Thomas Cromwell: The Untold Story of Henry VIII's Most Faithful Servant

Atlantic Monthly. Jan. 2015. 456p. maps. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780802123176. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780802191663. HIST
The past decade has provided a bumper crop of material on Thomas Cromwell (1485–1540), with Hilary Mantel's Booker-winning novels and no less than three biographies that provide various evaluations and reestimations of Henry VIII's most famous (and notorious) minister. Borman (Elizabeth's Women) pens a new biography that falls squarely in the reestimation camp, but while the author is on the side of Cromwell's sympathizers, she resists the urge to shy away completely from his more ruthless deeds. The dedication to her subject is apparent, as she delves into every aspect of Cromwell's life and career—his early days in Italy, his political beginnings under Cardinal Wolsey, and his meteoric rise and fall at Henry VIII's court—in an attempt to uncover the person behind the public facade. Unfortunately, concrete evidence for Cromwell's thoughts is somewhat sparse, necessitating some guesswork on Borman's part and an excellent portrait of Cromwell the statesman, but a murky one of Cromwell the man.
VERDICT Though it breaks little new ground, Borman's chronicle is a thorough and pleasantly readable study, much in line with John Schofield's The Rise and Fall of Thomas Cromwell. [See Prepub Alert, 7/21/14.]
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing