What do people think of David Starkey? Is his work accurate or a bit sensationalist?
He recently criticised female historians for focusing more on the personalities of Henry VIII and his wives than in Henry VIII's historical significance. Do you think this is fair?
[For some related threads, just search on "Starkey" on the site since his name comes up a lot here! - Lara]
The slightly well-knows saying about Starkey is:
"He used to be a fairly decent historian."
I think that about sums it ups.
I certainly think that Starkey is a sensationalist. He seems to enjoy lighting the fuse then sitting back to watch.
He knows very well that if he criticises the seeming proliferation of female writers with names beginning and ending in 'A' then there will be a moral outrage and his own work will be thrust into the spotlight.
He's a drama queen! As a woman I forgive him because he's a great historian and a fun character - I enjoy his outbursts but don't take them too seriously.
That should have been 'well-known'. Sorry about the speed typing errors.
I don't like him because he is far too interested in trying to sound clever and witty. I don't believe he is either, and any historical insights he may have suffer from it. I've invented my own term for him, "Starkey the Snarky"
Starkey, if I remember correctly, said that too many Tudor biographies are written in a "Mills & Boon"-like way. Whatever the merit of his own books, he is certainly right -- fundamentally. There are far too many successful books out there (often labelled as "scholarly" by the media), yet twisting sources and appealing to the supposed wishes of readers, thereby misleading them.
I think he's a great historian he knows his stuff mostly Henry VIII and Elizabeth. But it doesn't mean I actually like him. He loves his subject Henry VIII and clearly favours him, but I thought he was a bit unfair to others historical people such as Henry VII and Henry's older brother Arthur by the way he wrote about them in henry virtuous prince.
He loves himself a bit it seems. But he has interesting insights at times. And has helped make the Tudors as popular as they are today.
I have heard him give a lecture on Tudor history. It wasn't sensationalist at all but very interesting anyway.
And it wasn't boring either! One female historian (fairly young too) was before him and she had absolutely NO idea how to give a lecture or presentation.
Mr Starkey tends to be provocative on TV or in his books, but if anyone gets an opportunity to hear him speak live then do attend. Its definitely worth while!
His books are well written,researched and presented in an interesting and engaging format. He may be a sensationalist at times and he certainly favors Henry VIII. Henry VIII, however, is a sensational historical figure and it's easy to get caught up in trying to analize what made this man tick. Regrdless of what you think of Starkey, everyone knows who he is!
I have heard David Starkey lecture a couple of times and he was excellent. I mentioned on an earlier post last month that I have recently seen Dr Linda Porter speaking about Katherine Parr, and she too was very professional.
She stressed the need for thorough research, right back to original documents, and said she had lately been in doubt about something Starkey had said, which was at odds with often quoted secondary sources, even though he was usually right. When she looked up the original document at the National Archives, she found he was indeed right.
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