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Robert Hutchinson was defence correspondent for the Press Association 1976-83 before moving to Jane's Information Group to launch JANE'S DEFENCE WEEKLY. He is a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and a contributing author to THE ARCHAELOGY OF THE REFORMATION. He is the author of Last Days of Henry VIII, Elizabeth's Spy Master and Thomas Cromwell. He was appointed OBE in the 2008 Honours List.
January 2012 Non-Fiction Book of the Month. The compelling, dynamic, unfussy history of the first 35 years of Henry VIII, a magnificent and ruthless monarch. Readable and very accessible this was a huge success it when it came out in hardback so it’s great it can be enjoyed by a much wider audience in paperback. It is also a great companion to Robert Hutchinson’s earlier book The Last Days of Henry VIII.
This gripping history from Robert Hutchinson delves into Sir Francis Walsinghamâ€™s dramatic 1580s spy campaign to protect Elizabethan England from the tentacles of Catholic Spain. Elizabeth's Spy Master is thoroughly researched and presents a convincing case for Walsingham as an unsung English hero â€“ albeit one not adverse to the torture and brutal execution of his countryâ€™s enemies.
I don’t know why one is still completely fascinated by this over-written subject and how, although we all know what happened, it still holds us. This, as the title implies, covers the closing period of the life of a very unpleasant man, with a disappointing heir and a court full of gold-diggers and schemers.
The Tudors retained only a precarious grip on the crown of England, founded on a title that was both tenuous and legally flimsy. This left them preoccupied by two major obsessions: the necessity for a crop of lusty male heirs to continue the bloodline, and the elimination of threats from dynastic rivals. None was cursed more by this rampant insecurity than Henry VIII, who embodied not only the power and imperial majesty of the monarchy, but also England's military might. His health always had huge political consequences at home and overseas - hence his unbridled hypochondria. Drawing on the latest historical and medical research, Robert Hutchinson reveals the extent to which the king also grappled with accelerating geriatric decay in his last six years, made more acute by medical conditions that were not only painful but transformed the monarch into a 28-stone psychotic monster, suspicious of everyone around him, including those most dear to him.
The Tudors retained only a precarious grip on the crown of England, founded on a title that was both tenuous and legally flimsy. This left them preoccupied by two major obsessions: the necessity for a crop of lusty male heirs to continue their bloodline, and the elimination of threats from those who had strong, if not superior, claims to the throne than them. None was cursed more by this rampant insecurity than Henry VIII. The king embodied not only the power and imperial majesty of the monarchy, but also England's stature and military might. His health always had huge political consequences at home and overseas - hence his unbridled hypochondria. Henry's last six years saw him embark on two marriages, brutal wars against Scotland and France and the devastating collapse of England's economy. Terror stalked his court, as factions plotted in the shadows behind the throne to snatch ascendancy in religion and political influence. Drawing on the latest historical and medical research, Robert Hutchinson reveals the extent to which the king also grappled with accelerating geriatric decay, made more acute by medical conditions that were not only painful but transformed the monarch into a 28-stone psychotic monster, suspicious of everyone around him, including those most dear to him.
In the Allies' post-war analyses of the Nazis' defeat, the weakness and incompetence of the German intelligence services figured prominently. And how could it have been otherwise, when they worked at the whim of a regime in the grip of ignorant maniacs ? But what if, Robert Hutchinson asks, the worldviews of the intelligence services and the ignorant maniacs aligned more closely than these analyses-and subsequent studies-assumed? What if the reports of the German foreign intelligence services, rather than being dismissed by ideologues who knew better, instead served to reinforce the National Socialist worldview? Returning to these reports, examining the information on enemy nations that was gathered, processed, and presented to leaders in the Nazi state, Hutchinson's study reveals the consequences of the politicization of German intelligence during the war-as well as the persistence of ingrained prejudices among the intelligence services' Cold War successors Closer scrutiny of underutilized and unpublished reports shows how during the World War II the German intelligence services supported widely-held assumptions among the Nazi elite that Britain was politically and morally bankrupt, that the Soviet Union was tottering militarily and racially inferior, and that the United States' vast economic potential was undermined by political, cultural, and racial degeneration. Furthermore, Hutchinson argues, these distortions continued as German intelligence veterans parlayed their supposed expertise on the Soviet Union into positions of prominence in Western intelligence in the early years of the Cold War. With its unique insights into the impact of ideology on wartime and post-war intelligence, his book raises important questions not only about how intelligence reports can influence policy decisions, but also about the subjective nature of intelligence gathering itself.
