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Floreat Eltona

David Starkey, 19 January 1984

Tudor Rule and Revolution: Essays for G.R. Elton from his American Friends 
edited by DeLloyd Guth and John McKenna.
Cambridge, 418 pp., £27.50, February 1983, 0 521 24841 8
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Essays on Tudor and Stuart Politics and Government. Vol III: Papers and Reviews 1973-1981 
by G.R. Elton.
Cambridge, 512 pp., £27.50, March 1983, 0 521 24893 0
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Which road to the past? Two Views of History 
by Robert William Fogel and G.R. Elton.
Yale, 136 pp., £9.95, September 1983, 0 300 03011 8
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... study of proclamations shows that nothing much changed under James I, while Frederick Youngs and David Cressy suggest that, on the contrary, fundamental developments were taking place in 17th-century local government which obstinately refuse to fit either the methods or the chronology of the Tudor Revolution. Similarly Dale Hoak’s preliminary study of the ...

Short Cuts

Paul Laity: Alternative Weeping, 7 September 2000

... should consider the sentence of hard labour that is the summer/autumn literary festival circuit. David Starkey – to take an almost random example – is talking about his bestselling Life of Elizabeth I not only at the Rye Festival this month (his session’s already sold out, I’m afraid), but at the Ilkley Literature Festival on 7 October, the ...

Not Biographable

Patrick Collinson: The Faithful Thomas Cromwell, 29 November 2007

Thomas Cromwell: The Rise and Fall of Henry VIII’s Most Notorious Minister 
by Robert Hutchinson.
Weidenfeld, 360 pp., £20, February 2007, 978 0 297 84642 0
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... his account of English constitutional history. But in telling the story of the English monarchy, David Starkey found no occasion even to mention Cromwell’s name.* Now, with the publication of Robert Hutchinson’s biography of Cromwell, it is as if Beria has come back to haunt us, requiring a further revision of the Encyclopedia. And the analogy is ...

Little Bastard

Patrick Collinson: Learning to be Queen, 6 July 2000

Elizabeth: Apprenticeship 
by David Starkey.
Chatto, 339 pp., £20, April 2000, 0 7011 6939 7
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Elizabeth I: Collected Works 
edited by Leah Marcus and Janel Mueller.
Chicago, 436 pp., £25, September 2000, 0 226 50464 6
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... of an intelligence clearly capable of passing the 16th-century equivalent of the eleven plus; and David Starkey’s fluent and vivid account of her early life and apprenticeship. Starkey confesses to having half fallen in love with the young Elizabeth, but to be merely interested in the later Gloriana, ‘her ...

Real Power

Conrad Russell, 7 August 1986

Revel, Riot and Rebellion: Popular Politics and Culture in England 1603-1660 
by David Underdown.
Oxford, 324 pp., £17.50, November 1985, 0 19 822795 7
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The Reign of Henry VIII: Personalities and Politics 
by David Starkey.
George Philip, 174 pp., £9.95, November 1985, 0 540 01093 6
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... on political events at the centre. For him, it is necessary to understand society in depth. For Dr Starkey, on the other hand, it is self-evident that, to understand political events, it is necessary to understand political circles. If Dr Starkey wishes to understand an event in a period of which he has previously known ...

Only Sleeping

Anne Barton: Variations on Elizabeth I, 10 July 2003

England’s Elizabeth: An Afterlife in Fame and Fantasy 
by Michael Dobson and Nicola J. Watson.
Oxford, 348 pp., £19.99, November 2002, 0 19 818377 1
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... and William Camden in her own time, and extending across the centuries to Patrick Collinson and David Starkey in our own, have examined Elizabeth’s reign from a variety of angles, analysing its various subtle strategies and compromises, attempting to evaluate what it achieved. Dobson and Watson, by contrast, are concerned less with Elizabeth’s ...

Tolerant Repression

Blair Worden, 10 May 1990

Thomas Starkey and the Commonweal 
by Tom Mayer.
Cambridge, 326 pp., £32.50, April 1989, 0 521 36104 4
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Politics and Literature in the Reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII 
by Alistair Fox.
Blackwell, 317 pp., £35, September 1989, 0 631 13566 9
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The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn: Family Portraits at the Court of Henry VIII 
by Retha Warnicke.
Cambridge, 326 pp., £14.95, November 1989, 0 521 37000 0
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English Travellers Abroad 1604-1667 
by John Stoye.
Yale, 448 pp., £12.95, January 1990, 0 300 04180 2
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... Mayer’s concern is the literature of political theory. His study examines the ideas of Thomas Starkey, the friend of Cardinal Pole and adviser of Thomas Cromwell, and centres on the programme of reform announced in Starkey’s Dialogue between Pole and Lupset, a work whose significance has been more often acknowledged ...

