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Born in obscurity in Putney, Thomas Cromwell lived to become a figure of immense significance, central to one of the most momentous decades in British history – the break with Rome, the unprecedented use of parliament and the dissolution of the monastries. The story has been told in many ways, but never as completely and persuasively as in this monumental biography , a masterclass in historical detective work and scholarship. It 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. Diarmaid MacCulloch, a leading historian of the Tudor Reformation and author of many best-selling books on the period, has written the definitive book on Cromwell, revealing for this first time his true place in the making of modern England and Ireland, for good and ill .