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The Woodvilles: The Wars of the Roses and England's Most Infamous Family Hardcover – 8 Oct 2013

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (8 Oct. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752488120
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752488127
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 345,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Susan Higginbotham is a novelist with a particular interest in medieval and Tudor history. Her novels include "Her Highness, the Traitor"; "The Stolen Crown"; "The Traitor's Wife"; and "The Queen of Last Hopes."

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By David J. Evans on 24 Nov. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a well written and balanced view of the Woodville family and has clearly involved a lot of detailed research.
What a pity it is therefore that the author didn't bother to put in at least one fairly decent family tree. It really is a must when you are writing about a widespread family with complex relationships and sometimes second Marriages. I was lucky in having Arlene Okerlund's book on Elizabeth Woodville, which has several useful family trees to which I was constantly referring.
What a pity to spoil a good read with an elementary mistake like this.

David Evans
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Rothwell on 28 Jun. 2014
Format: Hardcover
An excellent book that details not only the history of the Woodville family but also shows how their reputation has been tarnished throughout the years. The author factually supports her reasoning with primary sources, plus clearly shows the "who, when, why and where" aspect of certain negative remarks that have been captured and held onto by historians ever since.
I feel as though this book was very much needed, as the current readers of historical fiction are bombarded by negative and inaccurate portrayals of the Woodville family. In both Philippa Gregory's novels and TV series 'The White Queen' Elizabeth and her mother are shown to be witches that used magic to ensnare the king. The whole notion makes me shake my head in disgust, so it was refreshing to read of Elizabeth without magic being involved.
Obviously Ms. Higginbotham's viewpoint is very different to some of her fellow historians, most notably Paul Murray Kendall, but that is not to say that one is right and the other is wrong. That's not how history works. Historians have their own opinions and personal biases that should be backed up by primary sources. The use of said sources however are often selective and therefore no historian could claim to be unbiased.
Although fundamentally in support of the Woodville family Ms. Higginbotham nonetheless gives a concise and conclusive history of the Woodvilles that I can assure you is landed firmly in reality and not some magical universe of long ago. A refreshing read.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By samapajo on 15 Nov. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was really looking forward to learning more about the Woodvilles but as other reviewers have pointed out - it doesn't shed any new light on the family. I found it difficult to read as it kept jumping around and I sometimes struggled to work out who she was referring to. I feel I wasted my money
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Carole P. Roman on 1 Dec. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent accounting of the Rivers family. Susan Higginbotham has written a precise and unbiased book about the Elizabeth Woodvilles' large family. She describes each one of them, giving both depth and substance to a family long maligned by their detractors. Stripping away gossip and legends, she is able to paint an authentic picture of a group coping with political dynamics in the fifteenth century. She addresses the family myths, describes the customs, and gives a very good idea of life during this time period. Even social slights and insults are explained to give substances to the political climate at the time. Great book that gives an alternate view of a family often seen as nothing more that interlopers.
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By Anonymous on 27 July 2015
Format: Hardcover
Despite Higginbotham's interesting blog, and after having enjoyed her "Queen of Last Hopes" I found this unreadable. I understand the 21st-century need to make history accessible. However, the cliche-ridden, postmodern idiom intrudes on the reader, occasionally lacks objectivity, and obscures the values of the time. We are, for example, told that Jacquetta was made a Lady of the Garter "probably to put her on the same level as Gloucester's duchess, who also sported Garter robes" (p.10). Regarding Jacquetta's marriage: "a medieval wife's role was primarily to produce children, and Jacquetta excelled at this task" (p.13).

It's a grating prose style; I gave up after a couple of days.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Blue and white on 3 Sept. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very interesting book about the Woodvilles. Gives a good impression of what the Wars of the Roses was really like, and how one family wielded so much power.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rubens Silva on 1 Mar. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is an excellent and good analytical book about the family that has described as hungry for power. There are lots of myths around them but no evidences.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 31 Dec. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have to say that what the author wrote about the Woodvilles was good and I feel that history has not been fair to them. I think they suffered bad reputation because they were a large family. Had there been no more than six children by Jacquetta, Dowager Duchess of Bedford and Lord Rivers, Richard Woodville, it would not have seemed that they had taken over Edward IV's court. Richard, Duke of Gloucester it seemed had been influenced by his family regarding the Woodvilles.

By the time the author got to 1483, she became biased and I'm afraid to say, said the usual things about Richard III. Maybe I'm one of the very few who feel that both the Woodvilles and Richard III had not been treated fairly by history. However, I do feel he was wrong to execute Anthony Woodville and Richard Grey and it was over something which was minor. It made me even more anti=death penalty despite the popularity of its return in this country. Today, far from being 'treason', at most Anthony and his nephew Richard could have been accused of kidnapping their royal relative but on the other hand, the Duke of Gloucester could have equally been accused of that. Perhaps eventually King Richard eventually came to regret his actions.
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