9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A. J. Pollard is an eloquent "textbook" historian - that isn't to say that he isn't original or experimental, on the contrary he is both. However, he is capable of composing difficult information into succinct and digestible packages. Equally, he confronts history with a brocaded fauna of dates and people - make sure you have some family trees ready for this one (sadly lacking from the book itself) - don't expect the open chattiness of a commercial history.
This book is highly recommended for those seeking to overview the complex history of late medieval England without the intriguing pain that usually accompanies such searches. The book is helpfully portioned into three sections. The first and last give a blow by blow account of the reigns and deeds of the late medieval Kings from Henry IV's usurpation in 1399 to Richard III's death on Bosworth Field in August 1485. It also includes a critique of the early Tudors, particularly Henry VII. Pollard argues persuasively for an inclusion of Henry VII into any evaluation of late medieval England.
Sandwiched between these two heavily politicised sections is a series of chapters covering the social, economic and spiritual character of England between 1399-1509. The seperation of the social and political is refreshing for those students who need to refer specifically to one or the other without trawling through pages and pages of useless material.
However, Pollard is certainly an avid supporter of the Lancastrian dynasty, and particularly, one supposes, a supporter of Henry IV and V. That is not to say that the book is completely biased, but anyone should be aware that he perceives the period with an unusually favourable eye.
Overall a good overview, with interesting ideas and highly accesible style suitable for both the enquiring public or the exam-crazed undergraduate.