British History 1485-1603

I’ve decided to make a post about my reading list for University, the British History 1485-1603. I study this subject now, in the first year, for 10 weeks, during the Michaelmas term and at the beginning of the Hilary term. All these books were included in an email received from the University before I’ve started my studies, and this is why I was able to read a few of these before October. The books without number, but marked with a *, are the ones I read, but weren’t on the first list.

British History 1485-1603

Please note that these 24 books are only the short recommended list. Each topic or monarch has an additional list of recommended reading, including books, chapters in multiple author books, and articles. I use those for essays and if I want to read a bit more about a particular aspect.

I will continue to update this post with links to reviews, as I publish them. To make it easier for my readers, who might be interested in Tudor History, I’ve added the number of stars I gave each book, from 1 to a maximum of 5. This rating is highly subjective, as you can imagine. My rating is accompanied by a one sentence description too.

Books for British History 1485-1603: Course texts

1. Tudor and Stuart Britain by R. Lockyer
2. The Emergence of a Nation State. The Commonwealth of England 1529-1660 by A.G.R. Smith
3. Tudor England by John Guy

These three books are the course texts. Each week I’m given a few chapters from two or all three of them. I’ve decided to read from all books, as, even if the information is similar, it is presented in a slightly different way and I can learn and remember it easier. Each week I have to read up to 100 pages for the weekly seminar.

Books for British History 1485-1603: Other books

1. Henry VII’s New Men and the making of Tudor England by S. Gunn
2. New Worlds, Lost Worlds, The Rule of the Tudors 1485-1600 by S. Brigden
3. The English Family, 1450-1700 by R. Houlbrooke
4. The Mid-Tudor Crisis, 1545-65 by D.M. Loades – 5 stars. It is a short and very enjoyable book.
5. English Reformations: Religion, Politics and Society under the Tudors by Christopher Haigh – 5 stars. It is an entertaining book that sheds light on the biases regarding the reformation.
6. Fires of Faith: Catholic England under Mary Tudor by Eamon Duffy – 5 stars. I’ve enjoyed this book a lot as it shows the people were not as Protestant as it was assumed until recently.
7. Tudor Rebellions by A. Fletcher & D. MacCulloch
8. Images of Rule: Art and Politics in the English Renaissance 1485-1649 by D. Howarth – 5 stars. This is a very interesting book and beautifully written. I think is worth reading.
9. Towns in Tudor and Stuart Britain by S.M. Jack
10. Tudor England and its Neighbours by Glenn Richardson, Susan Doran – 5 stars. Each chapter is authored by a historian, on different aspects of the Tudor England.
11. The British Problem 1534-1714 by B. Bradshaw and J. Morrill
12. Women in Early Modern England by S. Mendelson & P. Crawford

These books are included in the other category, which deals with subjects. While we are not exactly expected to read all the books in this list, I think I will at least look over all of them. Some of the books deal with a longer period than I need and, naturally, I will skip the chapters that are not relevant to my studies, as I can always get the book again and read the rest.

Books for British History 1485-1603: Biographies

1. Henry VII by S. Cunningham – 4 stars. Cunningham compares Henry VII’s reign with Edward IV’s often, so it is an interesting angle to view the history.
2. The Reign of Henry VIII – Personalities and Politics by D.R. Starkey – 3 stars. Interesting view of the reign and the factions, but too harsh at times.
3. Henry VIII by J.J. Scarisbrick
4. Henry VIII by L. Wooding – 5 stars. Wooding views Henry’s role in politics as more active than other historians, giving a different view on his reign.
5. Edward VI by Jennifer Loach – 5 stars. It is a great book, lovely to read.
6. Mary Tudor by J.M. Richards – 5 stars. Offers a different view on Mary. I highly recommend it.
7. Elizabeth I by C Haigh – 5 stars. It is organized on different aspects of her reign and it is a very helpful book. His style of writing is lovely and it can be enjoyed by a non-historian too.
* Elizabeth I by Wallace MacCaffrey – 4 stars. A good book, easy to read, but biased.
8. Elizabeth I by J.E. Neale
9. Elizabeth I and Her Circle by Susan Doran – 3.5 stars. The book is biased towards Elizabeth and I don’t agree with some of the things mentioned there.

Finally the biographies. As you can see, for Henry VIII there are three books recommended. I read two of them and I plan to read the third one, but I don’t think I will read it right now, for lack of time mostly.

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