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Elizabeth Wydeville: The Slandered Queen (England's Forgotten Queens) Hardcover – 1 May 2005

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press LTD; 1st Edition edition (1 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752433849
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752433844
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 3.1 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 466,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Arlene Okerlund, Professor Emerita of English, retired after a career of teaching Renaissance literature at San José State University in California. After several years in the classroom, she served six years as Dean, College of Humanities and the Arts, and seven years as Academic Vice President before returning to her first loves of teaching and research. The author of scholarly articles on Shakespeare, Spenser, Marlowe, Donne, and Dryden, Professor Okerlund also writes for popular audiences, including the newsletter of the Peninsula Banjo Band with which she plays tenor banjo.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Iceni Peasant on 19 July 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book was a true joy to read, if like me you love the Wars Of The Roses period of history and have always wanted to know more about Elizabeth Wydeville, queen to Edward IV.
The author is very thorough in all her arguments that should hopefully reach a wider audience in time and rewrite the false "slandered" history of this remarkable queen, and the life she lived, with all the stresses and strains that era brought to her position.
There is a lot information on King Edward IV and his brothers and on the trials and tribulations of Elizabeth's family, but all of it is totally relevant and backed up with information on Elizabeth's position and what influence she may have had on certain events.
The only slight negative point about this book, is in places you feel the author is too biased in favour of Elizabeth AND Edward IV. She dismisses the idea that Edward was illegitimate when recent research has 99% genuine written proof of the case...from christening records from a French cathedral.
That tiny nitpick out of the way, this is a very good book and accessible to all levels of history enthusiasts. It provides a wonderful insight into court life in Elizabeth's time and some of the under currents and machinations of other leading figures in relation to the queen. As a reader you can't help but empathize with her and feel a touch of sadness at how lowly she left this world, after achieving so much.
It's so good to know that other "hidden" queens of history will be uncovered in this series. A wonderful start! 5 stars!
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Amelrode VINE VOICE on 10 Jun. 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Elizabeth Wydeville: The Slandered Queen is the first book of a series on England' s forgotten Queens, a series edited by famous royal biographer Alision Weir. And the series got an excellent start!!
Elizabeth Wydeville was Queen Consort to King Edward IV., is mostly known as the mother of the Princes in the Tower and she was - through her daughter, another Elizabeth - the " maternal grandmother" of the Tudor dynasty. However, there is much more to her than just being wife, mother or grandmother of. Her general historical reputation is however one of a clever and beautiful woman which is marrying above her station, clever and greedy for herself and her family. Not particuarly a good reputation.
Arlene Okerlund clearly states what the purpose of her biography is: to set the record straight on this Queen. She feels that Elizabeth was slandered by her adversaries. The subtitle "The Slandered Queen" leaves on doubt about this. And she has a point! Arlene Okerlund put things into perspective, shows motivation for slandering her, shows precedences how important females were treated at the time, sweps certain historical myths away. One starts to understand where Elizabeth Wydeville came from, learns about her background, her interest, her role as Queen and her legacy to her children and grandchildren. This is extremely interesting to read and understand. However, I feel that Arlene Okerlund does a bit too much in this direction. It is a bit of a whitewash, a bit too unbalanced. But maybe that is necessary because the historical reputation is unbalanced in the other direction. It is - as Alison Weit states in the introduction - provocative, but it is openly done and the reader can easy form its own opinion.
All in all I did enjoy reading very much this biography. I learned a lot and my views on this Queen Elizabeth has changed.
It is a great start to the new series and I am looking forward to the second part.
5 stars well deserved!
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By G. H on 3 Sept. 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mum Made up with her book, thanks
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 8 reviews
37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Another View 8 Oct. 2006
By Evelyn Hoffester - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Yes, Elizabeth Wydeville is often portrayed as scheming, and haughty, and cruel. And yes, there is not enough information in the world (that we know of) to refute that point. But if that is true, then there is not enough information to prove it either.

Okerlund has gone out on a limb and said that perhaps Elizabeth wasn't a witch, a whore, or a social-climbing, dynasty-killing queen. For every point that she makes she backs it up with evidence. It's an argument, and like almost every other arugment out there about women in the 15th century, it can be debated.

