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Fatal Rivalry, Flodden 1513: Henry VIII, James IV and the battle for Renaissance Britain [Kindle Edition]

George Goodwin
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Book Description

On the back of historian George Goodwin's critically acclaimed debut, FATAL COLOURS, comes FATAL RIVALRY, providing the first in-depth examination of the Battle of Flodden, the biggest and bloodiest in British history.

This book captures the importance of the key players in the story - the kings and their respective queens, their nobles, diplomats and generals - as the rivalry brought the two countries inexorably to war. Fatefully, it would be an error by James, that most charismatic of commanders, and in the thick of engagement, that would make him the last British king to fall in battle, would condemn the bulk of his nobility to a similarly violent death and settle his country's fate.

Product Description


This is a clear account of a great if doomed attempt by the Scots to free themselves from English domination. Good timing. (SUNDAY TIMES)

Goodwin does a terrific job in building up the protagonists' back stories..Goodwin does a very good job. He's alive to the human story - the 88 members of the Hays family who were killed that day, for example - yet also confident discussing military strategy. (Toby Clements DAILY TELEGRAPH)

Among the books and events marking the 500-year anniversary of this turning point in Anglo/Scottish relations, George Goodwin's Fatal Rivalry: Flodden 1513 is an essential primer. (SUNDAY EXPRESS)

Readable and authoritative...well-researched and comprehensive (GLASGOW HERALD)

Goodwin's gripping narrative of the clash and its context makes plain that the modern and well-armed Scots, under the charismatic King James IV, might have turned the tide of our history (THE INDEPENDENT)

George Goodwin's previous book, Fatal Colours, was a highly engaging account of the Battle of Towton...Goodwin has produced another entertaining, informative account (Ed West THE CATHOLIC HERALD)

This very readable account unpicks how the peace fell apart and the Scots allied with the French to turn on the English. (GOOD BOOK GUIDE)

FATAL RIVALRY is about far more than just one battle, significant though it was. In telling the story that led to Flodden, he recreates the Renaissance splendour of the royal courts of England and Scotland...a hugely enjoyable, enlightening book. (Tracy Borman BBC HISTORY)

Fatal Rivalry: Flodden 1513 provides a welcome antidote to the usual run of work on the (Tudor) period. George Goodwin places the events of 9 September 1513 in the context of the two kingdoms and their interrelated royal dynasties over the quarter-century leading up to the battle. (LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS)

An impressive young historian, George Goodwin brings detail and understanding to the Battle of Flodden, with all its heroism and melancholy (THE OLDIE)

Book Description

The relationship of England and Scotland became defined by events on 9 September 1513 in a battle of great size, bloodshed and finality - the Battle of Flodden.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 6641 KB
  • Print Length: 299 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0297867393
  • Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson; 1st edition (4 July 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DRI0L8I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #149,613 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For history buffs only. 6 Aug. 2013
By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWER
The title of George Goodwin's book, "Fatal Rivalry: Flodden, 1513: Henry VIII and James IV and the Decisive Battle for Renaissance Britain", really sums up the book's contents in that one sentence. But there's a lot of great details about the two kingdoms, uneasily sharing a single island, and their diplomatic and military history. By the way, Henry VIII was not at the battle but his foe, Scotland's James IV was killed by English troops.

The most interesting person, hands down, was James IV, of the House of Stewart. He ruled Scotland after his father's - James III - death under somewhat murky circumstances. He came to the throne in 1488 and was killed in battle 25 years later. His reign straddled the reigns of the English kings, Henry VII and Henry VIII. In 1503, he wed Margaret, the daughter of Henry VII and sister of Henry VIII. The marriage was an attempt to solidify the often rocky relationship between the House of Tudor and the House of Stewart. Things were quiet for a few years but each country's relationships and pacts between the continental powers of Austria, France, Spain, and the Vatican added to the unrest between the two countries.

James was a true Renaissance spirit in the artistic sense, but was also accomplished in battle. Goodwin gives both James and the two Henrys nuanced portrayals in his book. One interesting fact that I've never read anywhere else concerns Henry VII obsession to insure the continuance of the House of Tudor. Evidently Henry had a great fear of eternal damnation and wanted to make sure chancery masses for his soul continued after his death. He felt the if his descendents retained power, Henry would be sure of having these masses said.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
'Fatal Rivalry' is a well researched, well written, very readable, hardback presented in sensible sized print and containing two sets of colour illustrations and two helpful maps. The author, George Goodwin, has a writing style that makes his works a pleasure to read. This work is an excellent example of how to explain history to the general reader in a readily assimilated fashion. The book contains a prologue, an introduction, 21 chapters, a commemoration, a list of Flodden related organisations and places to visit, notes, a select bibliography, acknowledgements and a comprehensive index.

