Read The Autobiography Of Henry VIII by Margaret George Online


This is the story of England's most famous, and notorious, king.Henry was a charismatic, ardent - and brash - young lover who married six times; a scholar with a deep love of poetry and music; an energetic hunter who loved the outdoors; a monarch whose lack of a male heir haunted him incessantly; and a ruthless leader who would stop at nothing to achieve his desires. His mThis is the story of England's most famous, and notorious, king.Henry was a charismatic, ardent - and brash - young lover who married six times; a scholar with a deep love of poetry and music; an energetic hunter who loved the outdoors; a monarch whose lack of a male heir haunted him incessantly; and a ruthless leader who would stop at nothing to achieve his desires. His monumental decision to split from Rome and the Catholic Church was one that would forever shape the religious and political landscape of Britain.Combining magnificent storytelling with an extraordinary grasp of the pleasures and perils of power, Margaret George delivers a vivid portrait of Henry VIII and Tudor England and the powerhouse of players on its stage: Thomas Cromwell, Cardinal Wolsey, Thomas More and Anne Boleyn. It is also a narrative told from an original perspective: Margaret George writes from the King's point of view, injecting irreverent comments from Will Somers - Henry's jester and confidant....

Title : The Autobiography Of Henry VIII
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780330298735
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 932 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Autobiography Of Henry VIII Reviews

  • Shannon
    2019-02-22 16:25

    The way I felt about this book was perhaps much like Henry VIII felt about one of his doomed wives. At first I was entranced, captivated, under a spell of sorts - I couldn't put the book down. However, about halfway through the honeymoon was over (so to speak), and I began to be annoyed at the little things... This was perhaps not the match made in heaven that I thought it was. Perhaps I had been led atray. By the end there was nothing but the most urgent desire to be done with it - let it die already, I'm finished, I want to move on, perhaps even a feeling of violence existed towards the book - I even already had my next reading choice picked out (dare I say that, like Henry, I too could not wait until one "marriage" was over before I was dallying elsewhere?)... Yet after it was all over and I had moved on, I still found myself looking back with fond memories and a feeling of love that I had thought lost by the end of the book...I think you get the point. George's novel is a masterpiece of history, certainly. She has captured ALL of Henry VIII's life in her 932 page tome. And perhaps that's the problem - right along with the interesting came the dull, the mundane, the repetitive... There is always an interesting thing to consider when reading historical fiction - how much history and how much fiction? I appreciate what George has done, certainly, but for me it's always the fiction part I love, whereas George is more history I think. Give me intrigue, give me drama, give me passion, and anger, and love, and hate. Give me all of that even if it isn't all exactly as it should have been. I think I prefer Philippa Gregory, even with her bastardized history, as opposed to Margaret George with her flawless accounting.And if you think this review is long, consider the fact that the book took me over a WEEK to read! For those of you who know me, that in and of itself is a sad commentary on it's compelling nature. I would recommend this novel only to the most dedicated historical fiction and Tudor history buffs.

  • Ed
    2019-03-10 14:29

    I'm ashamed by how long this book took me to read, but my defense is that it's a big thick thing, over 900 pages long. Not one you should pick up unless you're planning to be in it for the long haul and are genuinely interested in the subject matter.After years of seeing Henry portrayed as a fat, greedy slob whose only concern in life was to have a son, this book made a wonderful change. Finally Henry gets a chance to defend himself. Margaret George clearly put in a lot of work and research into completing the novel and it brims with historical detail. Henry's main preoccupation, it seems, lay not with his wives or with fathering an heir but with his religion and a large portion of the book focuses on the dissolution of the monasteries and Henry's own personal struggle with god.Some parts of the book were enthralling, but at other points I found myself a little bored. It seems that Henry's Great Matter really did go on for years and all the detail put in concerning England's breaking away from Rome became rather tedious.Although the majority of the book is told from Henry's point of view, the text is occasionally interjected with words from the King's jester, Will Somers. I was expecting these passages to be funnier than they turned out to be, although Somers does have his fair share of witty observations.One thing the book could have benefited from would have been a small glossary of the main characters. I ended up becoming a little confused between Cranmer, Cromwell, Wolsey, More, and so forth.Despite its length, the book is very easy to read. The language is modern enough for us to understand it easily, but it still retains an aura of authenticity. It is a good piece of fleshed-out, meticulously researched historical fiction and I would recommend it to anyone interested in the Tudors.

  • Richard
    2019-03-03 12:19

    This is a very long but readable novel purporting to be the autobiography of Henry VIII, with commentary by his court fool. It tracks the king's life from his earliest memory at the age of three until shortly before his death. It is vividly told, and even though scenery and small details are mentioned with photographic accuracy for the reader's benefit, it is done so subtly that said reader doesn't really mind. It gives us a glimpse into the innner life of someone often thought of as a "monster" who disposed of people around him with nary a twinge of conscience. What we get is a nuanced larger-than-life portrayal. The interspersed marginal comments of Will Somers serve to balance his perspective by occasionally switching the angle of the camera, as it were. Highly recommended for anyone who is interested in the Tudor era.

