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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting & exciting read
I found this an interesting and exciting read. The alternating of chapters relating to the finding of Richard III's bones and the history leading up to Bosworth adds to the enjoyment.

I found Philippa Langley's chapters relating to her journey interesting and exciting. Whilst some of her personal comments might sound strange, I put these aside - at the end of...
Published 8 months ago by Chewy

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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A book of two very different halves
This book represents the culmination of the work of dedicated Ricardian, Phillipa Langley, and her relentless search for the remains of King Richard the Third, which were disposed of hastily and without ceremony after his defeat at Bosworth. Her refusal to give up, her lobbying for resources, and her emotional connection to the project are well documented in her...
Published 8 months ago by EleanorB


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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting & exciting read, 10 Nov 2013
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This review is from: The King's Grave: The Search for Richard III (Hardcover)
I found this an interesting and exciting read. The alternating of chapters relating to the finding of Richard III's bones and the history leading up to Bosworth adds to the enjoyment.

I found Philippa Langley's chapters relating to her journey interesting and exciting. Whilst some of her personal comments might sound strange, I put these aside - at the end of the day, her obsession and determination achieved what she set out to do, and she should be praised for that.

Michael Jones chapters were particularly good reading - particularly the chapter on Bosworth, and the moments leading up to the demise of Richard - this really was un-putdownable and almost compares to a blockbuster film - it left me wanting to read more by Mr Jones.

I would have liked more detail behind the science of the dig and the finding of the bones - that is what is missing from this book. I also found myself constantly going back to the selection of pictorial maps in the book, to better understand the positioning of the trenches and their finds - so, perhaps an overlaying map at the front of the book would have been useful - ie all together, overlaying all of the different periods and finds, together with compass points.

I have read several books on Richard III. I see myself as an objective reader of Richard - accepting that we don't know all of the facts, that these were turbulent times and very different to our own.

I recommend this book to anyone considering reading it
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A book of two very different halves, 18 Nov 2013
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EleanorB - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The King's Grave: The Search for Richard III (Hardcover)
This book represents the culmination of the work of dedicated Ricardian, Phillipa Langley, and her relentless search for the remains of King Richard the Third, which were disposed of hastily and without ceremony after his defeat at Bosworth. Her refusal to give up, her lobbying for resources, and her emotional connection to the project are well documented in her paragraphs of the work, which alternate with a very clear and dispassionate examination of the life and very short reign of this monarch, whose reputation suffered at the hands of Tudor propagandists.

The "R" in the carpark is possibly one of the strangest trigger points for an archaeological dig ever, but Phillipa's instincts were so strong, and so absolutely right, that it is almost as if Richard himself was guiding the work.

Michael Jones on the other hand is not an emotional writer, and bases his historical interpretations of Richard's life and career on solid research: his work definitely redresses some of the Tudorbethan bad press that sought to bolster in every way, the slender right of Henry the Seventh to take the throne. So, not an evil Shakespearean Crookback, but a highly intelligent and physically brave man who fought to his last breath to hang on to his kingdom. The fate of his nephews, the Princes in the Tower, remains an enigma and an unresolved crime although it is clear that Richard was not the only person with an interest in their removal from the scene.

His recovered skeleton, showing significant scoliosis in his spine, indicates that he was much burdened by pain from the curvature during his life, and the sensitive reconstruction of the facial features gives us a wonderful glimpse into a long vanished past which casts a spell to this day.

