Fascinating ... Here, Borman’s deep background knowledge serves her—and the reader—well. The pages and years fly by, and one has the feeling of stepping into an engaging historical lecture by a master of the subject ... For readers curious about royal history or fascinated by the styles of leaders in our own time, Henry VIII: And the Men Who Made Him makes for a compelling read. And it will hopefully tide committed Tudor fans over until Mantel’s The Mirror and the Light, the final book in her trilogy about Cromwell, comes out—whenever that may be.
Beautifully perceptive and dynamic ... Readers will be intrigued by Borman’s tales of the interactions between the king and Charles Brandon, Cardinal Wolsey, Thomas More, Eustace Chapuys, and Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk ... in this highly engrossing biography, the notoriously larger-than-life English monarch, seen from an original and revealing perspective, lives anew in full color and in the epic proportions he so well deserves. For all Tudor enthusiasts.
Borman has set aside the usual feminised beats of Henry’s reign (divorced, beheaded, died) to see the king through his interactions with other males ... Borman is a steady guide to this sad compendium of tyranny, although her book might have been arranged with a more ambitious format. The cover of my review copy depicts Henry surrounded by six men in place of six queens; a tighter focus on fewer characters would have elevated the book from a simple biography leaning into the customary sources.