Date of publication: August 2009
Publisher: The National Archives
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A fascinating portrait which vividly brings to life the people behind the battles - monarchs, statesmen, courtiers and seadogs - and the ships, weapons and tactics which determined whether they lived or died.
When Henry VII seized the throne after the Battle of Bosworth, his crown was far from secure. Yet for more than a hundred years his descendents ruled in England, surviving religious turmoil, rebellion, foreign armadas, diplomatic crises and losses overseas. Some of them went reluctantly to war whilst others embraced its potential, yet all relied upon military success for their own reflected power and prestige. The Fighting Tudors explores this extraordinary dynasty's strategies for survival, and shows how military action to defend the throne became a sophisticated propoganda tool. It traces the great battles of the Tudor reigns, from campaigns in France and Scotland to the crises of the Armada, and reveals their public and private impact upon individual monarchs - Henry VII, the 'sea king' who pledged to bring peace to his ravaged country; Henry VIII who loved traditional jousting yet commissioned cutting-edge ships for his standing navy; Mary, whose loss of Calais compounded the disappointments of her reign; and Elizabeth, whose dramatic speech at Tilbury became a defining moment of her reign. Ambitious courtiers and military commanders mingle with volatile monarchs and great seafarers - Drake, Hawkins, Raleigh and Frobisher - who through exploration, plunder and courageous defence finally brought England dominance on the seas.
David Loades is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wales, an Associate of the Centre for Early Modern History at the University of Oxford and Honorary Research Professor at the University of Sheffield. A leading authority on Tudor England, he is also a well known and popular writer on its key personalities and events. He has a particular interest in the Tudor navy and has written on several of the period's monarchs and statesmen. Recent books include Henry VIII: Court, church and conflict and Princes of Wales: Royal heirs in waiting, both for The National Archives.