I'm glad to have read The Tudors: The Complete Story of England's Most Notorious Dynasty by G.J. Meyer and am even more glad I don't have to read it again. Well written but deeply depressing, regardless of how accurate Meyer's interpretation is. By the end, the litany of brutality, profligacy, and corruption had become a slog.
One thing that bugged me was the simplicity with which Meyer let some people off the hook while insisting on the depravity of others. John Calvin, for instance, got off easy in this book. Here's Meyer on
Calvin's notion of "double predestination"--of some being marked for damnation just as surely as others are fated for salvation--[which] has too often been regarded as the centerpiece of his theology. It is said to have made his God a kind of insanely cruel monster and to explain the severity of the regimen that Calvin imposed upon Geneva. In fact, however, Calvin regarded predestination as logically inescapable but otherwise beyond human understanding and in practical terms not of great importance. It was his followers who, after his death, moved predestination closer to the center of "Calvinist" belief. Calvin's own view was that the idea of predestination should make it possible for believers to set aside their anxieties about earning salvation and put their trust in the mercy of a gentle, compassionate divine father (who was also, Calvin suggested, a loving mother).
What the what?