This is not the best history book you will ever read, but it is very good and on Langley's part at least, written with love.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Digging brilliantly, 14 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The King's Grave: The Search for Richard III (Hardcover)
This is almost a "can't put down book". The process/progress of the search is skilfully interleaved with a lucid and up to date reviews of the life of Richard III. The book has just the right amount of detail for a general reader. The notes and a bibliography allow anybody wanting to delve deeper, whether they are are a general reader or a serious student of Richard III.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable, 8 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The King's Grave: The Search for Richard III (Hardcover)
I was surprised at how exciting this was considering I have watched the Channel 4 " King in the Car Park" ... on more than one occasion I must confess. I just could not wait to get on to the next day of Philippa's search. A masterstroke to have the chapters alternating with Michael Jones' take on Richard and his actions. It really emphasises how much we should beware of looking at persons in history from a modern mind set, living through the Wars if the Roses was like trying to survive in a war zone . A HIGHLY recommended read.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I could not put it down !, 22 Oct 2013
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My comments mirror those of others reviewers of this book. The chapters alternate one from Philippa Langley giving the present day events of the discovery of King Richard then one from Michael Jones giving the historical background of the kings life. I honestly could not put this book down even though I knew the history of Richard and I knew the outcome that he would be found after over 500 years. I loved the format of the book being transported from the 21st century one chapter back to the 15th in the next. There were times when I thought I was reading a novel that would make a very good film the way that the remains were found but as we know it is true. There will no doubt be many other books written on this subject...especially after they a decide where King Richard will eventually be laid to rest. I thoughly recommend this book whether you know little of the historical period or you are an expert.....just be warned clear your diary for a couple of days as nothing else will get done !
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars really enjoyed this book, 11 Oct 2013
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Really enjoyed this book not a stuffy history book a good read for anyone who is interested in richard I would recommend and I don't usually write a review
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FASCINATING, 11 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The King's Grave: The Search for Richard III (Hardcover)
Not just for "Ricardians", this book should fascinate anyone with any sense of curiosity, Its about history, archaeology and a woman's determination to achieve her goal depite the odds (literally, a million to one) against her.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History and Current Events in One, 28 Dec 2013
By 
Judith Harvey (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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I had seen the documentary on finding Richard III and became fascinated, so found the book a wonderful filler of the detail behind not only the excavation but also the history of this apparently maligned King. I was quite ignorant on it all and the authors have skillfully woven history into the detail and importance of the events of the excavation, and I couldn't put it down. I suspect that this may challenge the beliefs of some people who had more knowledge of what happened to this monarch than me, but maybe the authors are correct and this man was the subject of a major smear campaign?? Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I liked the format a great deal - personal and emotional ..., 26 Nov 2013
By 
The BMW (Cheshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The King's Grave: The Search for Richard III (Hardcover)
I have always had a desire to know more about the life and times of Richard lll for I found it hard to believe that circumstances could change his personality so drastically. I therefore watched the TV program, not sure of what to expect but hoping for more information. It was most interesting but posed as many questions as it answered. So I bought the book.
I liked the format a great deal - personal and emotional chapters interspersed with detailed factual ones. This made the book very easy to read. It was also evident that for Philippa Langley the search for Richard's grave was the culmination of several years of hard work and personal belief and she managed to express her feelings throughout the excavation and subsequent laboratory tests in such a way as to involve her readers in the highs and lows of each discovery.
Michael Jones supplied the calming approach. He set out the provable facts about Richard simply and concisely and though the co-authors couldn't agree on the main question of whether the sons of Edward IV were indeed killed by, or on the order of Richard, he explained that the way people lived and behaved at the time could go some way to mitigating their actions.
The fantastic success of the excavation in finding Richard's body and thereby revealing the truth about his stature and death at the battle of Bosworth can only help to increase our knowledge of these times.
This is a book to set you thinking.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uniqye, topical and fascinating, 23 Nov 2013
By 
B. Gaskell-Denvil (MELBOURNE, VIC Australia) - See all my reviews
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These two authors are an interesting team and their alternate chapters make a satisfying combination. Pjilippa Langley is the principal inspiration and instigator behind the recent discovery of Richard III's remains. Her many years of painstaking preparation and steadfast work both on the likely site, on gathering the necessary permissions from all the present bureaucratic powers that be, and in raising the money needed for such a major archaeological endeavour, enabled the whole amazing discovery to be both attempted and accomplished. This exceptional effort, knowledge and patience, clearly led to considerable frustration for her over the years, but the absolute success is certainly a accolade to her understanding and dogged persistence. She has since been criticised for her emotional reactions, but considering all the years of work she had invested in the project, I think anyone would be entitled to a few emotional reactions. She has also been criticised for her early expressed instinct as to the place, marked "R" (for reserved) in the Leicester car park where she believed the body was lying. But such criticism is both boorish and ignorant. Ms. Langley was proved right - enough said. Besides, is there any woman in the country who has never experienced some valuable insight through pure instinct?
I found her chapters quite enthralling. The story of her endeavours and eventual breakthrough is fascinating indeed, very well told, frequently moving and often inspiring. She is charmingly honest in her storytelling and although she makes kind excuses for the failings of others, she makes no excuses for herself.
Michael Jones, the historian, wrote the other half of this book - inserting chapter by chapter the necessary background to the project with a clear `potted' version of Richard's III's life. Although he played no part in the unearthing of Richard III's body, he is an expert on the era and principal characters, and therefore offers a concise summary of the man behind it all. Jones has his own beliefs regarding some aspects of the king's life, and there is an interesting debate at the end of the book where both authors state their opposing beliefs, backed by knowledgeable research, on whether Richard III did - or did not - order the deaths of the princes in the Tower.
Some of Michael Jones' chapters seem more readable than others, and whereas some clarify the past situation beautifully, others (Chapter 6 regarding the pre-contract and Hastings' execution for instance) are muddled and inconsistent while following a mismatch of contradictory sources, while his best chapter is that on the battle at Bosworth. Certainly Jones gives us nothing new, but he does present an explanatory background for the figure revealed by Philippa Langley and the Leicester University Archaeological team who were finally persuaded to follow the trail.
This is a book which will surely be enjoyed both by the general public as well as by the knowledgeable - and enjoyable it most certainly is.
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The King's Grave: The Search for Richard III
The King's Grave: The Search for Richard III by Michael Jones (Hardcover - 3 Oct 2013)
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