based prejudice against him. (I find it funny that I can have prejudice against a guy who has been dead 400+ years.)Definitely for the Tudor-enthusiast.

  • Kari
    2019-06-06 09:58

    An interesting exploration of the lives of the influential male line of the Dudley family during the Tudor period. Derek Wilson demonstrates the unwavering loyalty these men possessed for their sovereign and the sometimes unjust reputation that has been given to them over the decades for remaining loyal even when it was to the detriment of their own reputation. Wilson shows that because the sovereign could never been openly criticised or blamed for unpopular policies and decisions, the blame instead fell to those closest to the monarch who were charged with carrying out these orders. They became scapegoats and the focus for people's anger and frustration at the government. At times Wilson strays from the Dudley's and cannot help but tell the story of a key, well known event despite a Dudley not directly being involved. This does not affect the book significantly as Wilson soon returns the story back to the Dudley's, showing his passion and detailed research for this fascinating family.

  • Joanna
    2019-05-19 10:36

    Sir Robert Dudley is most famous for being the consort in all but name to Queen Elizabeth I. His family history, long entwined with the rise and fall of the Tudor dynasty, makes dark and fascinating reading. This book attempts to shatter the Dudleys' reputation as scheming, greedy and power-hungry, although numerous typographical errors tend to diminish the impact of Wilson's historical research. The author takes a revisionist approach, flying against traditional accounts of the Dudley family. Wilson believes the Dudleys were wrongfully punished for their unswerving devotion to the Tudor monarchs, a loyalty that ultimately brought an end to the (legitimate) Dudley line. A good read that will provide a great survey of the Tudor century. Of course, I'm a little biased, being a descendant of Sir Robert Dudley, and all...

  • Serena
    2019-05-24 08:56

    Quite the apologist for the Dudleys, Derek Wilson's book covers an interesting span of history and a fascinating family. The Dudleys were always advisors and followers of the Tudors, usually to their own detriment-four generations of executions. History has been harsh to the Dudleys, and Wilson makes some very convincing arguments as to its unfairness and the reasons for it, but he does seem to bend over backwards to rectify their story.A bit heavy on the military for me, some of the gaps in the interpersonal relationshops are a bit bewildering. The fact that the woman Robert Dudley married was Queen Elizabeth's *cousin* seems like a fact worth remarking upon, no?

  • Ryan
    2019-05-29 07:55

    Utterly fascinating! Derek Wilson explores the history of the Dudley family in England during the reign of the Tudors. Not only do we get a better idea of who the Tudors were and how they ruled, we are also able to see how their decisions affected their loyal subjects. The reason this book is so amazing is because it allows the reader to experience Tudor England as an actual place and time rather than being a dreary biography of an exalted king or queen. If you are interested in English history I highly recommend this book.

  • Sonya
    2019-06-13 06:38

    An excellent work on the Dudleys. With this book, I have come to understand and appreciate their rise to power and their faults (as well as the monarchs'). However, it is not for someone who is unfamiliar with 16th century political history of England. If you want to know the details of the monarchs, their plots, and their policies, you will need to look elsewhere. The author does a good job on sticking to the Dudleys as the main focus of the work and makes the reader understand them for the people they really were - particularly their motives and their loyalty.

  • Scotchneat
    2019-06-16 07:40

    The history of the Dudley family reads a bit like an HBO movie. Tied to the Tudors across three generations, the Dudleys gained money and power, lost it, were executed, rose again...Most are familiar with Robert Dudley--said to be Elizabeth I's great love, but to see how much this family contributed to the political and financial lives of their monarchs was interesting.It's probably good to have at least some knowledge of Tudor history to follow all of the names.

  • Sue
    2019-06-08 05:50

    Hecka boring. This is about Dudleys AND everyone else around them. Very poor writing when the author has to write this word: 'Dudley' on every single page--sometimes more than once. I wanted to yellow out how many times this occurred but, alas, it was a library book. And good thing, too. Glad I didn't waste a penny on this one. ugh.

  • Karen
    2019-06-04 10:33

    I really enjoyed this book. It was an interesting look at the relationship between the Dudleys and the Tudors. Loved the excerpts from letters. So sad to see the end of the Dudley dynasty. The rivalry and intrigue in the Tudor reign and the reigns of other monarchies is fascinating.

  • Jane Walker
    2019-05-28 06:42

    It's always interesting to come at a historical period by way of the lives of people who were not the monarchs and their families. The Dudleys, as presented by Wilson in this excellent book, were powerful and influential, but ultimately were the victims of the monstrous monarchs they served.