Following on from my post on ‘The Last Days of Anne Boleyn’ I thought it would be useful to suggest some further reading for anyone interested in finding out more about Anne.
The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn: The Most Happy – Eric Ives
Eric Ives brilliant book is seen by many as the definitive biography on Anne Boleyn. Expertly researched as you would expect from the leading expert on Anne it is a fascinating read and definitely one for the collection. Eric was a real Anne supporter and was very much of the view that Cromwell was responsible for her downfall. In the book he explores all the evidence in detail and makes a compelling argument in favour of this theory. Ives book is so much more than just an account of Anne’s downfall, it also provides detail on her early life, courtship with Henry and involvement in religion and politics. We don’t have much evidence on Anne ‘the person’ or her early years but Ives painstakingly put’s together everything we do have to paint a full and detailed account of her life.
Anne Boleyn: Fatal Attractions – G W Bernard
G W Bernard’s biography of Anne couldn’t be more different to Eric’s as he is of the opinion that Anne was guilty of adultery, which he also argued the case for in ‘The Last Days of Anne Boleyn’. Such is the difference of opinion between Bernard and Ives that they spent much of the 1990′s debating the subject in historical journals and when this book was published in 2011 it was seen by many as an attempt by Bernard to reignite the argument. As a huge fan of Anne Boleyn I totally disagree with what I’ve heard from Bernard but I am yet to read his book. Whilst I don’t believe it will sway my own opinions I definitely intend to read and review the book in the future as I think it’s important to hear all sides of an historical debate, however flimsy or sensational you believe the arguments to be!
The Lady In The Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn – Alison Weir
The third book I want to recommend is slightly different to Ives’ and Bernard’s biographies because it focuses only on the last days of Anne’s life much like the documentary ‘The Last Days of Anne Boleyn’ which author Alison Weir also appeared in. In her book Alison provides in-depth detail on Anne’s trial, her final days in the tower and her execution that is both well researched and engaging to read. Alison’s views very much shadow those of Ives in that she believes Cromwell was responsible for Anne’s downfall because they’d fallen out of politics and she threatened the security of his position.
The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn – Retha M Warnicke
To balance the arguments a little the final book I’m looking at is another controversial one that also goes against Eric Ives views. In Retha’s account of Anne Boleyn’s life she puts forward the theory that Anne miscarried a deformed foetus in 1536 and this caused her to be arrested on charges of witchcraft, incest and adultery. Warnicke also believes the men arrested with her where known homosexuals and that’s what helped the charges against them stick. Interestingly Philippa Gregory was the only person on ‘The Last Days of Anne Boleyn’ who seemed to give any credence to the myth that Anne’s miscarried a deformed foetus, a storyline she exploits in her novel ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ along with the idea that Anne’s brother and co-accused, George Boleyn, was homosexual. Like Gregory I feel Warnicke has chosen to focus on some highly sensational rumours the evidence for which either doesn’t exist or comes from a very unreliable source. It is, however, always interesting to hear another side to this argument if only to keep this fascinating debate on Anne’s life alive and it’s why I thought Warnicke’s book deserved a mention here.