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Customer Review

5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A book of two halves..............., 16 Nov. 2013
By 
This review is from: The King's Grave: The Search for Richard III (Hardcover)
This is literally a book of two halves: The part by Philippa Langley is a nightmare; the part by Michael Jones is really interesting and enlightening. Be very aware of this, should you choose to buy or read this book.

It should also be said that the book is a bit thin - although it is over 250 pages long, it is big print!

MJ is a historian, and this shows through. He takes an open minded stance on Richard, and does not attempt to make him look like either a "saint" or a "sinner". This is the approach that I have waited to read for years. I think most serious readers take the Tudor propaganda for what it is, but the whitewash used by some (and only some) Ricardians is equally misleading and unhelpful. I liked the way that he highlighted the negative things which Richard definitely carried out, the positive things which must be attributed to him, and the likely crimes that he may have committed (but which can not - and probably never will - be proved). This is probably one of the most interesting and fair reviews of Richard that I have read.

The Philippa Langley part of the book drove me to distraction - I could quite happily have given her the damned "R" as a tarmac suppository! She is clearly totally committed to the hunt for Richard and we must all be thankful for her drive - without it, he might still be under the car park. That does not excuse the self indulgent drivel that represents her part of the book. I am surprised that the ULAS team could stand her attitudes and (frankly) tantrums. Her attitude toward Jo Appleby (in terms of her age/experience and in terms of her attitude as to how bones should be dealt with) was little short of reprehensible. Bearing in mind the fact that we all know what happened - i.e. Richard was identified - there can be little or no tension in that respect.

If Philippa Langley's part of the book had been less of a trial, I would have given this a 5* review. I can only award 5* for Michael Jones' contribution - and -1* for Philippa Langley's.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, as the case may be) I don't watch television, so I didn't see the TV programme that was aired. If it was anything like the book, I don't think I would have bothered.

Thank you MIchael for an interesting review of Richard; and thank you, Philippa for discovering Richard.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Nov 2013 22:45:48 GMT
Your finding Langley's attitude to Appleby 'quite reprehensible' is indeed ironic, referring as you were to the treatment of bones. Jo Appleby's casual mattock knocked a bigger hole in Richard's skull than the entire Tudor army had been able to do and this was seen by all TV viewers. Langley's preference for draping the bone box with a flag actually did them no damage whatsoever.

Posted on 20 Mar 2014 17:50:20 GMT
C. Woods says:
It seem you have no idea what you are talking about. All this came about by a single womans desire to follow a dream and spending years getting the funds together... no mean feat for anyone. This book is an interesting insight to the story behind the search with a historical side. The university only jumped in and making noise when the bones were discovered. Jo was not enthusiastic and was infact incredibly dismissive, therefore I think her attitude and the universities to Langley was obnoxious and completely reprehensible considering who started this search and funded it and the attitude of the university is continuing to appear in the media. The program was a little emotional, but I and everyone who does watch tv are aware of editing. The book is a true account of the aforementioned along with a historical view and I think they compliment each other beautifully. Anyone with half a brain will be aware that you clearly had a hidden agenda behind your review.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Jun 2014 15:09:27 BDT
Summercorn says:
The programme was 'a little emotional'? You mean Ms Langley's faked fainting fit when the bones were found? The me, me, ME! crying fit by the bones? The university were and are being pragmatic and scientific. There need be no 'agenda' to remark this truth. Even if you have half a brain.

Posted on 19 Jan 2016 13:36:43 GMT
Steve B says:
Jo Appleby's minor hissy fit about Langley's "unscientific" insistence on draping the remains in the Royal Standard was a bit rich coming from someone who had "scientifically" managed to put a shovel through the King's skull.
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