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  • The Six Wives of Henry VIII

  • Written by: Alison Weir
  • Narrated by: Simon Prebble
  • Length: 22 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Europe
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (48 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This acclaimed best seller from popular historian Alison Weir is a fascinating look at the Tudor family dynasty and its most infamous ruler. The Six Wives of Henry VIII brings to life England’s oft-married monarch and the six wildly different but equally fascinating women who married him. Gripping from the first sentence to the last and loaded with fascinating details, Weir’s rich history is a perfect blend of scholarship and entertainment.

©1991 Alison Weir (P)2002 Recorded Books

What listeners say about The Six Wives of Henry VIII

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

More Than Just Six Wives...

I was inspired to get this book because I wanted to learn more about Henry's Wives. History only shares their ends and not their stories. I would highly recommend this book if your just as curious as I was about these six women who were screwed over by this man.

5 people found this helpful

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Great for history buffs... NOT a novel

Amazing research went into this book and it's very satisfying you're interested in the topic. I learned a lot and thought the narrator did a great job. That being said, this is NOT a novel but instead a reporting and interpretation of facts from contemporary source material and more recent works. If you're looking for historical fiction this isn't it (try Philippa Gregory) but it's great for fans of history.

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really enjoyed

I think weir is great and i love the period so i found the whole thing rather gripping.

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history

A very well written book. It helped to understand the history and facts about Henry VIII .

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Very interesting

I totally enjoyed this history lesson on how the wives of this king were treated and punished.

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  • Troy
  • 2013-10-29

Overview AND Sordid Details

Alison Weir is one of my favorite British historians. I've read a couple of her books in paper form, and she sold me instantly. Via audio, the tales within her pages come to life. Weir is one of those gifted storytellers who can give you both the broad strokes and the details so as to help the reader easily navigate the political and emotional landscape of a subject matter as charged and as tangled as Tudor history.

With any book on Tudor history, I always recommend to the beginner to start with Henry VIII simply because his story is highly engaging and paints the path backwards and forwards through this period. As such, this book is not one I'd automatically recommend for beginners, but I'd certainly recommend it as supplemental reading to Weir's equally amazing Henry VIII biography. That said, this book's focus keeps Henry at the forefront for obvious reasons, and so a beginner could easily start here too. The material is friendly to the novice despite bringing the queens to the spotlight.

For the more advanced student of Tudor history, it's the details and how they weave together that makes this book a winner. The backgrounds, upbringings, emotional states, intellects, and spirituality of the queens are examined and put into context with their king and his ever-changing political machine. Preconceived notions and common misconceptions about each of them are challenged and clarified. The end result is that the reader walks away not only with a better understanding of who these great women were, but also of the circumstances that forged them.

An eloquently told history deserves and eloquent narrator, and Simon Prebble is well-chosen for the task. He has that perfect "documentary voice" that makes the topic at hand seem even more dignified and polished, even in those moments when the story is clearly anything but. He readily engages the material, making it that much easier for the reader to be drawn in and immersed.

67 people found this helpful

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  • Erika
  • 2013-04-07

Great History

Where does The Six Wives of Henry VIII rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

In the top 10.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The beheading of Anne Boleyn and the events leading to Catherine Howard's downfall.

Any additional comments?

This was a facinating look at 6 facinating women. Ms Wier did an excellent job presenting the histories of them women and what motivated them and moved them before, during, and after their times as queen. Anyone interested in Medieval history and the history of England in general would enjoy this book.

22 people found this helpful

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  • R. Campbell
  • 2013-05-22

The Tudors At Their Best

Read from January 21 to February 01, 2013

Excellent read. I have read several books that cover the lives of the Tudors and more specifically Elizabeth, Mary and Henry. However, none had done much with the wives of Henry VIII beyond Jane Seymour having been the mother of Edward VI. So I picked this one up and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Weir has written several first class histories on this period so there is much overlap. The first third of the book was not only familiar, but in some cases a direct re-tracing of steps. However, the details were oriented toward the lives of the wives, not the politics or religion. In the middle of the book the story provides detail on not only the lives of the wives, but of Henry as a husband and private person. Weir creates a portrait of a powerful leader struggling with ruling a nation while growing older, heavier and having massive issues with fatherhood and fathering.