  • skein
    2019-03-07 14:14

    By the end, it was difficult to decide who is more self-absorbed: the author or her subject.Margaret George said she wanted to give King Henry better PR. She failed totally. The plot was (naturally?) given over to his various wives/political schemes, but in 900 pages George really, really could have gone a little further than cliche: the betrayed wife, the scheming bitch, the virtuous woman, the stupid slut, the ugly dog, and the useful nurse. I find it intensely disturbing and frankly unbelievable that Catherine of Aragon was not a virgin at her marriage to Henry; that he thought Anne Boleyn a lying skank from the first moment he met her; that Jane was totally enamored with him and wanted nothing more than to be his wife; that Catherine Howard was not hysterical over her impending doom as firsthand accounts record; that Katherine Parr (who had been married twice before Henry condescended to notice her) was still a virgin. (And thrilled to his touches, no less. It's hard to believe that anyone could enjoy the caress of a corpulant old man with a stinking open wound on his thigh, but there you have it.)For a novel that claims to be researched so extensively, and delivered with such attention to accuracy (it's The Real Henry!), all this was a serious issue to me. What else? Henry's claiming to be the same size at 40 years that he was at 20 - this, again, is frankly contradicted by the size of his armour. His famous temper was toned down considerably - although his snarky remarks were duly reported, the vitriol was shrugged off, sandwiched between paragraphs of patient consideration.The 'notes' by Will Somers were generally useless, often intrusive. He pleaded for the reader to forgive Henry without giving any justification - he's not such a bad guy when you get to know him!Meanwhile, Henry moans because his daughter, Mary, hates him. Why, why?! Maybe because you disinherited her, drove her mother to near-madness, and sent them both into comparative poverty and isolation? Just a guess.Maybe I'm just angry. It pissed me off that Jane was mourned and moaned over for five hundred damn pages, that Anna of Cleves was called a dog and a horse by everyone, that Anne Boleyn was literally demonized, that Henry really loved his children, dammit, and wanted them to love him back!George eventually discounted Henry's pre-occupation with having a male heir, too, and his reasons for such. I find myself wondering how much of the (considerable) misogyny in the novel was unintentional - just a reflection of her own views.I'd say it was only euphemistically about Henry VIII. The best-written bits, the parts with most emotional pull - such as Henry's aggravatingly protracted mourning over his 'one true wife', Jane - were obviously inserts from the author's own life. It's only natural, perhaps? this 900-page tome took thirteen years to research & write. Some part of yourself is going to slip in.

  • Linda Orvis
    2019-03-17 14:09

    Another flawlessly researched and written book by Margaret George. I knew quite a bit about Henry before I read this, but it added a dimension that I hadn't expected to his character. Years after reading it I traveled to England and was surprised what a celebrity he still is there. Truthfully, though he's known for the outrageous elimination of his wives, we sometimes forget what an amazing effect he had on the progress of Great Britain by severing ties with Rome. George represents him as a tortured soul, wanting to leave an heir to the throne, but no matter how she presented him, he really was quite despicable in my view.

  • Orsolya
    2019-03-24 13:09

    932 pages. You’re probably thinking: “That’s a lot of pages!” I admit I was a bit intimidated by the length of Margaret George’s novel on Henry VIII. However, I assure you, the length is less of an issue than the actual content of this gargantuan book.Disappointment arose quickly, as the beginning of The Autobiography of Henry VIII “welcomed” me with a very slow and dull start. The first several chapters were drab recaps of the events of Henry’s youth which lacked any emotion, excitement, or personal opinion (even though this is supposed to be “Henry’s view”). Initially, the most interesting moments were the note of Will Somers, which sadly, were too rare in usage. Also adding to my poor first impression, were the inaccuracies which stuck out like sore thumbs. I could not determine if these were thus because the novel was first published in 1986 or because it was Henry’s view and his side of the story is skewed (an attempt to add character to the story); but either way, I noticed the errors. The characters were flat and underdeveloped, especially Henry who was deemed no growth or depth and seems very child-like even during late adulthood. The novel lacks any connection to the characters. Granted, there were some interesting moments throughout the novel (such as with infamous Anne Boleyn) but these were sprinkled too loosely and encompassed a roller coaster ride between boredom and entertainment. Meaning, there was never a constant flow in the story’s plot line. Furthermore, some of George’s contrived Henry experiences created simply for the novel were so outrageous and ridiculous that it created even more dissonance in the already filtered reading. Like most Henry VIII novels, The Autobiography of Henry VIII focused mostly on Henry’s mistresses, wives, and search for wives. Many readers tend to complain that Henry is only described in regards to his six wives, but apparently even from “HIS” view, his wives are deemed the most diversification. All other events – rebellions, downfall of Cromwell, Henry’s children- are less than side notes in this novel. In fact, if this is Henry’s view, then he would describe himself as shallow and elementary if we are to believe how he is portrayed in his novel. Speaking of wives, I especially disliked how Anne Boleyn was depicted. Love her or hate her, it can be agreed that she possessed a certain level of intelligence and conniving. However, George created a bimbo character that was annoying, frivolous, and prone to temper tantrums. It is the equivalent of the usual portrait of Catherine Howard. Anne of Cleves was presented in a much brighter light, showing strength and personality while Catherine Howard’s relationship with Henry, in Henry’s view, was based merely on physical attraction. The End. Nothing more there. Basically, Henry comes off as a virginal 15-year old teenager desperate for sex with Catherine. He made me dislike that marriage even more than I already have. Although, that being said, Catherine’s deceit toward Henry and her death prompted one of the most powerful reactions from Henry in the novel allowing the reader to finally see his true feelings. The best parts of the entire 932 pages were the last 30 or so pages depicting the war with France, the death and funeral of Charles Brandon, and the impact on Henry. Plus, of course, the death of Henry himself was also moving (although less so than Brandon’s). Overall, I can see why some readers could love (and do love) George’s novel. There are some books which are simply terrible and some which aren’t for everyone. This one is simply not for me. I suggest it more for a Tudor reader whom hasn’t read a hundred books on Henry, already. If you have, like myself; you may find yourself skimming large sections like I did.