Crypto-Republican

Simon Adams: Was Mary Queen of Scots a Murderer?, 11 June 2009

Burghley: William Cecil at the Court of Elizabeth I 
by Stephen Alford.
Yale, 412 pp., £25, May 2008, 978 0 300 11896 4
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... both of whom were closely involved in Edward VI’s education. Alford may have been misled by David Starkey, who repeats the myth that in those years Elizabeth was educated by Catherine Parr. Actually, she was educated with Edward and did not live with Catherine Parr until 1547. In 1550, Elizabeth appointed Cecil one of her legal officers and he ...

Past v. Present

Phil Withington: Blair Worden’s Civil War, 10 May 2012

God’s Instruments: Political Conduct in the England of Oliver Cromwell 
by Blair Worden.
Oxford, 421 pp., £35, March 2012, 978 0 19 957049 2
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... debate between historical experts. Now they listen to the platitudes of Simon Schama or watch David Starkey astride the gun barrel of a tank pontificating about Henry VIII. Blair Worden, leading revisionist and elder statesman of 17th-century political history, is on record as worrying that ‘public life has never been less historically conscious or ...

La Bolaing

Patrick Collinson: Anne Boleyn, 18 November 2004

The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn 
by Eric Ives.
Blackwell, 458 pp., £25, July 2004, 0 631 23479 9
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... something that resulted from it. In this Scarisbrick follows contemporary Catholic opinion, and David Starkey has adopted a similar position. Either way, the couple were in for a very long engagement, something almost unknown in the 16th century. It was not until November 1532 that their relationship was consummated, the delays dictated by a most ...

The road is still open

David Wootton: Turpin Hero?, 3 February 2005

Dick Turpin: The Myth of the English Highwayman 
by James Sharpe.
Profile, 258 pp., £8.99, January 2005, 1 86197 418 3
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... of History’, retreats to the old cliché that the business of the historian is to deal in facts. David Starkey complains that the history syllabus in schools places far too little emphasis on facts, and far too much on critical thinking. Sharpe wants the best of both worlds, facts and critical thinking hand in hand. But a history that could answer the ...

Après Brexit

Ferdinand Mount, 20 February 2020

... involvement in Britain’s 5G network, and the bombardiers of Brexit – Iain Duncan Smith, David Davis, Liam Fox et al – are furious too. The industry points out that Huawei kit has already been installed in dozens of cities across the UK and to a more sophisticated standard than the US can currently provide. Ripping it all out would cost billions ...

Heat-Seeking

Susan Pedersen: A.J.P. Taylor, 10 May 2007

A.J.P. Taylor: Radical Historian of Europe 
by Chris Wrigley.
Tauris, 439 pp., £25, August 2006, 1 86064 286 1
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... to the past to justify social commitments, and a broad slice of the populace tunes in whenever David Starkey or Simon Schama goes on the air to talk about anything from Rembrandt to revolution, Taylor is due some small share of the credit. The populism to which popular history is prone will always make intellectuals nervous, but we would do well to ...

The Unlikeliest Loophole

Eamon Duffy: Catherine of Aragon, 28 July 2011

Catherine of Aragon: Henry’s Spanish Queen 
by Giles Tremlett.
Faber, 458 pp., £9.99, April 2011, 978 0 571 23512 4
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... Cathedral burst spontaneously into flame. Any biography of Catherine has to stand comparison with David Starkey’s brilliant full-length portrait in Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII. Starkey has an unrivalled grasp of the intricacies of Tudor court politics, and his portrait of Catherine offers a richer and surer ...

Out of the East

Blair Worden, 11 October 1990

The King’s Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of Thomas Wolsey 
by Peter Gwyn.
Barrie and Jenkins, 666 pp., £20, May 1990, 0 7126 2190 3
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Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution 
by John Morrill.
Longman, 300 pp., £17.95, May 1990, 0 582 06064 8
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The Writings of William Walwyn 
edited by Jack McMichael and Barbara Taft.
Georgia, 584 pp., $45, July 1989, 0 8203 1017 4
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... associated. The purge of 1519, for instance, which has so engrossed Gwyn’s bête noire David Starkey, was ‘a storm in a tea-cup’. The truth, pronounces Gwyn, is that the political world of Wolsey’s ascendancy was ‘not an environment where faction flourished’. It was nevertheless an environment where the Duke of Buckingham got his ...

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