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

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

George Goodwin
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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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 2013-07-20)

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)

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: 1924 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson (4 July 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DRI0L8I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #85,297 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 19 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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8 of 9 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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Flowers of the Forest 18 Aug 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The story of Flodden and the years leading up to the battle are very well covered in this book. This is an interesting period, with Scotland wanting to be recognised by the leading European powers as a fully independent state. In order to pursue this aim the dashing ambitious Scots monarch James IV, against advise from older and wiser heads, decides, with the encouragement of widespread anti-English sentiment, to invade England. Meanwhile young King Henry VIII is away campaigning with the main English army in France. What can possibly go wrong? Well, as it turns out lots.

The complexity of the politics, the history, and the personalities of the leading characters involved are well covered. In ways this battle was probably one of the final acts of the middle ages in Britain. It's a fascinating story well told, and it might easily have all ended so differently. A very good book, with some contemporary political parallels perhaps?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining and concise 10 Oct 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book does more than it boasts on the cover. It compares the development of renaissance Scotland and England during the reigns of Henry vii, Henry viii and James iv. This was well written and presented a rich panoply of cultural and political evolution. It left me wanting to know more about James who he conjured into life with great skill.I only gave it four stars because the treatment of the battle, although very well explained with clear maps, seemed to lack the passion of the rest of the book. I have also read his Towton book and came to the same conclusion. I would not want this fairly minor quibble to deter any potential reader and wholeheartedly recomend it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Follies of the privileged
This was also well researched and was very informative for any reader who was studying the subject seriously. Being interested in the history of my homeland I found it absorbing.
Published 29 days ago by John Edward Stokoe
5.0 out of 5 stars A real page turner
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. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Peter Stanyer
5.0 out of 5 stars More than another insight into the (somewhat unpleasant) character of...
I would usually dislike a "war story", but the build up to the battle of Flodden is so well crafted by this author, that by the time the battle description arrived I was on... Read more
Published 5 months ago by gail
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent analysis
A very well-researched examination of the political and historical context of the devastating defeat of Scotland's attempt to invade an England pre-occupied with Henry VIII's... Read more
Published 5 months ago by
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth it to discover James IV
I was ignorant as to the life and achievements of King James IV of Scotland and, in many ways, wished Fatal Rivalry had focused only on that. Read more
Published 6 months ago by charlie
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
Having visited the battlefield at Flodden while on holiday the previous year I was looking for a book to help me understand all aspects of the conflict and this book was perfect.
Published 6 months ago by vincent ross
5.0 out of 5 stars A really good read!
This is a very good book - an excellent follow up to George's "Fatal Colours" (about the Battle of Towton) which I would also strongly recommend. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Gruber
3.0 out of 5 stars Good History Textbook
Over emphasis on lead in historical background which tended to give the actual battle something of an also ran event.
Published 6 months ago by I H Forster
5.0 out of 5 stars Fatal Rivalry
This is a very interesting and fast-paced book and explains the previous history of The European world and how it impinges upon Scotland and England.
Published 7 months ago by Savill Young
4.0 out of 5 stars review of fatal rivalry
I found the book interesting and discovered some true facts about that period that I hadn't known before, would recommend this book to my friends
Published 7 months ago by Mrs Anna M Gray
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