  • Michel Avenali
    2019-03-11 13:30

    Review+ Superb pace and research+ Engaging and extremely readable+ Detailed, engrossing characters+ A window on historyFirst and foremost Margaret George is a superb historian and writer, she has the ability to make history alive and incredibly engaging. This hefty book makes you feel like it opened a window into Tudor England and dropped you right in the midst of Henry's long and tumultuous reign, and the voyage is always exhilarating and unforgettable. I did not always like Henry, I did not always agree with him, or sympathize with him at times -there were more than one occassion where I was seriously disgusted with him, but ultimately he was always interesting and the book made me want to learn more. I cannot recommend this book highly enough; if you enjoy historical fiction or would like to know more about this time period in particular, read it. If you have any interest or curiosity in the life and times of Henry VIII and want to know more besides what is "common knowledge" about him -almost all of it wrong, this book is the best place to begin. Surprisingly readable and engaging, this is one book that I can proudly put on my favorites shelf.

  • The Book Whisperer (aka Boof)
    2019-03-17 14:25

    "I'm Henry VIII, I am, I'm Henry VIII I am, I am!" Wow! There's never a dull moment with old Henry. Teenage King, always warring with France, cuts ties with Rome and changes the course of history just so he can get a divorce, six wives - two have their heads lopped off, one dies in childbirth, one is too ugly, one won't provide him with a son (tsk! what was she thinking?) and the other gets to mop up his gangrenous leg until he dies. Phew!!!This is a fabulous book: long, but so worth it. Written from Henry's point of view so we get to see his life as he sees it. We all know what a bad-tempered tyrant he was supposed to have been, but in this book we get a glimpse at what may have made Henry make the decisions he made. He was born into royalty, taught to believe that he is above others (and boy, does he!) but we also see another side to him. There are times when I actually felt sorry for him; to be surrounded all your life by "yes-men" and never really knowing who you can trust must have been pretty tough even if you are surrounded by jewels and banquets all day long. Not surprisingly, his poor wives come in for a pretty raw deal; but again it is written from Henry's point of view. Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard never stood a chance and Katherine of Aragon was treated appallingly in later life when the King decided that he wanted to move on to a younger model. No wonder when it came to searching for a new wife 4th time around, all the eligable young European princesses were hiding in the shadows. This is a real tome of a book and one I enjoyed immensley. The fact that it took the author 15 years to research, I knew I was in safe hands with getting a wonderful peice of fiction based entirely on fact. I would highly recommend this to history fans. Big thumbs up for this one!

  • Kandice
    2019-03-21 17:26

    Five stars does not feel like enough for this book. It took me a little longer than usual to read the 932 pages, but I think that's because there were passages I re-read over and over for their beauty. My book is riddled with post-its to mark quotes I didn't want to forget, and had I not already purchased this book before reading, I would have done so just to have those quotes at my fingertips whenever I wanted them. It was that good. I don't know why I'm surprised because The Memoirs of Cleopatra is one of my favorite books and I own it in both paperback and hardback because it's been read enough times that I know when I read it again I'll be lugging it around. She is a lovely writer.I think everyone is, at least passingly, familiar with the Tudors, and if not them as a family, then Henry VIII because of his many wives. I love the Showtime series, but don't feel that the sexual wantonness is realistic. It's entertaining, don't get me wrong, just not realistic. If Henry had so many lovers he would not have needed so many wives. George shares this view. I like that she portrays him as such a religious man. It only stands to reason. He was the second son, so slated to the church, not the throne. His early education would have been very, very heavily religious. Adultery was simply wrong, king or no, and while I believe he had lovers, their numbering in the scores just seems silly. The fact that historians agree that Anne Boleyn was a virgin until their marriage (or very close to it) despite it's taking seven years to arrange speaks volumes. The book is written in a journal format. Supposedly Henry's journal, as found by his fool, Will. Will is sending the journal, long after Henry's death, to Henry's illegitimate daughter by Mary Boleyn (yes, Anne's sister). Will makes notes where he sees fit and this adds immeasurably to the perspective. Not many were honest and straightforward with the king, yet his fool saw and heard all. Because of the journal form, George is limited to the vocabulary and medical terms of the time. Henry VIII most likely sufferred from Type 2 Diabetes, which contributed to his size, poor health and declining mental capacity near his death. I felt she did an excellent job portraying this using the topical vernacular. Even had I not already known this about Henry, I would probably at least have had a suspicion after reading.I'd like to list all the quotes I fell in love with from this book, but, really, that would entail pages. Instead I think I'll close with my very favorite (I think. It's hard to choose!). It applies to all of us, everyday, so why would it apply less to a man because he was king? A very, very lonely king at that?By God, it would make a fine morning's ride, and I was ready for one. Should I ask Katherine? A gallop together, in the damp March air-but no, this was her prayer-time. Nonetheless, I could ask. Perhaps she would...? No. She would not.Thus we use our supposed "knowledge" of others to speak on their behalf, and condemn them for the words we put in their silent mouths.Having asked Katherine in my mind, and been refused, I was free to go alone.George speaks of us all. Henry was a man, like any other, and that's the greatest thing an autobiography can leave us with.

