Critics have pointed out that the author’s liberties with the historical record demonstrate a clear ideological bias. [Hilary] Mantel was raised Catholic but is now a vocal critic of that church, which she has said “is not an institution for respectable people.”
Historians debate over ‘Wolf Hall’
Questions about “Wolf Hall” have been raised not only by the Catholic faithful but also in the academy. Professor David Starkey, a historian and president of Britain’s National Secular Society, said there is “not a scrap of evidence” for the narrative and describes the plot as “total fiction.”
Simon Schama, the respected Jewish historian and veteran television presenter, writes in the Financial Times that while he believes that historical novelists should have some leeway for invention and imagination, Mantel has gone too far.
“It grates a bit to accept that millions now think of Thomas Cromwell as a much-maligned, misunderstood pragmatist from the school of hard knocks who got precious little thanks for doing Henry VIII’s dirty work,” Schama writes. “When I was doing research for ‘A History of Britain,’ the documents shouted to high heaven that Thomas Cromwell was, in fact, a detestably self-serving, bullying monster who perfected state terror in England, cooked the evidence, and extracted confessions by torture.”
That’s not a debate. It’s an indictment for fraud dressed up as history. The English Reformation is best described as a revolt of the rich against the poor. English history, ever since then, has consisted of sycophants of the rich and the overclass explaining to the lower orders why they were heroes for oppressing them, and telling outrageous lies like this one to ensure the security of their class. This is Orwellian history.