Big Fat Book in 60 Seconds Flat

For a summer read packed with sex and violence, you can't do much better than David Starkey's Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII (HarperCollins, $29.95). But if its 852-page length seems too daunting, we've lopped off a few headlines. -- Caitlin Petre

* The oddly domestic Catherine of Aragon (wife No. 1) embroidered all of Henry's shirts!

* Before they married, Anne Boleyn (wife No. 2) told Henry she was experiencing ''a fearsome and unquenchable longing to eat apples.'' He took it as a sure sign of pregnancy.

* Henry's royal bed had 10 layers: a litter of straw, a protective canvas, a feather bed, a blanket, two sheets, another blanket, and three fur rugs. Then holy water was splashed on to ward off nightmares.

Originally posted Aug 01, 2003 Published in issue #721 Aug 01, 2003 Order article reprints

From Our Partners