  • Kimber
    2019-03-20 11:32

    I really enjoyed looking at things from Henry's POV. If i hadn't read any other historical fiction or biographies about the time I might be of the opinion that Harry was just a tragic figure cursed by run after run of bad luck. However, I have read a lot about Henry's England. That, and the fact that George uses Will Somer's notes as a warning not to believe all that Henry writes, and one can see that this journal of Henry's is rife with dissembling, rationalizing, and self-deceit. It is NEVER Henry's fault.George does put forth a theory about Henry's wives that I have not seen so blatantly stated before: Henry constantly craves love and acceptance because he never received any from his mother. He proves this over and over by his instant descents into love and his almost as instant disillusionment when 'Wife X' does not equal "Wife Ideal" (aka His Mother's Perfection).Other Historical novels often look at Henry through the eyes of his women, his friends or his courtiers. They show puzzlement and disbelief at his emotions and actions. It is refreshing and somewhat amusing to see how Henry chronicles his own life and the explanations behind his own behaviour. We all know how this story ends but for once we are seeing it from the Giant at the top of the Beanstalk's POV rather than Jack's. Definitely worth a read simply because there are so few historical fiction novels with POV from Henry VIII. I rounded up my stars on this one. Rating it a 3.5. P.S. After finishing the novel I watched a documentary titledThe Palace of Henry VIIIon PBS. One of the assertions they made was that Henry might have suffered a frontal cerebral cortex injury when his horse rolled on him during a jousting tournament (post-divorce Katherine, pre-execution Anne). Looking back at the novel one can really pinpoint the beginning of his irrational behaviour to that time in his life. The undiagnosed injury could have caused minor to major personality changes, auditory and visual hallucinations and paranoia. Hmmm...sounds like it might be a credible theory.

  • Chrissie
    2019-02-23 19:09

    After 172 pages I have decided to dump this.I do NOT enjoy reading it and I have given it a fair try. I am often hesitant toward autobiographies, particularly when they are historical fiction. An autobiography cannot, by definition, provide an impartial view on the events that occurred. Margaret George is an author known for her thorough research, but in that which is not known she has made suppositions that I cannot accept. In my mind it is very clear that Henry was motivated by power. He was a king and it definitely was his job to increase England's (and his own) glory, strength and power. Why did he split with the Pope? Divorce was not allowed. When Catherine's father, King Ferdinand of Spain, did not support Henry against the French as had been agreed, it is not so strange that he questioned his wife's allegiance. In addition she did not give him a male heir. Henry's choices were motivated by a search for power. This is a power game, nothing else. I object to George putting these words into the text: I would take my place on the Continental stage, to pursue England's lost dream of conquering France in its entirety. Perhaps that was what God truly required of me; perhaps it was here that I had failed Him. As King, there were certain tasks that I must undertake, as surely as a knight at Arthur's Round Table was given them, and to shirk them meant shame and cowardice........ Perhaps when I conquered France, God would turn his face toward me. I became more and more convinced of it. .......My advisors and Council, by and large, were not convinced. Of my desire to redeem myself with God they were unaware; but they were against war with France. Father had spoiled them with his lack of involvement in foreign entanglements, and like any privileged state, they had got used to it. (page 145)There is no proof of such a supposition. He used the church for his own purposes; I do not see him as being religiously motivated. He is motivated by a search for power. This book is a diary written by King Henry, with added notes by his jester, Will Somers. These notes are meant to explain, round out and fill in the King's statements. But tell me why are they never funny if he is the court jester?! These "notes" add nothing, they merely disrupt the text. In addition, it is mentioned by Somers that the song Greensleeves was sung. Although it is today discounted, it has been thought that King Henry wrote it for Anne Boleyn. King Henry hadn't even met her yet.And Catherine of Aragon was married to Henry's older brother Arthur first...... It is stated she is a virgin!Although I am not stating that Margaret George is fictionalizing the known facts, I question all too often her suppositions, and there is no humor! Even if there is a family tree at the front of the book it isn't that simple to keep track of all the characters. Do you know why you have to call people Duke or Marquis or Earl of for example York or Exeter or Cambridge? That is because all the men are called Henry or Edward and the women Mary or Catherine or Anne. This is a way of keeping track of who is who.(ha ha) I would have appreciated a map of these places.If this book is not going to get me inside the heads of the leading players in a believable manner, I might as well just read a book of non-fiction or go to Wikipedia. Once I started questioning what I was being fed, I spent more time reading Wiki than reading the book!There was one, and only one, little sparkle in the first 172 pages of the book, and that is when Henry fell head over heels in love with his brother's wife Catherine.....but soon that disappeared and was replaced with his drive for success and power. 932 pages of this is just not my cup of tea. I warn you, you have to love the Tudors to be drawn to this book!No, this book was not even OK! I ran to Wikipedia every time I could. I expect more than one little sparkle in 172 pages.

