The rise and fall of Henry's notorious minister - the most corrupt Chancellor in English history The son of a brewer, Cromwell rose from obscurity to become Earl of Essex, Vice-Regent and High Chamberlain of England, Keep of the Privy Seal and Chancellor of the Exchequer. He maneuvered his way to the top by intrigue, bribery and sheer force of ...
The rise and fall of Henry's notorious minister - the most corrupt Chancellor in English history The son of a brewer, Cromwell rose from obscurity to become Earl of Essex, Vice-Regent and High Chamberlain of England, Keep of the Privy Seal and Chancellor of the Exchequer. He maneuvered his way to the top by intrigue, bribery and sheer force of personality in a court dominated by the malevolent King Henry. Cromwell pursued the interests of the king with single-minded energy and little subtlety. Tasked with engineering the judicial murder of Anne Boleyn when she had worn out her welcome in the royal chamber, he tortured her servants and relations, then organised a 'show trial' of Stalinist efficiency. He orchestrated the 'greatest act of privatisation in English history': the seizure of the monasteries. Their enormous wealth was used to cement the loyalty of the English nobility, and to enrich the crown. Cromwell made himself a fortune too, soliciting colossal bribes and binding the noble families to him with easy loans. He came home from court literally weighed down with gold.
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Unlike Schofield's book on Cromwell, this biography failed to capture the truth from a historian's perspective.
Hutchinson trots out the same lines over and over how Cromwell "single-handedly" managed to undo the monasteries and anything else he set his mind to.
He, also, indicts a previous century from the auspices of our twenty-first century now in progress. We must not fall into this trap. The people at that time, did the best they could under sometimes impossible circumstances.
What Hutchinson fails to realize as he's criticizing Cromwell is that Cromwell didn't make decisions on his own. King Henry VIII was strictly hands-on. Henry dictated everything that happened. If the King told Cromwell that something had to be done "I want this now." Cromwell had to do it. Failure to do so would have cost him his head.
Fabricated evidence planted by the noblemen in Henry's court brought about the death of Cromwell. And unfortunately, the King only realized his tragic mistake several days later.
Publishers Weekly, 2009-07-27 Rising to power with Anne Boleyn's decapitation and losing his own head over the Anne of Cleves debacle, Thomas Cromwell (1485-1540) was Henry VIII's loyal hatchet man-dissolving Catholic monasteries, breaking with the pope and finding ever more loopholes to justify Henry's marital and financial whims. Hutchinson (The Last Days of Henry VIII) effortlessly explains the business side of the Tudor court in which Cromwell's legal mind excelled while giving a one-sided portrait of controversial Anne Boleyn. Of the five royal wives Cromwell knew, the "pockmarked and sadly malodorous" Anne of Cleves receives most of Hutchinson's meager sympathy. In spite of considerable research, the focus on Cromwell's professional life means that the man from humble beginnings still eludes readers as anything more than a petty and "rapacious loan shark." Unlike contemporaries More and Cranmer, Cromwell seems uninterested in religion, friends or family. But those more interested in the nuts and bolts of Henry's court rather than the monarch's soap opera antics will find this a welcome respite from fictionalized Tudor drama. 8 pages illus., 8 pages of color photos. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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