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The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses and the Rise of the Tudors Hardcover – 4 Sep 2014


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (4 Sept. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571288073
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571288076
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3.8 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 51,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dan Jones took a first in History from Pembroke College, Cambridge in 2002. He is an award-winning journalist and a pioneer of the resurgence of interest in medieval history. His first book on the Peasants' Revolt received widespread critical acclaim. The Plantagenets is his second book. He lives in London.

Product Description

Review

The Hollow Crown is exhilarating, epic, blood-and-roses history ... Jones's material is thrilling ... There is fine scholarly intuition on display here and a mastery of the grand narrative; it is a supremely skilful piece of storytelling. (Jessie Childs Sunday Telegraph)

Dan Jones's fine new history [...] locates the conflict not in the tedious familiarity of modern power plays, but in the fascinating strangeness of the attitudes and belief systems of that distant age: a world in which piety and politics converged, and where the outcome of war was nothing less than the manifestation of divine judgement. [...] Tautly structured, elegantly written and finely attuned to the values and sensibilities of the age, The Hollow Crown is probably the best introduction to the Wars of the Roses currently in print. (John Adamson Mail on Sunday 2014-09-14)

[Jones] is an extraordinary storyteller whose scene-setting is intensely visual and whose characters spring from the page. He has a gift for an arresting turn of phrase [...] and [...] highlights engaging details: that coronation rituals often bred head lice, and that Henry VI was shocked by, and abhorred, nakedness. Finally, he is comically wry [...] . This is narrative history at its most brilliant. [...] A Milanese ambassador in 1471 likened the task of describing the ever-changing nature of events in England to suffering torture. With history in such skilful hands as these, reading about them is anything but. (Suzannah Lipscomb The New Statesman 2014-10-24)

Henry VI was a born saint - and that was just the problem as Dan Jones shows in this racy and vigorous new narrative history. Picking up where he left off at the end of his acclaimed The Plantagenets with Henry VI's father, the incomparable warrior-king Henry V, Jones shows that a successful medieval king needed to rule strongly (but not tyrannically), father plenty of healthy sons and keep defeating the French (Christopher Hart Sunday Times)

...the gloriously resonant title title of Dan Jones's brilliant account of the Wars of the Roses - The Hollow Crown - conjures up Shakespeare's influence not just on our language but on the ways in which we think about our past ... Jones is a born storyteller, peopling the terrifying uncertainties of each moment with a superbly drawn cast of characters and powerfully evoking the brutal realities of civil war. With gripping urgency he shows this calamitous conflict unfold. (Helen Castor Evening Standard)

Jones, though a young man, is a traditional narrative historian in the mould of Starkey, Taylor and Trevelyan. In other words, he tells a good story. That is a good thing, since storytelling has gone out of favour among so many historians. (Gerard DeGroot The Times)

If you're a fan of Game of Thrones or The Tudors, then Dan Jones's swashbucklingly entertaining slice of late medieval history will be right up your alley. Exploring the world of the War of the Roses with a near-novelistic degree of pace and intrigue, while always remaining scholarly and insightful, The Hollow Crown is every bit as entertaining and readable as Jones's previous history blockbuster, The Plantagenets... a work of popular history that has as many cliffhanging moments of surprise and suspense as any TV miniseries, and is every bit as entertaining. (Alex Larman Daily Express)

Jones navigates the violence and treacheries that follow in such vivid prose that everything, even a non-battle, seems incredibly dramatic and exciting ... Fast-moving, witty and humane, The Hollow Crown is narrative history at its best. (Leanda De Lisle Literary Review)

[Jones'] greatest skill as a historical writer is to somehow render sprawling, messy epochs such as this one into manageable, easily digestible matter; he is keenly attuned to what should be served up and what should be omitted. It makes for an engrossing read and a thoroughly enjoyable introduction to the Lancastrian-Yorkist struggle. (Sean McGlynn The Spectator 2014-09-13)

Book Description

The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses and the Rise of the Tudors, from Dan Jones - the celebrated author of The Plantagenets - is an exciting, fast-paced history of the Wars of the Roses.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER on 2 Sept. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a popular narrative re-telling of fifteenth-century English history from Henry V to the rise of Henry VIII. Jones gives a lively edge to his story and keeps the complications of the period mostly comprehensible – though there are a lot of families and titles mentioned here. It is a story rather than analysis and forgoes scholarly approaches for narrative ease. In that sense, this is good for general readers rather than students of the period.

