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Richard III [Hardcover]

David Baldwin
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 Feb 2012
The first biography to show what Richard III was really like. Not many people would claim to be saints, or alternatively, consider themselves entirely without redeeming qualities. Some are unquestionably worse than others, but few have been held in greater infamy than Richard Plantagenet, afterwards Duke of Gloucester and, later still, King Richard III. Richard's character has been besmirched as often as it has been defended, and the arguments between his detractors and supporters still rage after several centuries. Was he a ruthless hunchback who butchered his way to the throne, a paragon of virtue who became a victim of Tudor propaganda, or (as seems more likely) something in between? Some would argue that a true biography is impossible because the letters and other personal documents required for this purpose are simply not available; but David Baldwin has overcome this by an in-depth study of his dealings with his contemporaries. The fundamental question he has answered is 'what was Richard III really like'.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Amberley Publishing (15 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1445601826
  • ISBN-13: 978-1445601823
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 359,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

PHILIPPA GREGORY (author of The White Queen) endorsement: 'A believably complex Richard, neither wholly villain nor hero' --Philippa Gregory --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

David Baldwin is a medieval historian who has taught at the Universities of Leicester and Nottingham for many years. His historical research has focused on the great medieval families in the Midlands and he has contributed articles to historical journals and lectured regularly to societies and conferences in this field. He is the author of six books, THE WOMEN OF THE COUSINS' WAR: THE DUCHESS, THE QUEEN AND THE KING'S MOTHER (with Philippa Gregory and Michael Jones), THE LOST PRINCE: THE SURVIVAL OF RICHARD OF YORK ('A fascinating new theory' THE DAILY MAIL, 'The little brickie in the Tower' THE SUNDAY TIMES), ELIZABETH WOODVILLE: MOTHER OF THE PRINCES IN THE TOWER ('Inspirational - brings her alive for the general reader' PHILIPPA GREGORY), ROBIN HOOD: THE ENGLISH OUTLAW UNMASKED ('Impeccably researched and highly original - David Baldwin is a brilliant historical detective' PHILIPPA GREGORY, author of THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL and THE WHITE QUEEN, 'Unmasks Robin of Leicester' NOTTINGHAM POST, 'Claims one Roger Godberd was the closest England had to a real Hood - David Baldwin argues the sheer number of references to Godberd in contemporary documents that he was known and feared across much of England' THE DAILY MAIL), STOKE FIELD: THE LAST BATTLE OF THE WARS OF THE ROSES and THE KINGMAKER'S SISTERS. He lives in Leicester.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I had a hunch this would be good... 6 Feb 2013
By JJBL
Format:Hardcover
Having been inspired by the recent news that Richard III's remains may have been located in Leicester I turned to this book to fill in the gaps in my knowledge about the often maligned King. My expectations given the quality of Baldwin's previous books were high and I am pleased to report that this tome lived up to them.

Had I wanted a textbook on the period or an examination of all possible theses about the King's role in history I would not have relied solely on this book; indeed it would have been naive for me to do so. What I wanted was a well researched, well written and importantly well argued and nuanced approach to the subject matter. This book, for me, was all of these things. Baldwin's awareness that Richard was a man of his times, shaped by his circumstances as much as any of us are is clear throughout, however this is not allowed to excuse some of the excesses of his reign.

Richard will remain a fascinating and much studied character and there will be books published about him that explore further his world and the evidence we have about his life. I am grateful however that I read this book as my introduction to Richard III and would not hesitate to recommend that others with an interest in learning more about him do so as well.
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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not such a bad guy 22 April 2012
Format:Hardcover
David Baldwin has assembled a vast amount of research on this complex monarch which invites readers to form the opinion that he was a long way from being as bad as Shakespeare and others have painted him.
Of course, being a brave soldier and an efficient and fair-minded ruler does not excuse him from having Hastings and sundry Woodvilles executed after he had gained control of the young King Edward V.
But one cannot help feeling that his whole life must have been coloured by the terrible day when, as an eight-year-old, he learned that his father, elder brother and uncle had all been killed by the Lancastrians at the Battle of Wakefield and that their severed heads were displayed above the gates of York. A period in exile in the Low Countries followed before another brother was able to prevail over the Lancastrians and set himself on the throne as Edward lV.
So Baldwin shows us how such personal insecurity at such times must have coloured his thinking when he acted so ruthlessly after Edward lV's death, took the princes under his protection and obliterated potential opponents.
The author can find no proof that he did away with the princes and my own personal opinion, based on Baldwin's earlier book, The Lost Prince, is that Edward V could well have died of an illness in the Tower and that his younger brother was spirited away to a safe house and ultimately to Colchester Abbey. Subsequently, Henry Vll appears to have visited the town unusually frequently on his royal progresses, arguably to keep an eye on him.
David Baldwin does not further propound this theory in this latest book but states that while Richard could be ruthless, he was not stupid and that to have murdered the boys would have alienated all those whose support he was trying to gain.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Balanced View 5 Aug 2013
By John C
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In 1986, David Baldwin boldly predicted that the remains of Richard III would be discovered sometime in the 21st century. His prophecy was vindicated on 4th February 2013 when the University of Leicester held a press conference to announce that the skeleton which had been uncovered beneath the Leicester Social Services car park was that of England's last Plantagenet king.