As the book gets to Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr, Weir does not disappoint. In many respects this is the same story I've read from the point of view of the Children of Henry, the Life of Elizabeth and other histories, but from the point of view and experience of these three women. Weir creates portraits of real people which allow the reader a meaningful experience beyond a simple understanding of the facts.

All six of these women had fascinating stories. Having been married to Catherine of Aragon the longest, the largest single portion involves her life. Having been married to Catherine Howard for the shortest interval, the book tells the tale and moves on. I enjoyed Weir's following through with the stories of Anne of Cleves and Catherine Parr who outlived Henry. Thus, this was truly the story of the wives from beginning to end.

48 people found this helpful

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  • Patrick
  • 2013-01-01

Golden Oldie

What did you love best about The Six Wives of Henry VIII?

Not a new title but a solid pick for any history buff, reality-show junkie or anyone interested in reading about a king of immense capacity, talent, drive, charm, intelligence ... and unbridled lust. From a true Renaissance man of letters and politics, Henry faces the twin drives of a need for a male heir and an unrestrained sexual appetite and proceeds through his reign with increasing frustration, desire and rapacity. As complex as he is towering, the women are treated with balance and moderation. A fine listen!

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Six Wives of Henry VIII?

His first wife, faithful, strong and pious, sets a standard no other wives could match.

35 people found this helpful

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  • Bridget
  • 2013-02-25

Cannot praise enough!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Best treatment of Henry's wives that I have ever, ever run across.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The wives - all six.

What about Simon Prebble’s performance did you like?

His authoritive, glorious British voice was able to convey a range of emotions without sounding patronizing. Very hard in this serious book.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

You know the king- now meet the women behind him..

Any additional comments?

I've been listening to audible books for decades and this is absolutely my favorite.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Ana Mardoll
  • 2012-11-03

Good Narration, Great Historical Account

The Six Wives of Henry VIII / B009PRIE2K

I gave "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" five stars when I rated the text version, and I'm happy to give this audiobook the same, or at least four-and-a-half stars. I don't care for Simon Prebble as much as for Weir's other narrators; in general I prefer narrators of the same gender as the author for non-fiction, and in specific to this case, I don't care for some of Prebble's pronunciations. I preferred Judith Boyd's ("The Lady in the Tower") smooth "Shap-we" (for Eustace Chapuys) to Prebble's "Chap-poo-we". But these are minor flaws that I'm prepared to forgive for the sake of the overall text.

If you're coming to the audiobook without having read the book, this is a solid scholarly look at the six wives of Henry VIII, from the childhood of Katherine of Aragon to the death of Anne of Cleves. I especially enjoy that this book really is about the wives and not about Henry, and I also highly recommend the following companion text "The Children of Henry VIII".

~ Ana Mardoll

32 people found this helpful

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  • Pam
  • 2013-02-17

Deep background for "The Tudors"

I read this book because I wanted to learn more about the characters I saw on Showtime's "The Tudors." And boy, did I! There's a lot of information here. My favorite part was the story of Catherine of Aragon, who didn't receive as much attention in the TV show. In real life, she was a complex person, flawed but very strong, and the book shows how she was a product of her family and the culture of her time.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Fun Lovin Lady
  • 2012-10-15

Long Awaited, Unabridged Version! Me So Happy!

Why am I so happy? Thank you for asking.
It just so happens, that Alison Weir, is one of my all time favorite authors. And if that is not enough, Simon Prebble, is (you guessed it) one of my all time favorite narrators.
Put both of those things together, and then, add the fact that I have been waiting for this book to come out in an unabridged format, for what seems like FOREVER!
So, now you know.
This book is well worth the credit! Snap it up as soon as you can. You'll be glad you did!

23 people found this helpful

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  • Lisa
  • 2016-05-08

Great marriage of history and entertainment

Beautifully and meticulously written, and read by the fabulous Simon Prebble, what could be better?

6 people found this helpful

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  • CB
  • 2013-04-18

A nice companion to fictional novels of the era

If you could sum up The Six Wives of Henry VIII in three words, what would they be?

Facts Are Fun!

What did you like best about this story?

I appreciated that the book was based on historical facts, but not dry and uninteresting.

Have you listened to any of Simon Prebble’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Great as always!

Any additional comments?

Though this book is non-fiction, the facts are still so interesting that it's occasionally hard to believe that these things actually happened.

7 people found this helpful