November 12, 2013

November USA and UK Non-Fiction Releases

November 1

Renaissance Humanism and Ethnicity Before Race: The Irish and the English in the Seventeenth Century by Ian Campbell

The modern ideology of race, so important in twentieth-century Europe, incorporates both a theory of human societies and a theory of human bodies. Ian Campbell's new study examines how the elite in early modern Ireland spoke about human societies and human bodies, and demonstrates that this elite discourse was grounded in a commitment to the languages and sciences of Renaissance Humanism. Emphasising the education of all of early modern Ireland's antagonistic ethnic groups in common European university and grammar school traditions, Campbell explains both the workings of the learned English critique of Irish society, and the no less learned Irish response. Then he turns to Irish debates on nobility, medicine and theology in order to illuminate the problem of human heredity. He concludes by demonstrating how the Enlightenment swept away these humanist theories of body and society, prior to the development of modern racial ideology in the late eighteenth century.

Here's the Amazon UK page.

November 5

Tudor: The Family Story by Leanda de Lisle

The Tudors are a national obsession. From TV bodice-rippers to Booker-prize winning novels and scholarly journals, they are our favourite family in history. Their story is packed with famous and thrilling tales: Henry VIII and his wives, Elizabeth the Virgin Queen, the Princes in the Tower, the Armada. But, as Leanda de Lisle shows in this exciting new history, if we look beyond these familiar headlines, much that is new and surprising is revealed. The Tudor canon starts with Bosworth in 1485 and really gets going with Henry VIII and the Reformation. But this leaves out the obscure Welsh origins of Owain ap Maredudd ap Tudur, the man who would become known simply as 'Owen Tudor' and fall (literally) into the lap of Katherine de Valois, widow of Henry V. It leaves out the courage of Margaret Beaufort, the forgotten pregnant thirteen-year-old girl who through her son Henry VII went on to found and shape the Tudor dynasty. It casts Elizabeth as the paradigm of power, and misses the effects of Mary's influence as they were growing up. Over and above everything else, the Tudors' is a family story. A family struggling at every turn to establish their right to the throne. A family dominated by remarkable women doing everything possible to secure influence and the family line. What emerges here is a story like no other, packed with all the headlines we know and love, but which also brings to life in a completely new - and very human way - this extraordinary family and their times.

Here's the Amazon UK page.

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Heretics and Heroes: How Renaissance Artists and Reformation Priests Created Our World Audiobook CD – by Thomas Cahill

In Volume VI of his acclaimed Hinges of History series, Thomas Cahill guides us through the thrilling period of the Renaissance and the Reformation (the late fourteenth to the early seventeenth century), so full of innovation and cultural change that the Western world would not experience its like again until the twentieth century. Beginning with the continent-wide disaster of the Black Death, Cahill traces the many developments in European thought and experience that served both the new humanism of the Renaissance and the seemingly abrupt religious alterations of the increasingly radical Reformation. This is an age of the most sublime artistic and scientific adventure, but also of newly powerful princes and armies and of newly found courage, as many thousands refuse to bow their heads to the religious pieties of the past.  It is an era of just-discovered continents and previously unknown peoples. More than anything, it is a time of individuality in which a whole culture must achieve a new balance if the West is to continue.

Here's the Amazon USA link.

November 7

Elizabeth of York by Alison Weir

Elizabeth of York would have ruled England, but for the fact that she was a woman. The eldest daughter of Edward IV, at seventeen she was relegated from pampered princess to bastard fugitive, but the probable murders of her brothers, the Princes in the Tower, left Elizabeth heiress to the royal House of York, and in 1486, Henry VII, first sovereign of the House of Tudor, married her, thus uniting the red and white roses of Lancaster and York.

Elizabeth is an enigma. She had schemed to marry Richard III, the man who had deposed and probably killed her brothers, and it is likely that she then intrigued to put Henry Tudor on the throne. Yet after marriage, a picture emerges of a model consort, mild, pious, generous and fruitful. It has been said that Elizabeth was distrusted and kept in subjection by Henry VII and her formidable mother-in-law, Margaret Beaufort, but contemporary evidence shows that Elizabeth was, in fact, influential, and may have been involved at the highest level in one of the most controversial mysteries of the age.

