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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful Storytelling
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I began this book with some trepidation having struggled a little with Alison Weir's Katherine Swynford: The Story of John of Gaunt and His Scandalous Duchess. The problem I had with that story was not in its telling but in the lack of firm factual information to base it on. Her story of Lancaster and York has no such shortfall.

This is a...
Published on 10 Jun 2012 by Chris J. Newman

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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good overall picture, falls down a little in detail
Although the title states, Lancaster & York, the Wars of the Roses, the book covers the later stages of the Hundred years war and the first part of the Wars of the Roses, effectively the reign of Henry VI i.e to 1471. The final stages of the Wars i.e Richard III, Bosworth etc are not covered. It focuses more on providing a good clear explanation of the political elements...
Published 20 months ago by Uttyng


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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping and intriguing read, 27 Jun 2003
By 
Kurt A. Johnson (Marseilles, IL USA) - See all my reviews
From 1455 to 1487, England was torn apart in a conflict that pitted a kaleidoscope of magnates, aristocrats and power-players against one another. Symbolized by the roses that represented the two royal families (York and Lancaster), this war was all about power, vengeance and position. This wonderful book begins in the 1300s, with the roots of the conflict, showing the roots of the war, and who fought it and why.
I must say that it is one of the most fascinating and informative history books I have read in a while. The era that the book discusses has it all - murder, intrigue, battle, betrayal, vengeance, infidelity, murder, and much more. And, as it should be, the author takes this era, and weaves its history into a gripping and intriguing read. Overall, I found this to be a great book, and I highly recommend it to you.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read., 14 Jan 2001
By A Customer
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For the first time I feel as if I have been able to follow the course of this episode of English history. Up to now it has been a confusing mess, but the characters are brought to life and the background thoroughly explained.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Convincing Account, 7 April 2010
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Probably the most enjoyable of the the four books by Weir I have read, although all of them were great. I think her strength is in tracing the stages of negotiation, of gradually shifting positions, whether she's writing about Elizabeth I's ongoing refusal to marry and enter into alliances with other European nations, Henry VIII's weighing up of political, religious and personal needs, or in this book the various claims of heredity, competence and gender in determining succession.

She comes down pretty firmly on the Yorkist side, but the real theme of this book is the saintly incompetence of Henry VI, as astonishing character in this portrait.

She presents him as totally unable to stick to a decision when even the slightest pressure was brought to bear on him. And yet despite all the difficulties this brought for him he puts up with it with never a complaint and forgives almost everybody. In turn, for decades, the English people forgive him in return (unlike say Richard II).

Hard to put down.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping historical narrative of a neglected period, 10 Sep 2001
By A Customer
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Alison Weir writes in a scholarly yet exciting fashion about a period of history not really covered widely in "popular" history books. She provides a tremendous depth of detail yet still manages to make the characters come alive in a way that retains the reader's sympathy for all the main players throughout. I wish history had been like this at school!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bringing a critical period of our history to life, 4 July 2014
By 
DB "davidbirkett" (Co. Kildare, Ireland (but born & raised Liverpool, UK)) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lancaster And York: The Wars of the Roses (Kindle Edition)
I've recently been rewatching the BBC Shakespear 1980's "Henry VI" plays, with Bernard Hill as Richard of York and Mark Wing-Davey (Zaphod Beeblebrox) as Warwick, and very good they were too, but I think even better for having this by my side so I could check up on the historical accuracy (WS certainly took a few liberties.)

Given the success of this book and the TV version of the fictionalised "The White Queen" I think it is high time for a serious TV history of the Wars of the Roses plus Bosworth, ideally with Alison Weir contributing, and a big glossy book accompanying the series with more detailed maps and colour photographs.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 3 July 2002
Alison Weir's book is a masterpiece explaining the intricte detail surrounding the whole period with clarity rarely achieved in the many other texts on the subject.
Alison should be very happy with this text which brings the story to light. It is a vibrant and human account of the period and makes a topic interesting, rather like a good novel, an achievement given that other "historians" appear to miss the point focussing as they do on the battles and making it about as interesting and accessible as thesis on nuclear physics.
The book should be required reading for all school children and I wish it had been around when I did my A-level history. It would have saved much pain and reading of dull, badly written texts and actually brought a very exciting part of England's history to light.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping work from one of England's great historical authors, 2 May 2002
By 
Liz Faulkner (Dublin, Ireland) - See all my reviews
From the origins of the war back in the days of Edward III, to the minute details of the conflict itself, Alison Weir's gripping work provides the reader with an invaluable account of one of the most turblent periods in Mediaeval history.
The book revels in detailing the intrigue, lust, power playing and violence which characterised the time. And as with all her other books, Alsion Weir makes a point of revealing intimate details about the lives and living conditions of the people in the firing line.
For me it's the small details that count.. learning how Edward IV washed at least once a week (but only his head, feet and legs!) gives us some idea of the conditions that these people lived in. Likewise the passages depicting the actual battles themselves are vividly written and leave the reader in no doubt as to the savagery which a soldier faced in battle.
Overall a wonderfully written, addictive read and one which is right up there with the rest of her work. I can't wait for her next book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book by a first rate author, 19 May 2010
By 
M. J. White - See all my reviews
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The problem with author historians is that their proven academic ability does not always match their ability to write a good book. This is not so with Alison Weir who it seems could create a great book out of just about any subject she was given.

The complexities and numerous factions involved in the Wars of the Roses offer a hard challenge for anyone to translate into a concise and gripping story but Alison Weir has managed the task in style. The book is clearly laid out with well spaced chapters that seamlessly link in a way that offers the reader a desire to read on to find out what happens next. Frequently, I would read two or three chapters at once when I only intended to read one.

I find Alison Weirs style of writing refreshingly clear, concise and accessible. Not once was I left wondering what was meant by a phrase or reference. The editing is also good with only material that has a direct and informative impact making the cut.

In conclusion, this is not only a good history book but also a great story and a gripping read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars History comes alive, 11 Mar 2010
By 
Oracle - See all my reviews
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I have read most of Alison Weir's history books and this is undoubtedly the best. I knew the Wars of the Roses mainly from Shakespeare and Weir really brought the period to life for me. A subject which might all too easily become a list of dates and places becomes vividly real due to Weir's talent for focussing on the personalities of the key players. Margaret of Anjou in particular is a fascinating character, an arrogant and ruthless woman acting in a man's world and I found it particularly interesting to read about her. The book is also notable for several harrowing descriptions of battles which bring home the horrors faced by the soldiers of the era.

I would disagree with the comments that Weir is pro-York (ironically, some readers of her other book The Princes in the Tower have described her as pro-Lancaster, so you clearly can't please everyone!). In this book we see the faults on both sides and one particularly memorable part for me described how the Duke of York, who I had previously believed to be a brave and positive character, fled the battlefield leaving his wife and children to the mercy of his enemies.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent history of the Wars of the Roses, 2 May 2000
By A Customer
The best history of the Wars of the Roses I have yet read. Alison Weir's book builds the tension to the main battles of 1460/61 beautifully. She then keeps the pot boiling with intrigue and plotting. Somehow she manages to keep the whole complex history, with people changing sides as it suits them, clear and understandable. I only have one complaint - the book peters out before the great final battle of the Wars of the Roses in 1485. However, I guess this is covered in her next book "The Princes in the Tower" which I am about to start. Overall a great read !
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