In the introduction to his work, Baldwin asks what he can possibly add to the previously published work of Paul Murray Kendall whose brilliant biography had already set down all that we know of this much maligned king from the available historical records. When I bought this book, I was asking myself the same question. There is no doubt that the two authors sit firmly on the Ricardian side of the fence in the debate with the Tudor portrayal of Richard's character but Baldwin takes a slightly more academic approach. He points out several instances where Kendall has described events which are the result of his own interpretation rather than established fact. Baldwin does not shy away from the grimier side of Richard's character and, in all, he presents a more balanced view.

For anyone who is interested in the medieval history and the fascinating character of Richard III, this is a definitive work which takes a narrative approach and is very easy to read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bring's Richard 'the man' alive. 4 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback
David Baldwin, a medieval historian and expert on Richard III has been in the news recently. It was back in 1986 that he wrote an article claiming that the remains of Richard III would be found in an area of a car park that was over part of the site of a medieval priory. Roll forward twenty-six years, when a team of University of Leicester archaeologists began an excavation of the area, where a body was found that appeared to exhibit features that tied it to those known about Richard. At a press conference in February 2013 the University confirmed that tests revealed this was indeed his body.
Since this announcement there has been more news on the subject. Last week it was announced that the dig was to be extended to reveal the church and also that a reconstruction using a computer of Richard's head is to go on tour.
With all this current interest, there is no better time to read David Baldwin's book, Richard III, where he puts forward his knowledge of the King to reveal whether he was saint or sinner. The things we know about Richard seem to certainly put him in a bad light. Physically affected with a hunchback, and reputed to have been born after two years in the womb with teeth and hair, these are some of the claims that Baldwin highlights for consideration. A King who put the young Princes in the tower as he barged his way to the throne, and a King killed on Bosworth Field. But these easily remembered aspects of Richard are not the whole man, and Baldwin, with his thorough research and wide extent of knowledge brings together all the contemporary references to support what he can put forward as fact and highlights also those claims from historians that were writing on secondary knowledge.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A complex character
David Baldwin's account of Richard is, as he early suggests, a depiction of neither a hero nor a villain but of a man of bis time who was a bit of both - sometimes simultaneously. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Paul J. Johnston
5.0 out of 5 stars Value for money, a good read
The book was worth the money. I found it very interesting and it's an easy read. I would recommend this book unreservedly.
Published 3 months ago by Craighan
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but dry
This is a meticulously researched book and one that is very easy to read. Not a long book, (240 pages), it offers a scrupulously objective view of one of England's most... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Garynd
5.0 out of 5 stars Well balanced and objective review
A very well presented examination of historical information which is still very contentious and generates significant emotion on all sides of the argument.
Published 10 months ago by David Stirrup
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
A really interesting well written book. I found this book very well written and informative. The author really brings Richard to life.
Published 11 months ago by Robert Muckley
3.0 out of 5 stars Hyped
Little new info here. Advertised chapter on discovery of King Richard's bones has fewer pages than the publishers adverts for other books!
Published 13 months ago by arenosa
4.0 out of 5 stars Son of York
I bought this on the back of C4's documentary - The King In The Carpark.
I knew quite about the later English Kings, but very little about this much maligned fellow. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Phil Kennedy
4.0 out of 5 stars Good value.
A timely reminder of Richard III's life and times, which tries not to be too biased either way as to his character. A good length at around 230 pages.
Published 14 months ago by Chrism
5.0 out of 5 stars Richard III by David Baldwin
A very good book about the maligned King Richard. Looks like there are more than one view of the situation in the middle ages and David explores them all. Excellent.
Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and very readable
Well worth the money - a very readable account of the life of Richard III which I am enjoying very much. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Miss D W Shindler
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