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Thomas Cromwell is one of the most famous – or notorious – figures in English history. Born in obscurity in Putney, he became a fixer for Cardinal Wolsey in the 1520s. After Wolsey’s fall, Henry VIII promoted Cromwell to a series of ever greater offices, and by the end of the 1530s he was effectively running the country for the King.
Diarmaid MacCulloch’s biography is the most complete and persuasive life ever written of this elusive figure, a masterclass in historical detective work, making connections not previously seen. It draws together national and international events, and uncovers the channels of power in early Tudor England. The book overturns many received interpretations, for example that Cromwell was a cynical, ‘secular’ politician without deep-felt religious commitment, or that he and Anne Boleyn were allies because of their common religious sympathies – in fact he destroyed her.
MacCulloch’s biography reveals for the first time Cromwell’s true place in the making of modern England and Ireland, for good and ill.
“Thomas Cromwell has famously defied his biographers, but no more. Diarmaid MacCulloch’s book is subtle, witty and precisely constructed. This is the biography we have been awaiting for 400 years” Hilary Mantel.