The author explains the characters of the main protagonists in such fascinating fashion that the readers can feel they getting into their minds and way of thinking. Henry's young queen, Catherine of Aragon, looked after the country extremely well when Henry VIII was away fighting in France. Had the baby son, to whom she gave birth, survived, the history of England would have been very different. Catherine knew just what to do to counter the James IV led Scottish invasion of England with the result that the ageing, but experienced, Earl of Surrey was soon 'speeding' north, gathering together an army as he went.

Although the Scots army was equipped with more advanced weaponry and began the battle in a more advantageous position, they were eventually out-manoeuvred by the better English discipline and the generalship of the Earl of Surrey. James IV and the greater part of the Scottish nobility were killed. The book describes how the body of James was taken to England but never buried because he was excommunicated at the time of his death.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real page turner 6 Jan. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was encouraged to buy George Goodwin's book on Flodden having read his earlier, fascinating book on the background to the wars of the Roses and the battle of Towton. Fatal Rivalry does not disappoint. It is well written, well researched and conveys a captivating account of the influence of the European renaissance and technological progress (printing, armaments) on the courts of Henry VIII of England and James IV of Scotland and also on the conduct of warfare. For someone who is new to this period, it provides a great introduction to a critical period of Anglo-Scottish history, and an important reminder of the importance of the historical stories which are believed at different times. The account of the battle itself also reminds us to beware of thinking that just because something happened, it was bound to happen. It wasn't.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit too partisan? 22 Oct. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There actually isn't all that much about the Battle of Flodden, possibly the biggest battle ever fought on British soil, in this book. Flodden's obvious rival is Towton, about which Goodwin has already written. As with his account of Towton, Goodwin delves deep. I was in Spain when I read this book and was rather surprised to realise that I was only a few hundred yards from the final resting place of someone mentioned in Goodwin's background (to a war between Scotland and England).

Goodwin does background a lot better than he does foreground; in fact, he should write a compendious history of the Anglo-Scottish wars, because I'd buy it, even if no-one else did. At his best, he is very readable and he does argue his case pretty well.

All the same, Goodwin leans a bit too far to the Scottish side here. Henry VIII is a monster - not an especially hard case to prove, especially when the name Howard crops up frequently. James IV, King of Scots, by contrast, is an all-round Renaissance hero, only ever trying to do the best for his country, which would certainly make him a first for his dynasty. Countless times, Goodwin reminds us what a paragon James supposedly was. It's boring and not at all convincing.

Goodwin really goes off the rails, though, when discussing the Scottish army, which James led to the disaster at Flodden. Goodwin recognises the significance of the Macedonian-inspired Swiss system, but he doesn't appear to draw the right conclusions. I hazard a guess that he knows little about classical history. The army of Philip II and Alexander III of Macedon, the one which Renaissance potentates were desperate to replicate, had, in its centre, a "phalanx", armed with a huge pike, called a "sarissa". Flanking the phalanx were archers and slingers.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This book shows how if it was not for Katherine ...
This book shows how if it was not for Katherine of Aragon left to rule England while Henry VIII went on compaign in France, who managed to get an army together which defeated the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by cosmicelk
5.0 out of 5 stars Flodden
This is a good readable book which helps to explain Scots/English rivalry at the time and why the battle of Flodden took place. I bought it prior to taking a tour of the Borders.
Published 3 months ago by Mrs. V. E. Hunt
5.0 out of 5 stars Great historical read and written in clear language.
Fascinating insight into the world of 1513 and how one fatal mistake can decide the future of a nation.
Published 3 months ago by Marshall Meadows
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
This was a present for my Dad. Great read. Very pleased.
Published 4 months ago by S Capp
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
An interesting account but lacking perhaps that small spark which différentiates this account from many others.
Published 5 months ago by The Erudite Exile
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
excellent, no problems
Published 6 months ago by John Dickinson
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent account of the battle which destroyed the Scottish...
An excellent account of the battle which destroyed the Scottish monarchy and created peace on the Anglo-Scottish border. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Henry George
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to read
This is a brilliant book, it explains the battle and what lay behind it. I was engrossed from the beginning. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Liam Quinlan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Lots of information
Published 7 months ago by Jmg Mcdonald
5.0 out of 5 stars A score settled.
Bannockburn part II, the empire strikes back. Scotland came second in this one.
Published 7 months ago by INFO@
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