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The House of Dudley: A New History of Tudor England

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Told for the very first time, this is the shocking and extraordinary story of the most-conniving and manipulative Tudor family you've never heard of - the dashing and daring Dudleys . . .________ Each Tudor monarch made their name with a Dudley by their side - or by crushing one beneath their feet . . . The Dudleys thrived at the court of Henry VII, but were sacrificed t Told for the very first time, this is the shocking and extraordinary story of the most-conniving and manipulative Tudor family you've never heard of - the dashing and daring Dudleys . . .________ Each Tudor monarch made their name with a Dudley by their side - or by crushing one beneath their feet . . . The Dudleys thrived at the court of Henry VII, but were sacrificed to the popularity of Henry VIII. Rising to prominence in the reign of Edward VI, the Dudleys lost it all by advancing Jane Grey to the throne over Mary I. That was until the reign of Elizabeth I, when the family were once again at the centre of power, and would do anything to remain there . . . With three generations of felled favourites, what was it that caused this family to keep rising so high and falling so low? Here, for the first time, is the story of England's Borgias, a noble house competing in the murderous game of musical chairs around the English throne. Witness cunning, adultery and sheer audacity from history's most brilliant, bold and skulduggerous family. Welcome to the House of Dudley.


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Told for the very first time, this is the shocking and extraordinary story of the most-conniving and manipulative Tudor family you've never heard of - the dashing and daring Dudleys . . .________ Each Tudor monarch made their name with a Dudley by their side - or by crushing one beneath their feet . . . The Dudleys thrived at the court of Henry VII, but were sacrificed t Told for the very first time, this is the shocking and extraordinary story of the most-conniving and manipulative Tudor family you've never heard of - the dashing and daring Dudleys . . .________ Each Tudor monarch made their name with a Dudley by their side - or by crushing one beneath their feet . . . The Dudleys thrived at the court of Henry VII, but were sacrificed to the popularity of Henry VIII. Rising to prominence in the reign of Edward VI, the Dudleys lost it all by advancing Jane Grey to the throne over Mary I. That was until the reign of Elizabeth I, when the family were once again at the centre of power, and would do anything to remain there . . . With three generations of felled favourites, what was it that caused this family to keep rising so high and falling so low? Here, for the first time, is the story of England's Borgias, a noble house competing in the murderous game of musical chairs around the English throne. Witness cunning, adultery and sheer audacity from history's most brilliant, bold and skulduggerous family. Welcome to the House of Dudley.

30 review for The House of Dudley: A New History of Tudor England

  1. 4 out of 5

    Beata

    An absolute gem among books on historic figures! The history of three generations of the Dudleys driven by ambition and the will to survive despite traitor trait. Edmund, with rather humble beginnings, filling coffers for Henry VII and executed by his heir, John elevated and executed for alleged treason, and Robert, a real survivor and favourite to Elizabeth I, and her true love, who died without a boy to continue his line. This Dudley is best-remembered for his close relationship to the queen an An absolute gem among books on historic figures! The history of three generations of the Dudleys driven by ambition and the will to survive despite traitor trait. Edmund, with rather humble beginnings, filling coffers for Henry VII and executed by his heir, John elevated and executed for alleged treason, and Robert, a real survivor and favourite to Elizabeth I, and her true love, who died without a boy to continue his line. This Dudley is best-remembered for his close relationship to the queen and the ability to manouvre at the court. The House of Dudley grew in power and dominance, extended their connections through marriage and intrigue, and remained one of the most fascinating English families. Ms Paul writes in an engaging way, no gossips, sentimental or romantic traces to be found, just facts supported by historic documents. I loved her clear explanations and the way she took me through one hundred years and scores of names.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kara

    An extremely well written biography of the Tudor aristocratic family of the Dudley’s. Without blurring into fiction, Joanne Paul uses the facts of the primary sources to engrossingly describe the everyday lives of this family, track the marriages, births, deaths, highs and lows, and the history becomes a political thriller with almost endless twists and turns, as engaging as any primetime drama. The main members of the family the book follows are: Edmund Dudley, a ruthless tax collector who ignor An extremely well written biography of the Tudor aristocratic family of the Dudley’s. Without blurring into fiction, Joanne Paul uses the facts of the primary sources to engrossingly describe the everyday lives of this family, track the marriages, births, deaths, highs and lows, and the history becomes a political thriller with almost endless twists and turns, as engaging as any primetime drama. The main members of the family the book follows are: Edmund Dudley, a ruthless tax collector who ignored the law to fill his and the king’s coffers. The judicial blackmail and extortion he pulled was horrific – even by Tudor standards. He then learned the hard way what happens when your only protection is the king – and that king dies. John Dudley, growing up under the shadow of his father’s disgrace, takes full advantage of having a front row seat to watching the various political players of the day at work, and nimbly making sure he was always part of #TeamCurrentQueen. He also wisely shadows the highly successful Edward Seymour – and then maneuvers around him to be the most powerful member of the boy king’s council. When Edward VI dies young, John’s plans promptly blow up in his face, as high risk / high reward plans often do. Next the focus gradually sharpens on Robert Dudley. John Dudley had 8 sons, but treason, disease and war whittled them down to 2 by the time Elizabeth I came to the throne, and middle child Robert came to forefront, spending the rest of his life in service to his queen. And its touch and go throughout if he dies on the block, in battle, or in his bed. A fascinating reexamination of the Tudor era through the lens of this highly ambitious family. Keep the family tree charts handy to keep track of all the interrelationships!

