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Publisher's Summary

Written with an exciting combination of narrative flair and historical authority, this interpretation of the tragic life of Catherine Howard, fifth wife of Henry VIII, breaks new ground in our understanding of the very young woman who became queen at a time of unprecedented social and political tension and whose terrible errors in judgment quickly led her to the executioner's block.
On the morning of July 28, 1540, as King Henry's VIII's former confidant Thomas Cromwell was being led to his execution, a teenager named Catherine Howard began her reign as queen of a country simmering with rebellion and terrifying uncertainty. Sixteen months later the king's fifth wife would follow her cousin Anne Boleyn to the scaffold, having been convicted of adultery and high treason.
The broad outlines of Catherine's career might be familiar, but her story up until now has been incomplete. Unlike previous accounts of her life, which portray her as a naïve victim of an ambitious family, this compelling and authoritative biography will shed new light on Catherine Howard's rise and downfall by reexamining her motives and showing her in her context, a milieu that goes beyond her family and the influential men of the court to include the aristocrats and, most critically, the servants who surrounded her and who, in the end, conspired against her. By illuminating Catherine's entwined upstairs/downstairs worlds as well as societal tensions beyond the palace walls, the author offers a fascinating portrayal of court life in the 16th century and a fresh analysis of the forces beyond Catherine's control that led to her execution - from diplomatic pressure and international politics to the long-festering resentments against the queen's household at court.
Young and Damned and Fair changes our understanding of one of history's most famous women while telling the compelling and very human story of complex individuals attempting to survive in a dangerous age.
©2016 Gareth Russell. Excerpt from "Die Lorelei" by Stevie Smith, from Collected Poems of Stevie Smith, ©1957. Reprinted from New Directions Publishing Corp. (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers, Ltd.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Linda Erlich on 08-08-17

Magnifent scholarly work

If you pay attention to the introduction of this book, you will learn that this work is Dr. Russell's doctoral dissertation. It is also not a biography of Queen Catherine Howard. It is a scholarly work on the queen, her family, the court of Henry XIII and his 5th queen, and the politics and society of the mid 16th century. Dr. Russell has done the massive research required for a dissertation. I know the work required because I have written a doctoral dissertation. He has also written a beautiful manuscript also worthy of a doctorate.The detail and beauty of this work is admirable and a pleasurable to listen to. Jenny Funnell's narration is perfect. Her voice and presentation of the work is excellent. I highly recommend this work to all who are interested in British history and especially Tudor England.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Twirlygirl13 on 10-07-17

Very Informative

This was very detailed and factual, but dense reading. At times, I had to back it up to keep track of the current topic. It was interesting but a little dry. A little more encyclopedic than I anticipated.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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