  • Szeee
    2019-03-01 16:05

    VIII. Henrikről mindenki tudja, hogy egy rakás felesége volt és néhányat le is fejeztetett közülük. Kegyetlen, nagydarab, rettegett király hírében áll, de szerintem a rossz hírneve miatt nem igazán akaródzik senkinek közelebb kerülni hozzá, hogy jobban megismerje. Ez a könyv azonban erre hivatott. Természetesen nem valódi önéletrajz, hanem fiktív, de nagyon jól visszaadja, hogy milyen lehetett Henriknek lenni, milyen lehetett hercegként, magányban, szeretettelenül nevelkedni, majd szintén hatalmas magányban királyként uralkodni és szerepet játszani évtizedeken keresztül. Akinek nem lehetett igazi bizalmasa, akinek mindig viselkednie kellett, aki nem élvezhette hétköznapi emberként az életet. Na jó, kicsit túlzásba estem, mert annyira azért nem volt borzalmas Henriknek, de a könyvből is tisztán látszik, hogy azok voltak a legboldogabb pillanatai, amikor civilként, egyszerű körülmények között tölthetett el napokat a szerettei körében.Ez az írás ugyan szól Anglia XVI. századi politikájáról és történelméről is, de talán mégiscsak inkább a király feleségeivel való kapcsolatát helyezi a középpontba. Nagyon jó érzékkel ábrázolja az írónő, hogy mi játszódhatott le a királyban, amikor egy-egy nő az érdeklődésének középpontjába került. Az indítékokat, a vonzalmakat, az érzelmek váltakozását mind hihetően és logikusan vezeti végig. Nagyon érdekes egyébként, hogy a 6 feleség mennyire más és más személyiség volt és mégis ugyanazon király mellé sodorta őket a sors. Mindegyikőjük személye jól lett bemutatva, akárcsak Henrik fiatal emberből megfáradt, idősödő királlyá való érésének folyamata. Aki elolvassa ezt a könyvet, teljesen máshogy fog tekinteni erre a történelmi alakra. Már nem fog annyira kegyetlennek és félelmetesnek tűnni, csak egy embernek, aki amellett, hogy nagy tehetséget mutatott a költészet, a zene, a teológia területén, maradéktalanul élt a hatalmával mindenféle értelemben. Bár őrültségnek tűnik, de még egyházának a katolikus egyháztól és a pápától való elszakadása is teljesen logikusnak és érthetőnek tűnik a könyvben felvázolt nézőpontok alapján. Határozottsága és erőskezűsége mellett azonban Henrik időről-időre szánnivaló bábunak tűnik a történelem sodrának kezében, aki kétségbeesetten próbálta megvédeni a rá bízott országot, kétségbeesetten küzdött trónörökösért és békéért a körülötte intrikáló nemesi családok és a többi nagyhatalom gyűrűjében.Nagyon szerettem olvasni ezt a könyvet, olvasmányosan, érdekfeszítően és hihetően írta meg Margaret George mind az 1200 oldalt, így nem tudok neki rosszabbat adni öt csillagnál.

  • Denise
    2019-03-03 13:13

    A huge book--over 900 pages. But worth every one! We've all read about Henry VIII and his six wives. Dry, historical facts and events. This book delves into what kind of man (and king) he may have been. His fears, his strengths are discussed here in the form of a diary that has been discovered after his death and is being sent to an illegitimate daughter of Henry by his "fool", Will Somers. The word "fool" refers to someone who is permitted to speak plainly to the King or Queen. To tell the truth without fear of punishment or repercussion. Fools made the monarch laugh, made them ponder possibilities and see the other side of a decision or situation. They were a much prized and much needed commodity in the frantic and conniving world of a royal court. In this novel, Will makes comments periodically as if he has already read the diary and we see inside Henry the king and the man. Even though this is fiction, I commend the author on her excellent job of stepping into the mind of a powerful (and sometimes ruthless) individual. I highly recommend it for all adult readers.

  • Barbara
    2019-03-22 16:15

    I've been on a huge kick for historical ficton lately especailly the Tudors. Henry VIII is the most amazing character in British history. This book allows you to look a his life on a whole not just one portion of it.It talks of his youth. His marriage to Katherine of Aragon. Anne Bolyn. (alot.....) and all his other wives. I never really paid much attention to his life except for the well told tales with Anne Bolyn so it was great to get an over look at all his loves and loses.This book kinda drags on in certain places but overall the author does a good job of bringing Henry VIII to life for me. Recommend this.

  • Brittany B.
    2019-03-01 18:05

    Yep... Finished a week, and I'm listening to it again... ******************************************************Book: 6starsNarrator : 6++++ starsThe best book I've read this year. I intend to write a review that is worthy of this grand book. I encourage anyone interested in this historical masterpiece to buy this as an audiobook. This is a novel that is made even more compelling by outstanding the perchance of the narrator, (It is rumored that the author was the director of the audio performance)

