- Paperback: 512 pages
- Publisher: Abacus (5 Aug. 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 034911790X
- ISBN-13: 978-0349117904
- Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 3.3 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 236,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Wars Of The Roses: England's First Civil War Paperback – 5 Aug 2010
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Spirited . . . An elegant, even-handed and well-researched account of a fascinating period (Jonathan Wright, Tablet)
A fine, expansive drama (The Times)
This is a book that enacts its assumptions, suggesting what's at stake historically through sheer resonance and drive . . . this unabashedly narrative approach highlights how the on-off struggle threw England into turmoil in the reign of six successive kings (Scotsman)
Well-written and readable . . . readers will be both entertained and instructed (BBC History Magazine)
* The first major single history of the Wars of the Roses for decades, written by renowned popular and military historian, Trevor Royle, out now in paperbackSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a comfortable history for the general reader but adds nothing new for anyone reasonably familiar with the subject.
That said it is well written; it took me less than a week to finish. Included are extracts from contemporary chronicles though there are no actual notes with supporting references. The summary at the end, giving a description of not just the main players but more obscure ones as well, is useful.
What spoils the whole thing is the large number of fundamental errors. These are just a few that I spotted. A history student of the period would probably notice a lot more. Henry VI didn't inherit France on the death of his father, it was not until the death of Charles VI that he was able to under the terms of the Treaty of Troyes; the English didn't cede Maine & Anjou in the 1440s, they never occupied Anjou in the first place; Margaret Beaufort was the niece, not the sister of Edmund Duke of Somerset, if she had brothers she'd be of little importance. There are also geographical inaccuracies but these are less significant.
In summary this book is a good read but is marred by its lack of originality. The inaccuracies in this book have put me off reading his earlier work on the civil war.
Trevor Royle does a good job of making sense of this tangled web of family squabbles, constant intermarriages, murders, abductions, betrayals and intrigues. He gives us just enough detail to tell the whole story without getting bogged down in minutiae. This is not a gossipy or sensationalist history--the reader spends more time on the battlefield than in the boudoir--but it does provide a good portrait of the principal actors.
This includes some remarkable women, such as Margaret of Anjou who acted as monarch, field general and diplomat during her husband Henry VI's bouts of mental illness. Royle's treatment is balanced, looking at each king's strengths and weaknesses and avoiding moralistic judgment. Where men like Richard III have suffered from particularly bad reputations, Royle points out the biases of contemporary observers and early historians in an attempt to give these much-abused characters the benefit of the doubt.
Over all not a bad book but perhaps you might want to have some background knowledge of your own
If you have read and enjoyed any of Ian Mortimer's books, especially The Perfect King: The Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation or 1415: Henry V's Year of Glory; or She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth by Helen Castor you will definitely not find this book boring. I found Trevor Royle's style of writing similar to Mortimer's. In his views Royle is much more conservative than Mortimer, more closer to Castor's way of telling without the inclusion of his own ideas of how events are to be interpreted. Just like Mortimer, Royle takes time to briefly explain multiple possibilities for reasons and outcomes when needed, instead of his preference.
It has to be added that the book starts with two prologues, both entertaining as well as setting the ground of the grand topic that this book covers: one is about Medieval life and the other about Shakespeare's 'History': His plays.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I never miss an opportunity to be pedantic, so I'll take the opportunity presented here. England's first civil war is credited as being the struggle between Stephen and Matilda,... Read morePublished 5 months ago by R.M.F.Brown (Author)
The first hundred pages of this book essentially provides an excellent and meaningful point of reference of Kings and Kingship, during the period, via Richard II. Read morePublished on 6 Feb. 2012 by R. Dennett
If like me you own a bookcase full of books on the Wars of the Roses and one of these books happens to be "The Road to Bosworth Field" don't buy this book. Read morePublished on 17 Jan. 2012 by Bazz
I thought this was a marvellous book as close to perfection as a history book can be. I have four reasons for this:
Firstly it was very well written; it read almost like... Read more
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