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Bosworth: The Birth of the Tudors Hardcover – 23 May 2013

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: W&N; 4th Impression edition (23 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0297863762
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297863762
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3.9 x 23.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 196,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Chris Skidmore gained a double first in History at Christ Church, Oxford, where he continued with postgraduate research. Chris is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and in 2010 was elected Member of Parliament for Kingswood. He is Vice-Chairman of the All Party Group for History and Archives and a member of the Education Select Committee.

Aged 25, Chris published Edward VI: The Lost King in 2007. Chris' second book, Death and the Virgin: Elizabeth, Dudley and the Mysterious Fate of Amy Robsart was published in 2010 and was 'highly commended' by the judges of the John Rhys Llewelyn prize.
Bosworth: The Birth of the Tudors was published in May 2013, and has already been described by The Spectator as the 'definitive account' of the battle that saw Henry Tudor claim the crown from Richard III.

Chris is currently working on a full biography of Richard III, to be published by Weidenfeld & Nicholson.

Chris' Author website is

Product Description


An authoritative overview of the causes and consequences of the most important battle in all of the Wars of the Roses (Philippa Gregory)

enjoyable and forensically researched ... Skidmore delves far into the histories of both the Wars of the Roses and the Tudor family ... This fine, scholarly and elegantly written book is well worth reading by anyone who hankers to fill in the many blank patches in one of Britain's most famous battles (Dan Jones THE DAILY TELEGRAPH)

absorbing and beautifully illustrated study of the battle and of the fiendishly complex yet grimly fascinating Wars of the Roses ... Chris Skidmore is a well-informed and dispassionate guide through the astounding switchback turns of fortune's wheel that brought Henry the crown, reputedly found in a thornbush on the battlefield and set on his head by one of those who had deserted Richard (Nigel Jones SUNDAY EXPRESS)

[Bosworth] is just the right book for those whose interest has been piqued by the archaeology...a vivid picture of the death of the last Plantagenet king... it is certainly now the definitive account of the battle (Leanda de Lisle THE SPECTATOR)

thoughtful, well-sourced... Skidmore is also good on Richard III. He is characterised as bellicose, all too aware of his tenuous grasp on the crown he usurped from his young nephew Edward V... Skidmore expertly handles the accretion to [Henry's] army of allies and defectors from Richard as it trekked through Wales, a thrilling narrative of overcoming the odds (Paul Lay LITERARY REVIEW)

Skidmore's excellent book...expertly guides the reader through a minefield of facts (MAIL ON SUNDAY)

Chris Skidmore's new book explores the background to Henry VII's claim to the throne and the dynasty he founded, drawing on eyewitness reports, newly discovered manuscripts and archaeological evidence (YOUR FAMILY HISTORY)

No matter how many times they are recounted, the improbable and arduous circumstances by which Henry Tudor came to the throne continue to impress... Bosworth is a well-executed and well-informed book... well written and approachable (TLS)

There is a real need for this book, which could not have been published more opportunely... Chis Skidmore tells the story again, very readably, with an admirably complete knowlege of all the sources and the latest research... Chris Skidmore has written a first-rate book that will be enjoyed by all those who are fascinated by the Wars of the Roses (Desmond Seward THE TABLET)

One of the most important battles of British history has been in the news recently, with its location debated among archaeologists. Historian Skidmore gives his opinion on this, after skilfully weaving in the events that led to the battle, from Edward IV's death to the march of Henry Tudor, iwth only a short, vividly described chapter on the engagement itself... A well-researched account of the battle and events surrounding it (YOUR FAMILY TREE)

This well researched account of how a complete outsider managed to win the throne in 1485 deserves a place on the bookshelves of anyone interested in the Wars of the Roses ...Chris Skidmore discusses the Wars in general and the politics and personalities behind them, and does so with clarity and verve (BATTLEFIELD, The Magazine of the Battlefield Trust)

Mr Skidmore uses extracts from many contemporary accounts, information from the latest archaeological findings, and the proof discovered recently of the actual location of the battlefield, to great advantage. The discovery of the remains of Richard III in a Leicester car park late in 2012 came just in time for a postscript to be added to this scholarly but readable history. (PENNANT)

Skidmore's narrative style is engaging, and he sets out fair arguments for both sides ... both the student of this period and the first-time reader would gain a lot of knowledge and enjoyment from this book. (HISTORICAL NOVELS REVIEW)

A forensic and entertaining account of 1485 And All That (Dan Jones THE DAILY TELEGRAPH 'best history books of the year')

