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The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses and the Rise of the Tudors Paperback – 30 Apr 2015
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The Hollow Crown is exhilarating, epic, blood-and-roses history ... Jones's material is thrilling ... There is fine scholarly intuition on display here and a mastery of the grand narrative; it is a supremely skilful piece of storytelling. (Jessie Childs Sunday Telegraph)
Dan Jones's fine new history [...] locates the conflict not in the tedious familiarity of modern power plays, but in the fascinating strangeness of the attitudes and belief systems of that distant age: a world in which piety and politics converged, and where the outcome of war was nothing less than the manifestation of divine judgement. [...] Tautly structured, elegantly written and finely attuned to the values and sensibilities of the age, The Hollow Crown is probably the best introduction to the Wars of the Roses currently in print. (John Adamson Mail on Sunday 2014-09-14)
[Jones] is an extraordinary storyteller whose scene-setting is intensely visual and whose characters spring from the page. He has a gift for an arresting turn of phrase [...] and [...] highlights engaging details: that coronation rituals often bred head lice, and that Henry VI was shocked by, and abhorred, nakedness. Finally, he is comically wry [...] . This is narrative history at its most brilliant. [...] A Milanese ambassador in 1471 likened the task of describing the ever-changing nature of events in England to suffering torture. With history in such skilful hands as these, reading about them is anything but. (Suzannah Lipscomb The New Statesman 2014-10-24)
Henry VI was a born saint - and that was just the problem as Dan Jones shows in this racy and vigorous new narrative history. Picking up where he left off at the end of his acclaimed The Plantagenets with Henry VI's father, the incomparable warrior-king Henry V, Jones shows that a successful medieval king needed to rule strongly (but not tyrannically), father plenty of healthy sons and keep defeating the French (Christopher Hart Sunday Times)
...the gloriously resonant title title of Dan Jones's brilliant account of the Wars of the Roses - The Hollow Crown - conjures up Shakespeare's influence not just on our language but on the ways in which we think about our past ... Jones is a born storyteller, peopling the terrifying uncertainties of each moment with a superbly drawn cast of characters and powerfully evoking the brutal realities of civil war. With gripping urgency he shows this calamitous conflict unfold. (Helen Castor Evening Standard)
Jones, though a young man, is a traditional narrative historian in the mould of Starkey, Taylor and Trevelyan. In other words, he tells a good story. That is a good thing, since storytelling has gone out of favour among so many historians. (Gerard DeGroot The Times)
If you're a fan of Game of Thrones or The Tudors, then Dan Jones's swashbucklingly entertaining slice of late medieval history will be right up your alley. Exploring the world of the War of the Roses with a near-novelistic degree of pace and intrigue, while always remaining scholarly and insightful, The Hollow Crown is every bit as entertaining and readable as Jones's previous history blockbuster, The Plantagenets... a work of popular history that has as many cliffhanging moments of surprise and suspense as any TV miniseries, and is every bit as entertaining. (Alex Larman Daily Express)
Jones navigates the violence and treacheries that follow in such vivid prose that everything, even a non-battle, seems incredibly dramatic and exciting ... Fast-moving, witty and humane, The Hollow Crown is narrative history at its best. (Leanda De Lisle Literary Review)
[Jones'] greatest skill as a historical writer is to somehow render sprawling, messy epochs such as this one into manageable, easily digestible matter; he is keenly attuned to what should be served up and what should be omitted. It makes for an engrossing read and a thoroughly enjoyable introduction to the Lancastrian-Yorkist struggle. (Sean McGlynn The Spectator 2014-09-13)
The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses and the Rise of the Tudors, from Dan Jones - the celebrated author of The Plantagenets - is an exciting, fast-paced history of the Wars of the Roses.See all Product description
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The author convincingly shows that the huge mess and tribulations of the period stemmed from the weakness of one man - Henry VI. So Henry wasn't suited to be a King, but that only shows the weakness of a heredity kingdom. He also shows how it was pulled together again by the first two Tudor Kings, albeit in a capricious and brutal manner.
This book is very exciting narrative history, which will appeal to those looking for an overview of the period without too much detail. Although it does get a little tricky sometimes keeping track of the huge cast of characters involved. Particularly when they are dukes of this and earls of that. It is a story of kings and queens, lords and ladies and even a few rebelling peasants, and how they kept or lost their heads.
Only hitch I personally had was that Jones can dwell on a few insignificant details and lose track of the bigger picture. However I do stress that this happens rarely.
1. The family trees did not have any birth / death years or married years, which would have been useful.
2. A timeline or brief chronology of events would have been useful.
3. It was difficult to assess which Somerset or Neville etc. was being talked about at some points. So many of the nobility were being killed that the turnover of titles was quite confusing sometimes, hence the above would have been useful inclusions just to see whether it was the original the son or a second brother who was being talked about.
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