  • Louise
    2019-03-19 14:31

    Henry Explains Himself. Fictionally Much has been said about Henry VIII... so what is his side of the story? Why did he behead two of his 6 wives? their associates/relatives? two of his closest friend-advisors? hundreds of alleged treasonists? protestants? whole monestaries full of monks? ... Henry explains all this and more.If you know the story of the Tudors, this will have you laughing out loud. He looks at his daughter Mary dressed in black translating pious works and remarks how like her mother she is, just as would any father who had not "illegitimized" his daughter, forbade her contact with her dying mother or put her under house arrest. In deference to Anne's love of all things French, he's arranged to have a special executioner and sword from France ... just for her. He speaks of his "sister, Anne" (of Cleves) without a hint of irony. In the end he wonders where real men like More and Cromwell had gone, as though they died natural deaths and not on his order of execution.Among the many skills of the author is the careful presage of future events and people. For instance the subtle introduction of Anne Boleyn's brother and musician; Catherine Howard's past life; the future power of the Seymours; the conversations with Cromwell or More; the character of Thomas Seymour considering his role in the lives of his final widow and second daughter (which taking place after his death is not presented here)... the list goes on and on.The dialog is wonderful from the self-centered Queen Anne Boleyn to the academic Katherine Parr, the warm and innocent minded Thomas More. Henry's thoughts and take on everything from the servants' simplicity, to his wives, to the plight of the King of France are exquisitely crafted.You can laugh out loud in just about every 10th page and marvel at the scholarship and detail.Through it all, a consistent voice and character for Henry is maintained in a way that grips you through the full 900+ pages.To fully appreciate this book, you need to know who is who in Tudor England, but you can enjoy it with minimal background.This book is a rare masterpiece.

  • Ian Mapp
    2019-03-21 16:07

    This has to be the best way to learn about history - read a fictional account of a particular subject. This makes things interesting and educational.932 pages - you have everything you could want to know about Henry VIII and what drove him to make the well known decisions. He comes out of this book with many merits. He may have made mistakes but everything he did, he did for the right reason.500 pages in and we are still on Katherine of Aragon. But then again, he was married to her for 20 odd years - so that makes sense. The latter parts of the book have a more melancholy air, as old age takes over and he realises the many mistakes he made.We learn about his wives (of course), Wolsely, More and others. The only problem is keeping up, as most are called Thomas, Anne, Mary, Margeret or Katherine.The fiction is setup as a biography - found by Will, his fool and passed onto the daughter of Mary Boleyn - who may well have been an illigetimate child of henry. This offers the author the chance to add views to some of Henry's actions through footnotes - although these disppear for pages on end.Meticulously researched, fascinating and informative. What more could you want from a 17 day read.

  • Oodles
    2019-03-03 17:23

    This was the book that jolted my interest in the Royal line of Britain. I went from Henry VIII to learning everything I could about the entire line and it all started with this marvelous work of fiction by Margaret George.

  • Brooklyn Tayla
    2019-02-25 18:27

    This was nothing short of phenomenal! It was utterly amazing! Being obsessed with Tudor England, I have read many a fiction and non fiction book depicting this maniac and will read many a more! But this one definitely goes in a league of its own! The writing was EXCEPTIONAL! If I didn’t know better, I would’ve thought I was reading Henry’s true life memoirs. The way he thought about each one of his wives, from his brother’s intended, Katherine of Aragon (I mean he really thought in the end that his first marriage was an abomination in the eyes of God?! Please!) to his lust for Anne Boleyn and Kitty Howard, to…oh okay, I’ll stop. But anyway, this book was emotionally exhausting but freaking amazing! It’s definitely become a favourite and I doubt I’ll read anything so convincing again! But I know they say ‘truth is stranger than fiction’ so we will see!

  • John
    2019-03-06 17:32

    Rarely do I tackle books this long but I really enjoyed all 932 pages. All the way through the book was interesting and entertaining. Certainly a more fun way to learn about Henry VIII than some dry academic biography.

  • Sher
    2019-03-22 18:08

    If you like historical fiction, you will LOVE this book. The reader is lead to believe that it is more fact than fiction because of the amount of research Margaret George did in preparing this book for publication. She read and studied many books and period accounts (check out the bibliography), as well as having visited England more than once for the express purpose of researching the life and personality of Henry VIII during the 15 years it took her to write it. No one had ever thought to try to get into the mind of Henry to see what was really going on there until Ms. George did her homework for this book. I believe it is very revealing. She does not try to make him into something that he is not. We still see him as the king we love to hate - an overweight king who suffered from dementia, felt things very deeply, acted on impulse, loved women, and had people around him put to death if they didn't agree with him. But what it does show is how he came to feel and do the things that he did. One can come close to understanding him, and perhaps even empathizing with him through this book. It is very well and beautifully written. I loved the associated history that I learned along the way. My one and only criticism is that towards the end I got a little bogged down in the war and the politics. I had become so accustomed to the forward movement in this lengthy book that I was a bit disappointed when it slowed down. Just a minor criticism, however. It is overall a fabulous book. I listened to this book, and it is just possible that if I had read it I may not have gotten so bogged down. When you actually read the book it is much easier to go back and check facts and may help to keep things straight. I feel so bad for people who cannot get past the so-called aristocratic, stuck-up British accent that narrator David Case uses. It has been said that his narrations are an acquired taste. I was a bit put off at first myself. But I tell you, he is incredible! I believe that Henry VIII must have sounded just like David Case (also known as Frederick Davidson)! His characterizations are fabulous, and he runs the gamut of emotions which I feel right along with him. He brought me to tears when Brandon died, and made me feel sad at Henry's death. I was as mad at Ann Boleyn as Henry was, and I adored Jane Seymour right along with him. I was disappointed for Henry when Elizabeth was born female (definitely not like me in real life), and so sad for him when baby boy after baby boy did not survive. This book lives because of David Case's narration. If you listen to audiobooks but have not yet acquired the taste, it will be worth it for you to persevere until you do. He is a master and has done a masterful job of narrating some of the best literature ever written!

