‘That rare thing: a book about the 16th century that said something new.’
The Untold StoryMiranda Kaufmann
Shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize 2018
A Book of the Year for the Evening Standard and the Observer
A black porter publicly whips a white Englishman in the hall of a Gloucestershire manor house. A Moroccan woman is baptised in a London church. Henry VIII dispatches a Mauritanian diver to salvage lost treasures from the Mary Rose. From long-forgotten records emerge the remarkable stories of Africans who lived free in Tudor England…
They were present at some of the defining moments of the age. They were christened, married and buried by the Church. They were paid wages like any other Tudors. The untold stories of the Black Tudors, dazzlingly brought to life by Kaufmann, will transform how we see this most intriguing period of history.
‘Splendid…that rare thing – a work of history about the Tudors that actually says something fresh and new…a cracking contribution to the field.’
‘Enlightening and constantly surprising… Far too many popular studies of the Tudors return the same faces. To its great credit, Black Tudors presents fresh figures and challenges the way we look at them.’
‘Consistently fascinating, historically invaluable…the narrative is pacy, the research sympathetically thorough.. Anyone reading it will never look at Tudor England in the same light again'.
‘[The] audience will find itself in the hands of a historian of excellent investigative skills, who shows attention to detail, uses evidence with appropriate caution, and has the sensibility of a scholar.’
‘The industry and skill with which Miranda Kaufmann has hunted for these sources and teased out their meanings are exemplary… Kaufmann’s greatest skill is her ability to fill in the background on every topic that arises, from piracy to silk-weaving to brothels to Anglo-Moroccan diplomacy…In the hands of a lesser writer this would be mere padding with secondary material, but she investigates every subject in the same depth… a fascinating book, which brings a sadly neglected part of our history to life, and grinds no ideological axes in the process’.
‘Both an eye-opener and a good read.’
‘Miranda Kaufmann writes engagingly as she reveals the untold stories of Africans who lived free, worked for wages, married and died in 16th and 17th century England.’
‘Meticulous research draws on sources from letters to legal papers…The detail [Kaufmann] unearths brings to life those absent from the pages of history.’
‘A thought-provoking account of 10 remarkable people, and a valuable corrective to some unthinking assumptions about both Tudor society and the role of racial minorities in English history.’
‘A powerful and perceptive reassessment of a time that has too long been sidelined by popular historical storytelling.’