Anne Boleyn

Fatal Attractions

G. W. Bernard

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May 31, 2011
256 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
16 b/w illus. 8pp section
ISBN: 9780300170894
Paper

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A new look at Henry VIII's second wife

In this groundbreaking new biography, G. W. Bernard offers a fresh portrait of one of England’s most captivating queens. Through a wide-ranging forensic examination of sixteenth-century sources, Bernard reconsiders Boleyn’s girlhood, her experience at the French court, the nature of her relationship with Henry, and the authenticity of her evangelical sympathies.

He depicts Anne Boleyn as a captivating, intelligent, and highly sexual woman whose attractions Henry resisted for years until marriage could ensure legitimacy for their offspring. He shows that it was Henry, not Anne, who developed the ideas that led to the break with Rome. And, most radically, he argues that the allegations of adultery that led to Anne’s execution in the Tower could be close to the truth.

G. W. Bernard is professor of early modern history at the University of Southampton and editor of the English Historical Review. He is the author of The King's Reformation: Henry VIII and the Remaking of the English Church. He lives in Southampton, UK.

"Here at long last is a historian of great skill and persuasive power…who cuts through the fog of speculation to get to the woman herself, in a book whose accessible style will mean that most readers, like this one, will devour it in a single setting."— Alexander Lucie-Smith, Catholic Herald

"This bold new study of Anne Boleyn is provocative, but it is also shrewd and thoughtful and eminently readable. Bernard's book will certainly make readers think again about what we really know about Henry VIII's most controversial wife—and what we have merely become accustomed to believe we know about her."—Paul Hammer, University of Colorado at Boulder 

‘Bernard deals with historical reputations and questions of guilt and innocence in his magnificent new life of Anne Boleyn…It is brilliantly argued, sometimes exhaustingly so, but it will reward those who come to it with an open mind.’ — Linda Porter, History Today

‘A close-up, fine-focus retelling of dysfunctional royal family history…G W Bernard argues that Anne Boleyn, King Henry’s most controversial temporary queen was very different from her popular sanitised portrait.’ — Patrick Skene Catling, Irish Times

". . . the book is a useful resource and an eloquent assessment of the times."--Carol Herman, The Washington Times

'Bernard has worked his fingers deep into the greasy corners of the sources, like a man picking a chicken carcass for one last oyster of meat. And this book is pleasantly written … certainly an attention grabber.' — Dan Jones, The Spectator

'Bernard is an outstandingly diligent and resourceful archival historian ... He is also by instinct a histroiographical street fighter, refusing to take on trust the findings of other scholars, even, or perhaps especially, when they are the stuff of broad historical consensus ... To call Bernard's book a revisionist biogrpahy would be something of an understatement. It sets out to turn completely on its head 'the traditional view of Anne.'' - Peter Marshall, Literary Review

'His [Bernard's] path, and it's a noble one, is to do painstaking research, consider feasible alternatives, and put cats among the historiographical pigeons … Berbnard's brave book adds new twists to the mystery.' - Jonathan Wright, The Herald

“It is energetic, contentious and refreshing, and an object lesson in how to write history without taking anything for granted.”—Lucy Wooding, English Historical Review

The King’s Reformation
Henry VIII and the Remaking of the English Church

G.W. Bernard

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The Late Medieval English Church
Vitality and Vulnerability Before the Break with Rome

G.W. Bernard

View details