  • Sarah
    2019-03-07 18:27

    The Autobiography of Henry VIII is the first novel published by esteemed historical fiction novelist Margaret George. Although this book may seem like a real autobiography at first glance based on the title (of course it's not - how is that even possible?), this novel is actually a fictional firsthand account of the life of Henry VIII, as told by his fool, Will Somers.Sitting at a very thick 960 pages, The Autobiography of Henry VIII may seem an overwhelming feat to some readers, especially those skeptical about picking up this novel to begin with. However, if you know anything at all about the history of Henry VIII (and his six wives!), I highly recommend sticking it out. This novel will change your outlook on this king forever, and is much better than most other fictional accounts of Henry VIII's life.My own personal interest with Henry VIII and the Tudor monarchy peaked tremendously after reading The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. I found it grossly fascinating that Henry VIII - such a disgusting, yucky person both physically and mentally - had women pursuing him from every corner of Europe just because he wore a crown.This particular novel chronicles everything about the life of Henry VIII - his young adulthood, his conquests, his illnesses, his psychotic breakdowns, the banishment or deaths of his wives, and more - all told by the comedic persona of Will Somers. The Autobiography of Henry VIII reads quite smoothly, and is highly entertaining, especially since Henry is made to sound like an idiotic spoiled teenager.In this book (which I have no doubt is historically accurate on most accounts), Henry is a real piece of shit. With every person that does him any wrong, including his wives, Henry scrolls through his book of Scripture to find quotes he can bend and somehow apply to his "mistakes" (such as cheating and committing adultery). He then uses those quotes to persuade his court to banish that particular person or ritual from his kingdom.In The Autobiography of Henry VIII, Henry is a villain you love to hate. It's what makes this novel amazing and titillating. The amount of time and research George invested in to pen this novel is evident in her writing. This book is by far one of the best I've ever read not only in the historical fiction genre, but overall. I give this novel a full 10 stars out of 10 stars.Other amazing novels by Margaret George are Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles, The Memoirs of Cleopatra, Mary, Called Magdalene, and Helen of Troy. She also recently released Elizabeth I.For more book reviews, please visit

  • Ashley W
    2019-03-25 11:16

    I really wanted to like this book, and I did for the most part. I liked seeing Henry's relationship with Catherine of Aragon, because most of the time writers skip over their relationship to get to the Anne Boleyn drama and we are left to wonder why he married her in the first place. I understand she did love him, but from Henry's POV, it seemed she was slightly obsessed with him, which I guess is okay, because it's coming from his mind, as delusional as it was. Henry's relationship with Anne Boleyn to me made no sense, because he didn't know her. He only saw her for two seconds and probably only fell in love with her because she was the only woman not hanging over him. Her part was way too long and it was annoying, especially because Henry harped on the witch bit just because he didn't get a son off her and he had people he liked executed, i.e Thomas More. Henry didn't want to be blamed himself so he put all the blame on her. The section with Jane was over and done quickly, but he continued to moan over her death for a really long time. The only reason he really loved her was because she gave him a son. If she had lived, he probably would've gotten bored with her, and if she didn't have a son, she might've gone the way of her predecessors. I did like her character though, but it seemed that George was making her seem ultimately perfect while making Anne seem like the devil. But again, it's from Henry's POV so there you go.I kind of skimmed through Anne of Cleves and Catherine Howard, but I mainly got the gist of it. It was the usual thing with Anne with how Henry thought she was ugly, but in the book, I got the gist that he thought she was sweet as well, and after the Catherine Howard fiasco, he may have regretted divorcing her. Catherine Howard was portrayed as a bit of a ditz, which in all honesty, she could've been, but everyone has portrayed her as a stupid teenagers and the stereotype just kind of made me mad.I skimmed through Kathryn Parr because at this point I was bored, and just wanted to finish the book.I liked the book, but I really wished it didn't harp on the stereotypes. I believe Margaret George's book was long enough to go beyond all of the stereotypes and to make each wife three dimensional. Reading from Henry's POV was different and (a bit) interesting, because he was so delusional and self absorbed that it made for a good read.