Alison Weir builds an intriguing portrait of this beloved queen, placing her in the context of the magnificent, ceremonious, often brutal, world she inhabited, and revealing the woman behind the myth, showing that differing historical perceptions of Elizabeth can be reconciled.

Here's the Amazon UK page.


November 15

Medieval and Monastic Derry: Sixth Century to 1600 by Brian Lacey

According to legend, Derry originated as a monastery founded by St Columba/Colum Cille. That story was almost certainly a later rationalization and simplification of a complex reality arising from Derry’s capture from the Cenél nÉnnai kingdom in the late 6th century by the saint’s people, the powerful Cenél Conaill. By the 9th century, Derry was in the hands of the latter’s conquering enemies – Cenél nEógain of Inishowen. They further developed the Columban legend for propaganda purposes. In the 12th century, under the dynamic Mac Lochlainn kings, the enlarged settlement at Derry became a centre of significant political and cultural influence and the headquarters of the Columban churches in Ireland. Later – with the defeat of the Mac Lochlainns – Derry too declined. It would enjoy a brief revival in later medieval times under the O’Donnells, who also harnessed the Columban legend. The settlement was captured by the English in 1600, however, bringing about the end of its Gaelic identity. Lacey has been writing about medieval Derry since the 1980s; in this book, he revisits those studies – revising and augmenting them, examining previously little-used sources and emphasizing Derry’s changing fortunes in the contexts of  contemporary secular politics. [Source: Four Courts Press]

Here's the Amazon UK page.


November 28

Thomas Cromwell: Servant to Henry VIII by David Loades

Thomas Cromwell was a selfmade lawyer who served first Cardinal Wolsey and then Henry VIII. His time with Wolsey was an apprenticeship which served him well in his work for the king after the cardinal s fall from power in 1529. Cromwell s time in office from 1530 until his execution in 1540 was one of the most crucial periods in English history. This biography explores how he tried to manage his relationship with Henry VIII and why he failed. It also shows how he manipulated the politics of the court that eventually destroyed him. The rise and fall of the Boleyns, the dominance of the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, and the executions of Thomas More and John Fisher all play their part in Thomas Cromwell s life. Eventually he overreached himself in his patronage of evangelical preachers and in arranging Henry s marriage to Anne of Cleves, which played a crucial part in his fall and death in July 1540.

Here's the Amazon USA page.
Here's the Amazon UK page.

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Anne Boleyn by Paul Friedmann

Anne Boleyn entered Henry s life just as he was seeking to discard his wife, Catherine of Aragon, for failing to give him a son. Henry courted Anne, but she refused to yield to his advances until he promised her marriage. At that moment, Anne was his. Driven by his love for a woman who refused him sexual favours unless she was certain of becoming queen, Henry took on the might of the Catholic Church, challenging papal authority as he strove to divorce Catherine and marry Anne. The process, urged on by Anne and her increasingly powerful family and supporters, cost the lives of many great and powerful men as, one by one, Wolsey, Fisher and More went to their deaths. While Henry became the head of the church in England, supported by ambitious ministers and a pliant archbishop, his country faced invasion as the pope, King Francis and Emperor Charles in their turn threatened the king who now stood isolated in Europe. Friedmann charts the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn, from her origins as the daughter of a gifted and ambitious courtier, her elevation to the greatest heights a woman could reach, to her tragic fall and execution, the victim of the man who had once loved her, and who had altered the course of his country s history forever in order to have her.

Here's the Amazon USA page.
Here's the Amazon UK page.

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In Bed with the Tudors: The Sex Lives of a Dynasty from Elizabeth of York to Elizabeth I by Amy Licence

Illegitimate children, adulterous queens, impotent kings, and a whole dynasty resting on their shoulders. Sex and childbirth were quite literally a matter of life or death for the Tudors: Elizabeth of York died in childbirth, two of Henry VIII s queens were beheaded for infidelity and Elizabeth I s elective virginity signalled the demise of a dynasty. Amy Licence guides the reader through the births of Elizabeth of York s two sons, Arthur and Henry, Catherine of Aragon s subsequent marriages to both of these men, Henry VIII s other five wives and his mistresses, and the sex lives of his daughters. This book details the experiences of all these women, from fertility, conception and pregnancy through to the delivery chamber, on to maternal and infant mortality. Each woman s story is a blend of specific personal circumstances, set against their historical moment. For some the joys were brief; for others it was a question that ultimately determined their fates.

