Thomas Cromwell: A Life (Paperback)
  • Thomas Cromwell: A Life (Paperback)
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Thomas Cromwell: A Life (Paperback)

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£12.99
Paperback 752 Pages
Published: 04/07/2019
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Waterstones Says

Acclaimed as a landmark in historical biography and an unparalleled feat of investigative research, Diarmaid MacCulloch’s life of Thomas Cromwell brings us the most exhaustive portrait yet of this hugely influential figure. Furnished with more historical detail than any previous biographer MacCulloch is able to make connections and fill in gaps that had hitherto remained tantalising mysteries, whilst presenting a compelling narrative that reads like the finest fiction. A masterpiece.

'This is the biography we have been awaiting for 400 years' - Hilary Mantel

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. After Wolsey's fall, Henry VIII promoted him to a series of ever greater offices, and by the end of the 1530s he was effectively running the country for the King. That decade was one of the most momentous in English history: it saw a religious break with the Pope, unprecedented use of parliament, the dissolution of all monasteries.

Cromwell was central to all this, but establishing his role with precision, at a distance of nearly five centuries and after the destruction of many of his papers at his own fall, has been notoriously difficult.

Diarmaid MacCulloch's biography is much the most complete and persuasive life ever written of this elusive figure, a masterclass in historical detective work, making connections not previously seen. It overturns many received interpretations, for example that Cromwell was a cynical, 'secular' politician without deep-felt religious commitment, or that he and Anne Boleyn were allies because of their common religious sympathies - in fact he destroyed her.

It introduces the many different personalities of these foundational years, all conscious of the 'terrifyingly unpredictable' Henry VIII. MacCulloch allows readers to feel that they are immersed in all this, that it is going on around them.

For a time, the self-made 'ruffian' (as he described himself) - ruthless, adept in the exercise of power, quietly determined in religious revolution - was master of events. MacCulloch's biography for the first time reveals his true place in the making of modern England and Ireland, for good and ill.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780241952337
Number of pages: 752
Weight: 548 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 32 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

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

Meticulous and magisterial ... If this is not the definitive biography, I don't know what that would look like - Peter Marshall, Literary Review

Triumphant and definitive ... a masterpiece of documentary detective-work, which buzzes with the excitement of a great historian immersed in archives - Dan Jones, Sunday Times

A model of classical historical biography at its finest - Rowan Williams, New Statesman

The definitive biography ... exhaustively researched and superbly written - Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times (Books of the Year)

The Tudor minister brought to fictional life in Wolf Hall is given a definitive scholarly treatment in this long-awaited, masterful, wry biography - Simon Heffer, Daily Telegraph (Books of the Year)

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“A brilliant history”

One of the finest histories I have ever read. As one expects from this author, the usual clearly written text, peppered with humour, and wonderful turns of phrase. You feel that the author must have been present at... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 46

“Cromwell”

Superbly written, both witty and full of insight. It reveals many sides to Cromwell - his loyalty, his grasp of situations, his shrewdness and his often care for others. This is not the self interested Machiavellian... More

Paperback edition
Helpful? Upvote 13

“Outstanding”

The depth and breadth of research is astonishing and make this surely the go-to biography of Cromwell. An erudite but completely accessible style. Highly recommended

Paperback edition
Helpful? Upvote 8

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