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Richard III, The Young King to Be: v. 1 Hardcover – Nov 2008

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tempus Publishing Ltd (Nov. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 075244686X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752446868
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,209,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr Josepha Josephine Wilkinson received a First Class Honours degree from the University of Newcastle. She was the winner of the Third Year Prize for her work on The Little Apocalypse, which placed Mark chapter 13 into its historical context, and the Jewish Studies Prize for her historical study of the community at Qumran. She remained at Newcastle, earning an MPhil for her thesis on the historical John the Baptist (as close to a biography as is possible to do); her PhD traced historical traditions and legends of John the Baptist across several cultures as well as art, literature and film.

She was a scholar-in-residence at Gladstone's Library in Hawarden (formerly St Deiniol's Library), Britain's only residential library. This was founded in 1898 by the great Victorian statesman, William Gladstone. Great Britain's only Prime Ministerial library, it is based on Gladstone's personal collection. Dr Wilkinson has also held an honorary post at the University of Glasgow.

The recipient of a British Academy award, she is the author of a two volume biography of Richard III, the first volume of which, Richard III, the Young King To Be, has been published by Amberley. She is currently writing volume two. Other books are Mary Boleyn: The True Story of Henry VIII's Favourite Mistress, The Early Loves of Anne Boleyn and The Princes in the Tower. She lives in the attic of a mediaeval house within the city walls of York.

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Product Description

About the Author

Josephine Wilkinson is an author and historian. She received a First from the University of Newcastle where she also read for her PhD. She has received British Academy funding for her research in to Richard III's early life and has been scholar-in-residence at St Deiniol's Library, Britain's only residential library founded by the great Victorian statesman, William Gladstone. Her other books include Mary Boleyn and The Early Loves of Anne Boleyn both published by Amberley. The second volume Richard III, From Lord of the North to King of England will be published in 2010. She lives in York. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Tyr Anasazi on 14 July 2010
Format: Paperback
At last, a book that doesn't just concentrate on Richard's years as King, but provides an insight into the remaining 30 years of his nearly 33 year lifespan. The book is put together very well, putting Richard firmly in the context of the times in which he lived, rather than looking back at a king using the Tudor chroniclers version of his reign. Sadly for Richard, history is always written by winners.

The latter years of the reign of King Henry VI and the protectorship of Richard's father must have been traumatic and frightening for a young boy, especially the barbarous treatment eventually suffered by his father and older brother Edmund and the flight from Ludlow to escape the Lancastrian threat. What happens to us in our childhood must have an effect on the adult we become, and Richard's childhood must have been pretty scary.

The book has a nice balance between the good part of Richard's character, but does not hesitate to point out his faults, especially in his desire to obtain lands belonging to others sometimes whatever the cost. It also shows him as a religious man, despite that fact that he fathered illegitimate children, and he was certainly a brave soldier and able administrator. He does not seem to me to be different from any other powerful mediaeval lord, and we must view his actions not by the standards of today, but by the standards of 15th century England. He is certainly no worse and in my opinion much better than the Tudors, who systematically disposed of every possible Yorkist contender for the throne, even to the appalling treatment on the scaffold of the Countess of Salisbury (who was a very old woman) by Henry VIII!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Julia on 14 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Along with other reviewers I was interested in a biography of Richard III that dealt with his early years in detail. Most biographies skim over these years, which really are the formative ones for any individual. In addition, in the case of Richard, during these years he was really of little importance on the political stage of fifteenth century England, being the youngest of the four sons of Richard Duke of York, then the youngest brother of Edward IV. So it was fascinating to read so much information the author had gathered from various sources.

I felt Wilkinson did seem to bend over backwards or over state the argument to paint a positive view of Richard in the face of her own 'evidence' which indicated a more negative opinion. And this comment is from someone who has been a Ricardian for over 40 years! There was too much supposition and too many instances of 'this was possible' for me to gve this 5 stars.

Also the typos & errors were distracting - one being that Anne Neville was born in 1452 not 1456 in the list of main characters at the beginning (corrected later in the text).

I tend to disagree with Wilkinson's conclusion that Richard's marriage was purely one of convenience and that he found emotional satisfaction elsewhere. Yes he, and Anne too, had much to gain materially by their marriage, but also a shared experience of family and the north must be factors too, although I am very suspicious of the more romantic stance of some Ricardian novelists. There is no evidence that his illegitimate children were conceived after his marriage, but there would have been ample opportunity for him as a young man to sow his wild oats beforehand.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Michael Parsons (Cardiff, UK) on 12 July 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An exhaustively detailed work that convinces the reader that Josephine Wilkinson knows her subject. Somewhat spoilt by some sloppy proof-reading (chaffed for chafed etc) and one reference to Canterbury University as a centre for Greek (a confusion somewhere between Cantab and Cantuar perhaps), and in places with an opinion that I personally disagree with, (I think that St. Margaret of Scotland rather than Margaret of Antioch was the origin of his sister's name, as she was not only a direct ancestress - great-grandmother to Henry II - but provided the all-important link to the Anglo-Saxon dynasty through her great-uncle Edward the Confessor), it remains a highly impressive and enjoyable work.

Volume II was originally for publication in 2010 - I hope it arrives soon!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By SusanS on 9 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Overall, I enjoyed this book and felt it really padded out Richard III. It didn't go on about how ruthless/horrible/murderous he was, and it gave a good overall feel of what life was like in his era.

The cons.
It was quite pro Richard, presenting an overall sympathetic view of him. While this is quite a refreshing change to the usual "Richard was an evil villain" mantra, it did make me think that the book is a little biased.
Some of the imagery used was quite romanticised- Richard, trotting back to Middleham after a hard days training, in his armour and looking forwards to a nice hot bath etc. And it being a shame he could not wear his fashionable pointy shoes- as Edward IV had banned them (which in itself could be seen to be a good thing).

The pros.
After a while, I got to quite like the imagery the author conjours up. After all, despite all the "wicked uncle" portrayal, he would have had feelings, thoughts and desires just like anyone else. Previous books I have read on Richard III just concentrate on cold, hard facts, this book had a lot of facts, but sought to present Richard in a more human light.
Although the author presumes what Richard may have felt- it is a change to think of Richard III doing normal things, rather than just his usual one dimensional plotting and planning.

I also really liked the level of detail. There are chapters on Richard's dealing with the Countess of Oxford and her lands, and the Countess of Warwick. The author has really researched this and there is a lot of detail.

I also agree with another review on here, that the last chapter- the study on the literature of hate, was a bit out of place. Though interesting, it would be better at the end of the whole Richard III story.

All in all, I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading volume 2.
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