  3. 4 out of 5

    MR J

    This is a fascinating and detailed dive into the history of one of the most notorious families in the Tudor era. Paul has researched the dynasty thoroughly and it really shows as she is able to pick out details and characterisations drawn from primary sources that bring much colour and verve to the cast. By weaving together themes and motifs across a five act structure the book takes on the feeling of a great epic. A stellar effort and well worth a look, especially for anyone interested in an al This is a fascinating and detailed dive into the history of one of the most notorious families in the Tudor era. Paul has researched the dynasty thoroughly and it really shows as she is able to pick out details and characterisations drawn from primary sources that bring much colour and verve to the cast. By weaving together themes and motifs across a five act structure the book takes on the feeling of a great epic. A stellar effort and well worth a look, especially for anyone interested in an alternate take on Tudor history. The only drawback is just as you're getting to like a character they get their head chopped off!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alice Jackman

    I thoroughly enjoyed this history of the Dudley family. I’m a huge Tudor nerd and feel like I’ve read so much fiction AND non-fiction about this era so a new perspective was both welcome and fascinating- reigniting my nerdiness. The Dudley name has always conjured images of Joseph Fiennes in the film, Elizabeth: a dashing rogue in breeches. This book really made me consider him as more than a two dimensional love interest. Additionally, I enjoyed the author’s acknowledgment of the female Dudleys I thoroughly enjoyed this history of the Dudley family. I’m a huge Tudor nerd and feel like I’ve read so much fiction AND non-fiction about this era so a new perspective was both welcome and fascinating- reigniting my nerdiness. The Dudley name has always conjured images of Joseph Fiennes in the film, Elizabeth: a dashing rogue in breeches. This book really made me consider him as more than a two dimensional love interest. Additionally, I enjoyed the author’s acknowledgment of the female Dudleys’ importance in their family legacy. The narrative style employed by the author works well and I’m excited to see what she writes next.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Heidi Malagisi

    When we think about the Tudor dynasty, we think about the monarchs who made the dynasty, but we also pay attention to those around the king or queen who sat on the throne. There were families like the Boleyns, the Howards, and the Seymours who stood on the sidelines for a short amount of time, but one family saw the majority of the dynasty through highs and extreme lows. The Dudleys have been seen as a power-hungry family who would do anything to sit on the throne of England, but is there more t When we think about the Tudor dynasty, we think about the monarchs who made the dynasty, but we also pay attention to those around the king or queen who sat on the throne. There were families like the Boleyns, the Howards, and the Seymours who stood on the sidelines for a short amount of time, but one family saw the majority of the dynasty through highs and extreme lows. The Dudleys have been seen as a power-hungry family who would do anything to sit on the throne of England, but is there more to their story? In her debut book, “The House of Dudley: A New History of Tudor England,” Joanne Paul explores the lives of this extraordinary family to find the truth about their ambitions and their resilience. This is one of those titles that I heard about from friends online, and I wanted to check it out for myself. I have followed Joanne Paul for a while now, and when I heard about her first book, I knew I wanted to read it. Paul begins her biography about the Dudleys with the funeral of Anne Dudley, the first wife of Edmund Dudley, which occurred around the same time as the death of Elizabeth of York. Edmund Dudley would go to serve as King Henry VII’s principal tax collector, which would prove beneficial to his family and the king even if he did use underhanded methods to collect the money from taxpayers. Edmund’s strategies were so ruthless that he didn’t survive long after the death of Henry VII as his son Henry VIII had him executed for treason, leaving his young son John as the heir to the Dudley name, which was now tainted with scandals. John Dudley took the lessons from his father’s dramatic downfall and applied them to his own life. It is how he survived the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI and earned his position as one of the most influential men in the kingdom, as the Duke of Warwick. He held influence in Edward VI’s regency council, so much so that when it came time for Edward VI to name an heir, he named John Dudley’s daughter-in-law, Lady Jane Grey, the wife of Guildford Dudley, as his heir. The issue was this put the Dudleys in danger as Mary I marched towards the throne. There was no room for negotiations with Mary as she saw the Dudleys as a threat that must be eliminated through the executions of John, Guildford, and Lady Jane Grey. For the remaining members of the Dudley family, the key to surviving Mary’s reign was to stay safe and make sure they had good allies, like King Philip II of Spain, Mary’s husband. With Queen Mary’s death and the rise of Queen Elizabeth I, the Dudleys were once again in the spotlight. The suave and debonair Master of the Horse, Robert Dudley, had captured the heart of the young queen, but the problem was Robert was married to Amy Robsart. Unfortunately, Amy dies under mysterious circumstances, leaving it open for the possibility of Robert and Elizabeth to wed, but it never happens. A dazzling debut of the tragedies and triumphs of one family, “The House of Dudley: A New History of Tudor England” by Joanne Paul is one of my favorite new releases of this year so far, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

