Saturday, September 11, 2010

G. J. Meyer, The Tudors

I just lost a post for not saving about a recent popular history of the Tudors. Just as well, I found it disappointing, and would have just gone on at length as to why. (Answer: too much Anglo-Catholic complaining, too little context. More importantly, throws away an excellent chance to take the ultimate dynasty-without-heirs as a case study in what long periods of dynastic insecurity produces in domestic politics.) And Meyer doesn't deserve that after spending all that work and effort on this book, which is a good read and an interesting introduction to the dynasty.

Having finished with Henry the monster, (and being continuosly reminded of being a spectator to the Storm over Stalin at CREES while a grad student at UToronto in the '90s), I'm definitely going to follow through into the reigns of Edward VI and Elizabeth.
In the meantime, some questions:
-Obviously overly fiscal-centric, but what was the role of the Price Revolution in driving the English Reformation. Henry needed the money to pay the bills, which were structural rather than driven by extravagance, sort of thing?
--How is the rise in vagrancy related to the P.R. and the Reformation. Was it exogenous, evidence of economic restructuring? (I like this theory, because I can relate it to the influx of salt cod and perhaps the beginning of potato growing. But the dates for the latter might not work, even if we concede that the potato made its entry into Europe much earlier than once thought, as it was a garden planting, and easily overlooked.)
--How was dynastic insecurity related to all or any of the above three. Do we have a political explanation at the heart of the changes in sixteenth-century England?
--Comparative study time: would we have the America that we have if the Tudors could have just produced some heirs?

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