  • Reinhold
    2019-03-24 11:09

    Langatmige GeschichtsstundeDieses Buch ist das (fiktive) Tagebuch des als Blaubart in die Geschichte eingegangenen englischen Herrschers. Besonders witzig fand ich die Idee, dazu noch Anmerkungen des Hofnarren einzuflechten um dem ganzen einen kritischeren Touch zu geben. Die großen Vorzüge des Buches sind mit Sicherheit die gute Recherche und der Versuch das Leben eines der verrufendsten Könige der Geschichte aus seiner eigenen Sicht zu erzählen. Dadurch wird dem Leser eine aufregende Geschichtsstunde der ersten Hälfte des 16. Jahrhunderts vermittelt. Es wird ungemein viel Wissen über die politischen und religiösen Zustände der Hochrenaissance mitgeteilt.Dass ein Buch das als Autobiographie gefasst ist, natürlich kein objektives Bild vermitteln wird ist von vornherein klar. Diesbezüglich hat sich Margaret George auch sehr viel Mühe gegeben. Sie schildert das Leben eines naiven, ruhigen und gutmütigen Mannes, der die ganze Zeit über ein getriebener der Umstände ist und letztlich nur selten negative Eigenschaften zeigt. Soweit war das auch zu erwarten, dass jedoch die (nach dem Ableben Heinrichs) eingefügten Kommentare des Hofnarren Will Sommers, dieses Bild nur selten umdrehen und wirklich kritisch kommentieren, ist ein böses Versäumnis. Mag der Versuch Heinrich VIII. in ein besseres Licht zu rücken gerechtfertigt sein, so war er ganz bestimmt kein Engel - George schießt hier wohl über das Ziel hinaus.Das Buch hat kaum Höhepunkte, vielmehr fließt es über 1300 Seiten einfach dahin. Es ist nicht mitreißend aber interessant - darüber sollte man sich bewusst sein, ehe man mit dem Lesen beginnt. Wer eine auch nur ansatzweise spannende Story erwartet, wird das Buch bald aus der Hand legen. Wenn Sie jedoch eine anspruchsvolle Darstellung der Hochrenaissance erwarten, dann sind Sie hiermit ganz bestimmt gut bedient.

  • Barb
    2019-02-24 16:25

    I had been looking forward to reading this novelization of life of Henry VIII for quite some time. With 932 pages it took a bit of effort for me to finish, especially because I never felt particularly drawn into this novel. I did learn a lot about the early years of Henry's marriage to Katherine of Aragon and many other things which were interesting. Unfortunately, I never got any sense of depth or realism from the historical figures as people, everyone came across as flat. It almost felt as if Margaret George thought she had to cover the whole of Henry's life rather than focusing on a part and bringing it 'to' life. Events that must have been difficult for Henry to endure were recounted in an impersonal manner yet the narration is in the first person from the perspective of Henry himself hence the title. I also thought the notes by Will Somers could have been expanded on to make the story more interesting, as it was it felt like an underdeveloped idea. However this is the first novel I've read where I got a realistic sense of the people's strong dislike for Anne Boleyn and I did appreciate that. Overall I thought it was an ambitious effort, obviously well researched but a novel that never really took me back in time.

  • Grace
    2019-03-10 17:17

    This book thrust me into what I now call my "Tudor period." The book is fiction, but loaded with historical facts. I followed it with nearly half a dozen non-fiction books about the Tudors. It's hard to pick which one is the most interesting. Henry VII, who was a soldier who won his right to the throne, and as a result, was a very hard man. Henry VIII, one of history's most misunderstood men. Thirty-eight when he died, people! That famous portrait you see of him--he's about 36!! Thirty-six! That's what hard living and bad food do to you. He destroyed the Catholic church in his country and changed England's history and culture forever. His long-term effect on history is not to be understated. His poor son, Edward--just a pawn of the court with a sad, short life. His eldest daughter, "Bloody" Mary--she was a piece of work. And his second daughter, Queen Elizabeth I, probably one of the smartest people to ever run a country--hands down.Hmmm, I might have to read this book again...

  • laura
    2019-03-23 12:12

    Overall, I loved this book. It was fascinating to read about the life of Henry VIII through his perspective. Seeing it that way helped make more sense of some of the decisions he made while King. I thought everything surrounding the Boelyn drama was fantastic. I loved the vivid descritions of the emotional roller coaster he seemed to be on for the majority of his life. I could hardly put this book down during the first few hundred pages. However, I admit I got a little "stir crazy" towards the end. I could barely get through the last couple hundred pages that seldom contained much other than how fat, lazy, and sickly he was getting.

  • Elizabeth(The Book Whisperer)
    2019-03-16 14:05

    Omg, words can not express how much I adored this book. Wowsers, each word was perfect and I was on awe every second. This book is crack for the Tudor lovers soul!

  • Sarah
    2019-03-08 15:30

    I've read more than my fair share of Tudor historical fiction. This, however, is the first I've read told from Henry's perspective, which is a nice change of pace. As a fictional character, you can't help feeling sympathy for the Boy who wasn't raised to be King, and yet became one at a young age with no mentorship or trusted guidance. He was rash and impulsive, romantic and eager to please. He was spoiled and indulged to the point of destruction.His wants contradicted one another. He wanted both riches and simplicity--friends and subjects. His naivety led him to inappropriately trust and distrust, ultimately leaving him angry, vengeful and depressed. As a man, though, Henry's whims and ill-guided advisors led to fury, torture and murder. Although Henry was undoubtedly wronged in his turn, the power he wielded over others enabled him to conduct much greater and longer lasting harm. His desire for a true love that can exist only in fantasy led to the upheaval of an entire kingdom. Despite his long reign, strong heir and impressive political acumen, he is remembered most for the obsessions, tyranny and madness that became his final bedfellows. As a fictional character, Henry is fascinating, but as an historical one, it is difficult to label him as anything other than a monster.

  • Joyce
    2019-03-12 18:31

    5 starsWhat a great book! I really wished there were more asides by Will Somers, though. I enjoyed those immensely. This is a brilliant work. It was well written and researched. It doesn't matter that I have read a great deal about King Henry VIII, I truly enjoyed this book. It tells of Henry's life from his earliest memory through his last days - from his point of view. Of course, some of it had to be surmised, but it was fun reading to say the least. I will continue to read Margaret George's books as she is a fine writer.