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Old January 18th, 2013, 05:38 PM   #1

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Mary Boleyn by Alison Weir


Has anyone read this book?

I'm still thinking about if I should get it or not because I hear mixed views on the book.

Any suggestions?
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 07:45 AM   #2
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I haven't read the book myself, but virtually anything written by Alison Weir on the monarchs -- and/or their spouses and kin for that matter -- of Middle Ages-Renaissance-Reformation England is likely to be well worth the time, regardless of what the naysayers may tell you. Come to think of it, I've probably read close to as many works by both Weir and Antonia Fraser as I have of all other authors on the subject combined.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 08:53 AM   #3

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A lot of the criticism about it seems to be related to the fact that there simply isn't much known about Mary, which is hardly the authors fault. And sometimes, you have to take reviews with a grain of salt - one reviewer on Amazon gave it a poor rating because they thought it was a novel and they were disappointed to discover it's a biography You have to take the stupidity factor into account sometimes.

The thing is, Weir's is only one out of two existing biographies on Mary Boleyn so if you're specifically looking to read a bio on Mary, you've only got two options anyway and I'd be more inclined to go for Weir's. It's not like the other one will have a bunch of info that Weir's doesn't - she is a very thorough researcher. However, if you're just looking for a good non-fiction read or you want to read something by Weir, picking one about a topic/person that not much is known about might wind up being disappointing. So I'd say it depends on your reasons for wanting to read it.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 09:06 AM   #4
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I can't comment on this book but I did read her book on Elizabeth I. In that book she seemed far too pro-Elizabeth(im an admirer of Elizabeth I myself). I don't know if Weir is always so opinionated but it did cloud me not on her scholarship but on her critical faculty. Everything Elizabeth did was defended or justified by Weir.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 09:30 AM   #5

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i haven't read it because I am not very interested in Mary Boleyn, and I don't see how you can write a biography of someone about whom so little is known.

but Alison Weir's books on Henry VIII and Elizabeth I are very good, so the Mary Boleyn one is probably well written, though it must be hard to fill a book on her.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 09:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackydee View Post
I can't comment on this book but I did read her book on Elizabeth I. In that book she seemed far too pro-Elizabeth(im an admirer of Elizabeth I myself). I don't know if Weir is always so opinionated but it did cloud me not on her scholarship but on her critical faculty. Everything Elizabeth did was defended or justified by Weir.
I've also read that one; though it's been so long ago I couldn't really say whether or not I thought Weir was too pro-Elizabeth. Then again, both Weir and Fraser are usually more pro than anti on the historical figures they write about, as are most biographers in fact. But let's face it: hatchet jobs are a relative rarity amongst biographers; unless of course you're dipping your quill into the acid-well to do a bio on someone the likes of Hitler or Stalin, then the gloves are off. But if you really want to get some inside dirt on Elizabeth I, try Neil Hanson's superb The Confident Hope of a Miracle: The True Story of the Spanish Armada. In it, Hanson goes into great detail over Liz's infamous tightfistedness and vanity. For instance: Despite Elizabeth's steadfast refusal to adequately finance England's fleet at a time when the nation's independence was in the greatest jeopardy, if it wasn't for the absolute brilliance and superiority of England's admirals -- men such as Drake and Howard -- Spain's fleet would've not only defeated the English, but in consequence have then occupied and subjected the Isle to its dominance and authority. The English navy won in spite of their queen, not because of her. Now just how many Becky bios do you think are going to spend much time on that "bit of trivia"? She also indirectly contributed to Spain's ire by tacitly supporting English piracy on the high seas (she got a nice cut of whatever gold was seized by these marauders from Spanish ships returning from the New World weighted down with the stuff). There's lots more included in Hanson's book that you won't find in run-of-the-mill bios on "Good Queen Bess."

Last edited by augustus; January 22nd, 2013 at 10:15 AM.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 10:45 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by augustus View Post
I've also read that one; though it's been so long ago I couldn't really say whether or not I thought Weir was too pro-Elizabeth. Then again, both Weir and Fraser are usually more pro than anti on the historical figures they write about, as are most biographers in fact. But let's face it: hatchet jobs are a relative rarity amongst biographers; unless of course you're dipping your quill into the acid-well to do a bio on someone the likes of Hitler or Stalin, then the gloves are off. But if you really want to get some inside dirt on Elizabeth I, try Neil Hanson's superb The Confident Hope of a Miracle: The True Story of the Spanish Armada. In it, Hanson goes into great detail over Liz's infamous tightfistedness and vanity. For instance: Despite Elizabeth's steadfast refusal to adequately finance England's fleet at a time when the nation's independence was in the greatest jeopardy, if it wasn't for the absolute brilliance and superiority of England's admirals -- men such as Drake and Howard -- Spain's fleet would've not only defeated the English, but in consequence have then occupied and subjected the Isle to its dominance and authority. The English navy won in spite of their queen, not because of her. Now just how many Becky bios do you think are going to spend much time on that "bit of trivia"? She also indirectly contributed to Spain's ire by tacitly supporting English piracy on the high seas (she got a nice cut of whatever gold was seized by these marauders from Spanish ships returning from the New World weighted down with the stuff). There's lots more included in Hanson's book that you won't find in run-of-the-mill bios on "Good Queen Bess."
Cheers, i'll have a look into the biography you mention. Im certainly not a hater of Elizabeth I, however I do not want to read a book which portrays her in an unrealistically favourable light.

Im having second thoughts on wether it was Weir's book that was so positive of Elizabeth. I think it was but I may be mistaken
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 01:36 PM   #8

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Has anyone read Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir. Was thinking of getting it.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 10:35 PM   #9
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Unfortunately Alison Weir sometimes allows her own prejudices to influence whether or not she quotes research available. She sometimes ignores evidence which conflicts with her own views.

She has also taken to writing fiction, whilst describing herself as a 'historian' and sometimes creates the impression of blurring the differences between history and fiction.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 11:20 PM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thibault View Post
Unfortunately Alison Weir sometimes allows her own prejudices to influence whether or not she quotes research available. She sometimes ignores evidence which conflicts with her own views.

She has also taken to writing fiction, whilst describing herself as a 'historian' and sometimes creates the impression of blurring the differences between history and fiction.
Historians can't also write fiction? I wasn't aware that was a part of the definition of "historian".
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