As the author says, Margaret of Anjou has often been depicted as the she-wolf of France, a violent and rash woman who ended the House of Lancaster through her arrogance and forced York into treason. She has benefited from the hindsight of history as many biographers have taken another look and instead found her to be courageous and strong, worthy of our admiration and not derision. Doesn't Elizabeth Wydeville deserve the same?

I found this book to be thought provoking and insightful, representing a fairly good handle on the times and personalities. I don't necessarily embrace every argument, but hey, that's the great part about history. It's not dates and facts, it's debates and mystery and research.

This book is well-written and well-researched. Anyone with an interest in the Wars of the Roses, early Tudor history, or women throughout the eras should take a look at this biography.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating account of a fascinating woman! 7 April 2007
By Leslie Macchiarella - Published on
Format: Hardcover
What a studied and fascinating work this book is! We've heard many versions of the presumed accounts of the 2 missing princes who disappeared from London Tower...but what of their mother, the first Queen Elizabeth? Although we've heard much smattering of slander about her in the past, now we have a new story to consider in this lavishly researched, footnoted and indexed work reviewing the Queen's life. Although you will feel the good weight of research that the author poured into the book, you will be able to read the Queen's fascinating story without needing to be a Rhodes Scholar to delve into it.

We even get to sigh a romantic sigh as we imagine the meeting of (24 year old) Elizabeth when she met with the King (age 19) at the time he likely fell madly in love with her: "At Grafton, Elizabeth was on home territory. The Wydeville manor lay within a mile of Whittlewood Forest where the King was hunting. Having grown up here, Elizabeth knew the course that the hunters would take, the fields where the deer would be chased for the kill, the grassy spots ideal for picnics. Choosing a large oak tree, she stationed herself and her two small sons beneath it and waited. Hard in pursuit of prey, Edward saw the beautiful young mother with her children, pulled his horse up short, and marveled at the bucolic tableau." See what I mean? We really get a feel for the romance, the hardship, and the tragedy to follow.

The ancestor of Mary, Queen of Scots and of Lady Jane Grey, this slandered queen's grandson will be Henry VIII, her great-grandaughter will be Queen Elizabeth I. In her time, she will become a widowed mother of two children but then secretly marry the King of England (the younger Edward IV), thus being crowned Queen of England in 1465, her father will be beheaded, her husband the King will become exiled leaving her alone while pregnant with many young children in tow, she will give birth to the future King of England (Edward V), her brother will be executed, her son (Sir Richard Grey) will be murdered upon order of Richard III, her two sons (King Edward V and Prince Richard of York) will disappear from the Tower of London with tragically uncertain fate, her 19-year-long marriage will be declared adulterous and their 10 children will be declared illegitimate, and she will be accused of witchcraft and sorcery.

An amazing life, worth of the re-defining richly presented by this author.
Well-researched and insightful 23 Mar. 2014
By Nicole Thompson - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book is near-revolutionary in its treatment of a queen about whom too little has been written, particularly given the interesting and tragic events of her life. One thing is certain - it took a strong woman to withstand what she endured. This book is not for Richard III apologists who like to blame his problems on the Woodvilles. Personally, I find the Woodvilles far more interesting than the Yorks themselves, and their royal lineage is no less than that of those who criticized them as "upstarts" - a big thank you to Ms. Okerlund for this clarifying biography.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Elizabeth 14 Mar. 2007
By Millay Stone - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I have to agree with another review that it was interesting to read a different interpretation of Elizabeth Wydeville. Some of the arguments fell short, but I still thought it was well done. I'm also not sure we are at a point to be spurning historical reinterpretation just yet.

I enjoyed it and recommend that readers also read Baldwin's biography of Elizabeth
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
good history 17 Aug. 2007
By love to read - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An excellent history of Elizabeth Wydville. Sometimes a few too many details. Shows the love between Elizabeth and Henry. A great sadness at the end of the book showing how badly a queen can be treated after the king dies.
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