Jones’ take is that the strife known as the War of the Roses was caused not by dynastic rivalry between the Yorkist and Lancastrian factions so much as a response to the systemic stress of a weak and ineffectual king in Henry VI – though he really only floats this idea in the brief epilogue. I’m not sure causes can be separated or isolated in such a neat way but that’s a minor niggle.

Stylistically, this is an easy read – and Jones is not one to fear the well-worn historical cliché: tables ‘groan’ with food, soldiers are ‘prepared to fight to the death’ (even when they, er, don’t and are captured instead...), cavalry horses ‘strike mortal fear into the hearts of any man who saw them’, and houses ‘groan’ (just like those tables) with vast collections of art’.

So this is a good popular re-telling of a complicated period in English history: anyone who wants to understand this period of civil war and the attendant rise of the Tudor dynasty from a generalist viewpoint should enjoy this.

(This review is from an ARC courtesy of the publisher)
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By bookelephant on 9 Sept. 2014
Format: Hardcover
Well, fans of "The Plantagenets" will be pleased to know that this is every bit as good as one could hope! Dan Jones has an incredible talent for making history clear, accessible - and above all exciting; and he has used his talent to full effect here. And never was it more needed, because after all, the Wars of the Roses is a devil of a subject. I own, and have read, three other books on the subject, and still have never been able to get the story straight in my head. There is simply too much of it, and any attempt to tell the story as a whole always seems to sag all over the place. I suspect that with this book Dan Jones may finally have solved this problem. Not only does he use skills as a writer and story teller so admirably - but he has also been really very clever about the structure, breaking it down into four chronological themes, with a selection of vibrant relevant stories illustrating each theme. And ta-dah! Miraculously the story hangs together, and one leaps eagerly from story to story.
The previous reviewer is obviously correct that the book is aimed primarily at a general readership market. But even those familiar with the era will find much here to enjoy - and a number of really interesting insights. And for those coming to the story cold or cool, they can be assured that they are in really good hands. Jones wears very considerable scholarship very lightly indeed, and he is scrupulous about letting the reader know areas of controversy, as well as giving a well thought out view about the answers. You can enjoy with a clear conscience, knowing that you are getting good quality information, as well as a great read.
What more can I say? Well, I enjoyed every page - and am already looking forward to re-reading at greater leisure.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Oct. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
The Wars of the Roses has to be one of the most complex periods of English history with allegiances shifting like shifting sands and your head only remaining where it should be if you were a fast talker and could get yourself out of tricky situations. The period starting virtually with Agincourt in 1415 and ending with Bosworth in 1485 saw many changes of monarch. If Henry VI hadn't been a child when his father died, could things have been different?

Looking at this complex period through the eyes of some of its players both major and minor, the author attempts to bring some order and reason into the period and largely succeeds. The writing is lively and entertaining while including plenty of facts.

If you want a book which gives you a starting point to understanding and studying the fall of the Plantagenets and the rise of the Tudors then you could do worse than read this book. There are plenty of notes on each chapter which give the interested reader more sources of information to explore. I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley for review purposes.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By The Brother on 22 Sept. 2014
Format: Hardcover
Superb narrative history of a violent and prolonged English time of troubles - part clan feud, part civil war, a time when there was no stable government and the great landed magnates could field private armies to fight for themselves or their temporary allies. Jones's vivid storytelling is never dumbed down: he seems to have mastered the scholarly research and used it to bring to life a period that is often difficult for non specialists to understand. His portraits of the great figures of the time - the pathetically well-meaning Henry VI, whose incapacity for leadership provoked the crisis, the clever and self-destructive young Yorkist king Edward IV, the ruthless Richard III (who is not demonised), Margaret of Anjou, and of course that great cold-blooded Tudor survivor Henry VII - are brilliant. His battle scenes are horrifyingly effective. One of the best popular histories published in recent years.
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