An action-packed account of the many events leading up to Bosworth, the last time an English king was to die on a battlefield, of the people involved and of their complex relationships and divided loyalties. With its wealth of local background, its detail and its lively narrative, Bosworth is a must for the reading list of anyone whose interest in Richard III has been either sparked off or renewed by the recent Greyfriars discovery (LEICESTERSHIRE & RUTLAND LIFE)

Book Description

The battle that changed the course of English history.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By limbourg on 31 May 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The story is compelling and vividly told, simply incredible how little events could have significantly altered the course of Henry becoming king. Very well exposed is also the high degree of uncertainty under which even decisions to enter battle were taken.
Why not 5 stars? My impression is that the first and longest part of the book, before Bosworth battle war is better written and researched, while I found the part after Bosworth written somehow in a rush like attempting to finish the book and if as the author was less interested in the topic. This is also the part where there are some repetitions of events or even phrases. I think a better editing and a deeper analysis of the challenges still faced by Henry the VII would have benefited the book and pleased the reader, eg there is no mention of the extinguishing of the Plantagenet male line thru the execution of Eduard Earl of Warwick.
As a reader from the Continent less acquainted with geography of the British Island, I also would welcome more and more detailed maps.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By JANEITE on 16 Jun 2013
Format: Hardcover
Bosworth, The Birth of the Tudors is a re-telling of the lethal soap opera which modern readers know as the Wars of the Roses, culminating in the end of the ruling Plantagenet line at Bosworth field 1485.

It begins with the unsuitable mating of Owen Tudor with Katherine de Valois, widow of the late king Henry V, producing two sons: Edmund and Jasper. From this inauspicious beginning the next ruling dynasty would come - after Richard III's act of usurpation brought his house to a finish.

All the events are covered: Henry VI's ineptness; his Queen's militancy; the physical intimacy which brought about the birth of a prince but catapulted the sire into a catatonic state; the rage of men who physically fought to keep the English Kingdom of France 'betrayed' by the politicians at home and a 'French' queen; the apportioning of blame and the power plays which brought a nation to its knees both by the culling of the ruling aristocracy and the ruination of the land; the 'Yorkist' supremacy brought to an end by its King's carnal appetites and a mother's love which burned quietly and fearlessly, it's ambition increasing opportunistically with every error of Richard's, to deliver to the exhausted and indignant nation a 'Lancastrian' king.

One of Richard's misfortunes was to have no power base in the south. When he sought the assistance of his northern supporters to shore up his regime, the north/south divide was all too obvious. He also gave too much to Buckingham and although almost everyone hated the Woodvilles, nobody hated them as much as Richard did to forgive the murder of his brother's children. I suspect also that Richard's appearance worked powerfully on the medieval mind, which equated deformity with the dark side.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By BermondseyStu on 1 Nov 2014
Format: Paperback
Weeeeelllll, I love this period of history and looked forward to reading this book. But, I found the authors tendency to colour the narrative to influence the reader into believing Richard was a ruthless, plotting and cynical human being to be pretty irritating. Expressions such as 'playing the role of a concerned uncle ' (or something similar) pepper the text, way before you get to the princes disappearance or indeed the battle that ended Richards life. Clearly the author believes in his guilt and is doing his best to colour the readers judgement. But that aside for a second, it's also a clumsy read. The text wanders and you find yourself going off on (sometimes irrelevant) tangents. It is however very well researched, but the constant references to the sources and the endless lists of who got paid what according to somebody-or-others ledger interrupt the flow of the book. Granted, it's not a novel, but it still needs to flow and be engaging and this is where the author doesn't succeed so well. I found myself skipping reams of irrelevant minutiae to pick up the thread again. The timeline is a little weird too, I made it to Bosworth but in the end I just sort of gave up. It could so easily have been a gripping, interesting read, but sadly it falls short, although it may teach you some stuff that you may not did me.
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By DennisF on 30 Sep 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Prior to reading this book, I had read Richard III and Warwick The King Maker by Paul Murray Kendall. Hence, I had some background knowledge. Kendall’s books were rather supportive of the Yorkist cause, so reading a fresh view point was welcoming. Although the title is Bosworth, the book is much more an account of the War of the Roses that culminated in Bosworth where Henry Tudor defeated Richard III. In this book, there is a lot of detail to take on so that some general prior reading would be helpful. I found it useful to make a copy of the family tree provided at the start and to use it as an aide memoir. Otherwise, I would have become hopelessly lost in the gigantic struggle for power between the Houses of Lancaster and York that lasted for over 60 years. Henry Tudor emerges from this mayhem rather like a side show of seemingly little relevance. His claim to the throne was dubious to say the least and yet improbably (in my view) he survived to establish the Tudor dynasty. If you want to know how, then read this book; I enjoyed reading it.
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