The gripping story of one of the most enigmatic and alluring figures in British history: a dangerous double agent and Irish rogue in King Charles II's courtOne morning in May 1671, a man disguised as a parson daringly attempted to seize the crown jewels from the Tower of London. Astonishingly, he managed to escape with the regalia and crown before being apprehended. And yet he was not executed for treason. Instead, the king granted him a generous income and he became a familiar strutting figure in the royal court's glittering state apartments.This man was Colonel Thomas Blood, a notorious turncoat and fugitive from justice. Nicknamed the "e;Father of All Treasons,"e; he had been involved in an attempted coup d'etat in Ireland as well as countless plots to assassinate Charles II. In an age when gossip and intrigue ruled the coffee houses, the restored Stuart king decided Blood was more useful to him alive than dead. But while serving as his personal spy, Blood was conspiring with his enemies. At the same time he hired himself out as a freelance agent for those seeking to further their political ambition.In The Audacious Crimes of Colonel Blood, bestselling historian Robert Hutchinson paints a vivid portrait of a double agent bent on ambiguous political and personal motivation, and provides an extraordinary account of the perils and conspiracies that abounded in Restoration England.
'A marvellous romp' The Times 'The clash of blades, the whizzing bullets and galloping hooves guarantee nonstop adventure' Literary Review In May 1671, Colonel Blood became the only person ever to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London. How did he succeed? Why did King Charles II decide to pardon him, and hire him as his personal spy? In a page-turning narrative that reads like a thriller, Robert Hutchinson tells the compelling story of Colonel Blood: turncoat, fugitive, double agent - and the most wanted man in Restoration England.
England in the time of Elizabeth was on the brink of disaster. On the continent, Catholic Spain sought to forcefully reimpose the Catholic Church on its Protestant neighbors. At home, a network of powerful Catholic families posed a real and serious threat to the Protestant queen. In this world, information was power: those closest to the Queen were there because they had the best network to gather it. Elizabeth's Spymaster is the story of the greatest spy of the time: Sir Francis Walsingham. Walsingham was the first 'spymaster' in the modern sense. His methods anticipated those of MI5 and MI6 and even those of the KGB. He maintained a network of spies across Europe, including double agents at the highest level in Rome and Spain---the sworn enemies of Queen Elizabeth and her protestant regime. His entrapment of Mary, Queen of Scots is a classic intelligence operation that resulted in her execution. As Robert Hutchinson reveals, his cypher experts' ability to intercept other peoples' secret messages and his brilliant forged letters made him a fearsome champion of the young Elizabeth. Yet even this Machiavellian schemer eventually fell foul of Elizabeth as her confidence grew (and judgment faded). The rise and fall of Sir Francis Walsingham is a Tudor epic, vividly narrated by a historian with unique access to the surviving documentary evidence.
A dramatic blow-by-blow account of the defeat of the Spanish Armada by the English fleet - a tale of derring-do and disaster on the high seas by one of our best narrative historians. After the accession of Elizabeth I in 1558, Protestant England was beset by the hostile Catholic powers of Europe - not least Spain. In October 1585 King Philip II of Spain declared his intention to destroy Protestant England and began preparing invasion plans, leading to an intense intelligence war between the two countries, culminating in the dramatic sea battles of 1588. Robert Hutchinson's tautly written book is the first to examine this battle for intelligence, and uses everything from contemporary eye-witness accounts to papers held by the national archives in Spain and the UK to recount the dramatic battle that raged up the English Channel. Contrary to popular theory, the Armada was not defeated by superior English forces - in fact, Elizabeth I's parsimony meant that her ships had no munitions left by the time the Armada had fought its way up to the south coast of England. In reality it was a combination of inclement weather and bad luck that landed the killer blow on the Spanish forces, and of the 125 Spanish ships that set sail against England, only 60 limped home - the rest sunk or wrecked with barely a shot fired.
King-makers - Conspirators - Criminals - Nobles - Seducers The Howard family - the Dukes of Norfolk - were the wealthiest and most powerful aristocrats in Tudor England, regarding themselves as the true power behind the throne. They were certainly extraordinarily influential, with two Howard women marrying Henry VIII - Anne Boleyn and the fifteen-year-old Catherine Howard. But in the treacherous world of the Tudor court no faction could afford to rest on its laurels. The Howards consolidated their power with an awesome web of schemes and conspiracies but even they could not always hold their enemies at bay. This was a family whose history is marked by treason, beheadings and incarceration - a dynasty whose pride and ambition secured only their downfall.
The rise and fall of Henry's notorious minister - the most corrupt Chancellor in English history The son of a brewer, Cromwell rose from obscurity to become Earl of Essex, Vice-Regent and High Chamberlain of England, Keep of the Privy Seal and Chancellor of the Exchequer. He maneuvered his way to the top by intrigue, bribery and sheer force of personality in a court dominated by the malevolent King Henry. Cromwell pursued the interests of the king with single-minded energy and little subtlety. Tasked with engineering the judicial murder of Anne Boleyn when she had worn out her welcome in the royal chamber, he tortured her servants and relations, then organised a 'show trial' of Stalinist efficiency. He orchestrated the 'greatest act of privatisation in English history': the seizure of the monasteries. Their enormous wealth was used to cement the loyalty of the English nobility, and to enrich the crown. Cromwell made himself a fortune too, soliciting colossal bribes and binding the noble families to him with easy loans. He came home from court literally weighed down with gold.