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October 01st 2009 print

Philippa Martyr

Broody Mary: A Good Thing?

Fires of Faith: Catholic England under Mary Tudor, by Eamon Duffy; Yale University Press, 2009, $40.95. As every schoolchild—well, actually nothing like every schoolchild, especially in Australia, but perhaps every reasonably educated person of a certain age—knows, Mary Tudor was a bloodthirsty Catholic hag who managed to weasel her way onto the rightfully Protestant (or at least Anglican) throne of England. She and her pathetic foreign husband then proceeded to kill everyone in sight until Mary herself mercifully died without living issue. England then got back to being decent and reformist and full of constitutional rights and riches for everyone except slaves (reintroduced to England by Elizabeth I) and Catholics.

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