  6. 4 out of 5

    S.C. Skillman

    This is an incredibly detailed view of Tudor England from the point of view of one family, the Dudleys. I felt I was there with them, seeing it all through their eyes, just like I had felt when reading Hilary Mantel's Thomas Cromwell trilogy. It's all here: the peril of childbirth, the sorrow of high child mortality, the desperate striving for power and position and influence, the sheer insecurity of living your life trying to ward off deadly diseases, using the best knowledge and understanding This is an incredibly detailed view of Tudor England from the point of view of one family, the Dudleys. I felt I was there with them, seeing it all through their eyes, just like I had felt when reading Hilary Mantel's Thomas Cromwell trilogy. It's all here: the peril of childbirth, the sorrow of high child mortality, the desperate striving for power and position and influence, the sheer insecurity of living your life trying to ward off deadly diseases, using the best knowledge and understanding you have at the time; your hopes and fears, joys and delights. Through it all is woven the ultimate so-often-doomed hope, of continuing your name through healthy male offspring who will live to adulthood. Robert Dudley failed to do that, yet his name is very well remembered especially in Warwick and Kenilworth today, where I live. The author gives intensely vivid accounts of the horrors of some of the diseases; of the savagery of wars and massacres, the intensity of religious fervour, of the sheer magnificence and wealth and extravagance of the Tudor Court in their times of celebration and festivity. We feel the extremes of their lives: hopes raised high, and the familiarity of despair when those same hopes are crushed. The ever-present vulnerability to diseases like dysentery, smallpox, influenza and tuberculosis, I believe, made them much more likely to live their lives on the edge. In fact, a clean death by beheading was a whole sight better than dying of dysentery, I reckon. That's probably why so many were willing to risk it, to make a bid for power. The extravagance of the Tudor court emphasised their supreme position on the social pyramid: achieved only through vast expenses concentrated at the top. In the Tudor court dresses, great beauty was achieved at high expense which can now for us in our times of mass production, be easily achieved at a fraction of the cost. An example would be the use of satin, silk and velvet, so precious and unattainable then to so many: and also the use of cloth of silver and cloth of gold. That for them represented huge extravagance but for now that same glorious effect could be easily replicated through the use of gold and silver lame. Reading this book gave me a much deeper understanding of how the Tudors thought and felt, and the exact nature of the emotional, political, spiritual and psychological stakes by which they lived their lives. It made me reflect, too, how of all advances in human society, I believe medical knowledge reigns supreme in transforming our lives. It is said that throughout human history more lives have been lost to disease than to war and in fact pandemics define the story of mankind more than anything else.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rebecc

    Joanne Paul's book is an impressive achievement. She is interested in the (in)famous Dudley family & this book charts their rise & fall from Henry VII to Elizabeth through various family members, but of course looking in depth at Robert Dudley the Queen's favourite. Even for those readers that think they know a lot about this period & personalities Joanne Paul finds new perspectives & nuggets of information & is especially good at the familial alliances & clarifying the various title acquisition Joanne Paul's book is an impressive achievement. She is interested in the (in)famous Dudley family & this book charts their rise & fall from Henry VII to Elizabeth through various family members, but of course looking in depth at Robert Dudley the Queen's favourite. Even for those readers that think they know a lot about this period & personalities Joanne Paul finds new perspectives & nuggets of information & is especially good at the familial alliances & clarifying the various title acquisitions & timelines. I also enjoyed seeing the women's lives explored (& that's no mean feat when the archives must be somewhat bare in this respect), but it's clear that the women were educated & influential particularly when called upon to rescue their menfolk from their own machinations. Kudos to for the extensive list of personalities at the back of the book which is handy for delineating the many important people in a few sentences. Brilliant & highly recommended.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Helen Carolan

    You can easily tell this was written by an academic lecturer as it's long winded confusing and very boring. I couldn't finish this one and am disappointed as this is a family I was looking forward to reading more about. Disappointing. You can easily tell this was written by an academic lecturer as it's long winded confusing and very boring. I couldn't finish this one and am disappointed as this is a family I was looking forward to reading more about. Disappointing.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Keely

    3.7

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rob Sculthorpe

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  12. 4 out of 5

    roger f harrison

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Denton

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mrs G R Manning

  15. 4 out of 5

    Antonia Williamson

  16. 5 out of 5

    Linda

  17. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  20. 5 out of 5

    Charlie Fenton

  21. 4 out of 5

    gill carrick

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lynne

  23. 4 out of 5

    Stacey Wilcox

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tamise Hills

  25. 4 out of 5

    Anna

  26. 4 out of 5

    Emma Lake

  27. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Harding

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alison Hamblin

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jo Wheater

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