Here's the Amazon USA page.
Here's the Amazon UK page.



November 30

Richard the III and the Bosworth Campaign by P. W. Hammond

On 22 August 1485 the forces of the Yorkist king Richard III and his Lancastrian opponent Henry Tudor clashed at Bosworth Field in Leicestershire in one of the decisive battles of English history. Richard was defeated and killed. Henry took the crown as Henry VII, established the Tudor dynasty and set English history on a new course. For the last 500 years this, the most famous battle of the Wars of the Roses, has excited passionate interest and continuing controversy. Peter Hammond, in a vivid and perceptive account of the battle, retells the story of the tangled dynastic and personal rivalries that provoked the conflict, describes the preparations of the two converging armies and offers a gripping analysis of the contest itself. The latest historical evidence is assessed, including the recent discovery of Richard III's body in Leicester and the fascinating archaeological work that has been carried out on the battlefield. This lucid, authoritative and readable new history will be essential reading for anyone who is intrigued by the short, unhappy reign of Richard III and the trial of strength that destroyed him.

Here's the Amazon UK page.

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The Field of Cloth of Gold by Glenn Richardson

Glenn Richardson provides the first history in more than four decades of a major Tudor event: an extraordinary international gathering of Renaissance rulers unparalleled in its opulence, pageantry, controversy and mystery. Throughout most of the late medieval period, from 1300 to 1500, England and France were bitter enemies, often at war or on the brink of it. In 1520, in an effort to bring conflict to an end, England's monarch, Henry VIII, and Francis I of France agreed to meet at "the Field of Cloth of Gold". In the midst of a spectacular festival of competition and entertainment, the rival leaders hoped to secure a permanent settlement, as part of a European-wide "Universal Peace". Richardson offers a bold new appraisal of this remarkable historical event, describing the preparations and execution of the magnificent gathering, exploring its ramifications, and arguing that it was far more than the extravagant elitist theatre and cynical charade it historically has been considered.

Here's the Amazon UK page.

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Writing Faith and Telling Tales: Literature, Politics, and Religion in the Work of Thomas More by Thomas Betteridge

Thomas More is a complex and controversial figure who has been regarded as both saint and persecutor, leading humanist and a representative of late medieval culture. His religious writings, with their stark and at times violent attacks on what More regarded as heresy, have been hotly debated. In Writing Faith and Telling Tales, Thomas Betteridge sets More's writings in a broad cultural and chronological context, compares them to important works of late fourteenth- and fifteenth-century vernacular theology, and makes a compelling argument for the revision of existing histories of Thomas More and his legacy.

Betteridge focuses on four areas of More's writings: politics, philosophy, theology, and devotion. He examines More's History of King Richard III as a work of both history and political theory. He discusses Utopia and the ways in which its treatment of reason reflects More's Christian humanism. By exploring three of More's lesser known works, The Supplication of Souls, The Confutation, and The Apology, Betteridge demonstrates that More positioned his understanding of heresy within and against a long tradition of English anti-heretical writing, as represented in the works of Hoccleve, Lydgate, and Love. Finally, Betteridge focuses on two key concepts for understanding More's late devotional works: prayer and the book of Christ. In both cases, Betteridge claims, More seeks to develop a distinctive position that combines late medieval devotionalism with an Augustinian emphasis on the ethics of writing and reading. Writing Faith and Telling Tales poses important questions concerning periodization and confessionalization and will influence future work on the English Reformation and humanist writing in England.

"Writing Faith and Telling Tales is an exciting study poised to resituate Thomas More as a late medieval thinker, revealing his as a corpus of work at odds not only with emergent Protestant writing and practices but with the confessional logic of the Reformation in general. Thomas Betteridge delivers a vivid and compelling picture of Thomas More, a picture that will act as a point of departure for future conversations on this interesting and important author. In addition, this study will serve as an influential survey of early Tudor genres and authors."

Here's the Amazon USA page.

*Note: Unless otherwise noted, all descriptions come from the respective linked Amazon page.

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