Dining with Ivan the Terrible

Malcolm Gaskill

  • London’s Triumph: Merchant Adventurers and the Tudor City by Stephen Alford
    Allen Lane, 316 pp, £20.00, April 2017, ISBN 978 0 241 00358 9

The Tudors knew all about the uncertainty caused by weak leadership and isolation on the world stage. After the break with Rome, complete by 1534, England stood alone. Henry VIII’s imperial claims, couched in Thomas Cromwell’s majestic legalese, were introspective, asserting the power of the monarch freed from the constraints of papal rule. The economy was beset by inflation, there were land shortages and there was growing poverty, along with anxiety about the balance of payments and the value of sterling.

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