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Wars of the Roses
Wars of the Roses
by John Gillingham
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good standard introduction to the period, 8 April 2011
This review is from: Wars of the Roses (Hardcover)
John Gillingham produces a well paced and highly informative introduction to the later 15th century. This will be of great use to the general reader. I particularly enjoyed the impression of Henry VI as a "careless king". This sets the tone for the fuller treatment of Henry as something other than a passive entity that we find in Bertram Wolffe's biography of Henry VI. Highly readable volume and strongly recommended.


Henry VI
Henry VI
by Bertram Wolffe
Edition: Paperback

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Henry VI Saint or sinner?, 7 April 2011
This review is from: Henry VI (Paperback)
Bertram Wolffe produces an excellent revisionist view on Henry VI which I found compelling back in the early 1980s and I see no good reason to deviate from his findings today. The Tudor mythology is totally exploded in a powerful and well informed piece of writing and a more sinister figure emerges: a King, who far from being a Saint, demonstrates incompetence on a colossal scale, total cowardice and a vindictiveness towards members of his family that few traditional historians were prepared to take any notice of, blinded as they were by Shakespeare. Clearly in the hands of Wolffe Henry becomes that worst type of medieval monarch, "too capable to be ignored but incapable of following any consistent or independent line of policy." (D M Loades) All in all a challenging, persuasive and formidable thesis which in my view stands up very well to the attempts of post revisionist historians to restore Henry to the position of a helpless vegetable. Thoroughly recommended.


The Wars of the Roses: A Concise History
The Wars of the Roses: A Concise History
by Charles Ross
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the best general introduction to the Wars, 1 Feb 2011
An excellent read. Charles Ross produced a superb all round introduction to the Wars of the Roses that has never been bettered. Thoroughly recommended to anybody seeking to gain a foothold in the dramatic and often confusing events of later fifteenth century England.


Chronicles (Penguin Classics)
Chronicles (Penguin Classics)
by Jean Froissart
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.39

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading, 21 Jan 2011
Absolutely essential reading matter for students of the fourteenth century from the undoubted master of medieval prose. By his own admission, Froissart largely plagiarises the earlier chronicle of Jean le Bel in his first two books, but by the time he gets on to the dramatic events of 1381 he is in a league of his own. The masterful speech he gives to John Ball sets the scene for a gripping description of the Peasants' Revolt and his final book on the downfall of Richard II is highly illuminating and contains the wonderful little cameo of Thomas Duke of Gloucester being strangled with his bath towel in Calais; this after Froissart says he doesn't really know what happened to him! Naturally, a lot of what Froissart says can be treated with great suspicion but he remains a great entertainer and a valuable insight into the fourteenth century world. A great shame that there is no comparable figure for the fifteenth century.


Ruling England, 1042-1217
Ruling England, 1042-1217
by Richard Huscroft
Edition: Paperback
Price: 25.09

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good introduction to the period, 7 Dec 2010
I was very happy with this book. Huscroft organises it superbly making it really accessible for 6th form students. There are three chronological sections, 1042-1066, 1066-1154 and 1154-1217. Each of these sections commences with a chronological narrative of the reigns followed by detailed investigations into specific problems of government, church and the law. The basic theme is the development of English monarchy culminating with Magna Carta and the whole book provides a first class introduction to the high medieval period. Those who want to dig deeper will need to look elsewhere and Clanchy is probably a better all round volume: especially as he considers the thirteenth century in its entirety. Nevertheless, a very good book indeed.


The Norman Kingdom of Sicily (Cambridge Medieval Textbooks)
The Norman Kingdom of Sicily (Cambridge Medieval Textbooks)
by Donald Matthew
Edition: Paperback
Price: 26.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars great subject, indifferent book, 7 Dec 2010
Donald Matthew's work is well researched and an invaluable source for this period. Despite the title, Frederick II looms large here along with an interesting consideration of the "betrayal" of King Manfred. I like the way the book ends in 1266 when the Kingdom succumbed to Angevin rule and was on borrowed time from that point onwards. The main problem with this volume is that it is simply desperately dull and difficult for IB students to get to grips with. If this was the only book on the period it would be impossible to get a wider audience enthused in a fascinating multicultural state that has so much to offer general historical readers in addition to specialists. More matter, less art so to speak.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 21, 2012 4:55 PM BST


The End of the House of Lancaster
The End of the House of Lancaster
by R.L. Storey
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Still one of the best books on this topic, 7 Dec 2010
Reading and re-rereading Robin Storey's work is always a great pleasure. Here he advances a challenging thesis for the causes of the Wars of the Roses, namely baronial feuding in the localities led to the paralysis of central government and provided the means for advancing the dynastic claims of Richard duke of York. Although this thesis has been challenged with gusto by Christine Carpenter in particular, Storey remains persuasive and is guaranteed to get a good classroom debate going! Well written, concise and thought provoking it is difficult to appreciate that this book is almost 50 years old.


The Wars of the Roses (Cassell Military Paperbacks)
The Wars of the Roses (Cassell Military Paperbacks)
by Robin Neillands
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing book, 7 Dec 2010
Having read Neillands on the "Great War Generals and the Western Front" I expected a good standard introduction to the Wars of the Roses. This expectation was emphatically dashed as it is clear that the author is completely out of his depth in the maelstrom of fifteenth century England. There is nothing here that has not been considered more satisfactorily elsewhere, especially in Goodman, Ross and Lander to name but a few. I agree with Neillands in that this is now a very popular topic and "scarcely a year and never a decade passes without another (book) being added to the extensive canon of work on that complex and confusing period of English History". This in itself is no justification for producing yet another book on this topic and one that singularly fails to illuminate said confusing and complex period.


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