Anne Boleyn Five Hundred Years of Lies Book (it's awful, here's why)
There's a new book out that has been taking the Tudor World by storm called Anne Boleyn, 500 Years of Lies. In it, the author's thesis is twofold:
1) Everyone has been lying about Anne for the past five hundred years, and the historians are lazy, and
2) Henry VIII was a clinical sociopath
I have serious problems with this book. I've gone into detail in this review I wrote, and the negative Amazon reviews also speak to the historical inaccuracies, and the inflammatory writing style. But basically it comes down to a few points:
- There is no new information in this book. Everything has been taken from other historians, in one case nearly copying a doctoral thesis.
- In the same breath she bashes those same historians, saying they are lazy and have an agenda. They're good enough to cite, but at the same time they're lazy? If they're so lazy, and yet she's taking their work and using it rather than learning Latin so she can read original sources, what level of lazy does that make her?
- She's positioned it so that anyone who doesn't like her book is part of the censorship, and has an agenda against her. Very clever marketing. Like the people who "call" patriotism first, and then commit all sorts of heinous acts in the name of patriotism. But if you call them on it, they can hide behind that mantle.
- Her PR people reached out to bloggers and podcasters, including me, asking for reviews and interviews. When we respond negatively, we have agendas. Same mindset as using the historians and then trashing them. We're good enough to reach out to for interviews and reviews, but when we don't like it, suddenly we have agendas?
It's all so very clever, and post-truthiness. ("Oxford sums up post-truth this way: "an adjective defined as 'relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.")
Here is an editorial from QueenAnneBoleyn.com that breaks it down better than I ever could.
Want to read some REAL information on Anne Boleyn? Check out these books:
The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn by Eric Ives. The definitive Bible on Anne.
The Creation of Anne Boleyn: In Search of the Tudors' Most Notorious Queen by Susan Bordo - talks a lot about how Anne has been portrayed through history.
The Anne Boleyn Collection III from Claire Ridgway of The Anne Boleyn Files, the biggest website on Anne Boleyn out there.