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Anne Boleyn: One short life that changed the English-speaking world (History Today)

By Colin Hamer
February 2008 | Review by Pam Newton


Anne Boleyn, twenty years old, stepped onto the shore at Dover in the winter of 1521 after several years abroad. She had been sent to France to assimilate French culture, and had used the time well. She was all set to make a big impression at the Tudor court – and did, capturing the heart of Henry VIII. But this woman, who was in the grave by the age of thirty-six and on the throne of England for only three years, provokes strong reactions from many. Was she an immoral woman who seduced Henry away from his rightful wife for the advancement of family and personal gain? In this well-researched, fresh look at Anne, Colin Hamer sets her in her context as a young woman who had come to true faith in Christ, and shows the impact for good she made from her position of influence, an impact we still benefit from today.

  • Publisher: Day One Publications
  • ISBN: 978-1846250835
  • Pages: 144
  • Price: £7.00
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Book Review

For many, Anne Boleyn’s story is influenced by her depiction in films and books about her life. But these portrayals seldom make mention of her spiritual life or the part she played in the history of Christianity in this country.

This little book is subtitled ‘One short life that changed the English-speaking world’ and the author’s aim is to demonstrate Anne’s considerable contribution to the Reformation in England. It also seeks to give a fuller historical picture, revealing both her strengths and weaknesses.

Anne was influenced by the reformed faith of Marguerite d’Angoulême during her teenage years at the French court, and learnt more of reformed teaching through reading. Anne came to believe that the Bible should be available for everyone to read, and her influence on Henry VIII when she became his wife enabled the translation of the Bible into English to proceed.

More of a study-book than a biography, this is not a book to be read at one sitting, but one to use more as a work of reference. It is well written and informative and the author is meticulous in recording his sources of references.

Generally, a useful and well-presented little book.

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