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Wars of the Roses: The Soldiers' Experience [Hardcover]

Prof Anthony E Goodman
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Sep 2006
The history of the Wars of the Roses from the common soldiers' perspective. Historians have researched extensively the motives and fortunes of kings, nobles and gentlemen in the Wars of the Roses that bewildering sequence of rebellions fought between 1455 and 1485. The shadows cast by the awesome puppet masters of the Wars, like Richard of York, Warwick the Kingmaker or Richard III, add to the mist which swirls around the mass of participants, Englishmen, Welshmen and others, including women and children. They were mostly commoners, the fifteenth-century equivalent of the Poor Bloody Infantry. What sort of people were they? Why did they repeatedly buckle and saddle up for combat? What hopes and fears kept them awake, lying under the stars? How did they behave on the way in alehouses and when they encountered beguiling lasses? In the sixteenth century, history-writing was to depict the Wars luridly as theatres of blood, as reflected in Shakespeare's history plays. Did such views square with family and folk traditions?

Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press; First Edition edition (1 Sep 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752417843
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752417844
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,078,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"'Irresistible... sheds light on the lot of the common soldier as never before' ALISON WEIR; 'A new history of the Wars of the Roses viewed from the ordinary soldiers' perspective makes grim but fascinating reading' BBC HISTORY MAGAZINE." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Anthony Goodman was, until his recent retirement, Professor of Medieval History at the University of Edinburgh. His other books include John of Gaunt, Richard II: The Art of Kingship, War and Border Societies in the Middle Ages, The Wars of the Roses: Military Activity and English Society, 1452-97, and History of England from Edward II to James I. His next book Margaret of Anjou: England's Warrior Queen will also be published by Tempus. He lives in Edinburgh. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
3.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Medieval Mince 1 Mar 2006
The title of this book is completely misleading, a history of the Wars of the Roses from a soldier's perspecitive it is not. There are many anecdotes pertaining to warfare but they cover a vast time span i.e. 1314 - 1620AD. Which is fine if you are not particularly interested in the Wars of the Roses. Although there are specific chapters and sub-chapters the book rambles from one thing to the next with no real cohesion. It is if the author has put all the information he can get on medieval warfare between the pages but then leaves the reader to make sense out of it. It is not a easy read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Still leaves something to be said. 18 Dec 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A difficult subject for anyone to write about. I suppose I was hoping to hear something more concerning what these men were thinking when they signed on for this, and then, even more difficult, what they really experinced in hand to hand battle with their countrymen.
I wanted to know how they were trained for this, what their society used as a means to enable their strength to be used, and what kind of rewards they expected.
More history of what happened to those who lost and won would have helped, as would more on their relationships with their masters.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A different perspective 15 Mar 2006
By Graham R. Hill VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Anyone studying what we now know as the Wars of the Roses will naturally start with the kings, queens, princes and other nobles. After all they started and re-started it all to further their ambitions.
However, eventually one wants to know about the others who were involved. Who were they? What motivated them? What was their life like? This book goes a long way to answering that question. It won't tell you who killed the princes in the tower, why Clarence, Warwick, Stanley, Percy et al kept changing sides, or whether Perkin Warbeck was who he said he was. What it will tell you is how the common man caught up in all this lived and, of course, died.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A historical read. 5 Aug 2011
By Svarog The Mighty - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The soldiers experience would have been better if they had more first person experiences quoted. This is a more scholarly acerbic historical read.
Want to know the following about medieval soldiers in the war of the roses- Who were they? What motivated them? What was their life like? This book does not answer that question. Nor does it give examples. It does have one chapter on camp life and the equipment soldiers carried. The rest is the same old history of the wars in general terms. No first hand accounts, no descriptions of the various battles or what happened there.
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