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The Mystery of the Princes Paperback – 23 Jan 1997

4.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press; New Ed edition (23 Jan. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 075092943X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0750929431
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,599,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
Audrey Williamson's assessment of the evidence surrounding the disappearance of the two Princes in the Tower, Edward V and his younger brother, Richard, Duke of York, is as frustrating as it is enlightening. Williamson does well in defence of Richard III, playing her part in the campaign to restore his reputation after hundreds of years of apparently unwarranted demonisation at the behest, or at least, in the interests of those who followed him on the throne of England, Henry VII and his second son, Henry VIII. She tears apart the loosely collated near-contemporary indications that Richard was an inhuman monster, responsible for not only the murder of his nephews, but also the deaths of this brothers, Edward IV and George, Duke of Clarence and perhaps even his wife, Anne Neville, undermining the credibility of sources that have provided the basis for the myth of the monster. But her forensic demolition of the evidence that has been used to propagate the myth, mostly famously by the likes of Sir Thomas More and Shakespeare, is not matched by the quality of evidence presented to bolster her argument that Richard was in fact an early version of a Renaissance Prince, albeit an asexual one. She is prone to flights of fancy in favour of her hero, based on little more than conjecture and supposition to the extent that her argument becomes as weak that of those who have sought to undermine Richard III and his legacy.
Research presented in a more scholarly manner seems to indicate that Richard was not responsible for the disappearance, let alone the murders, of his nephews, and thus that Williamson is correct in her overall thesis. It is unfortunate the she did not choose to share with readers the basis for some of her suppositions.
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Format: Paperback
Many books have been written about the matter of the 'Princes in the Tower' and the possible guilt, or otherwise, of Richard III. This is one which should be read by anyone interested in the subject. Williamson works her way steadily through the evidence, omitting nothing, making no assumptions, and producing sources which are not used by other writers on the subject such as Paul Murray Kendall. The result is a balanced assessment which allows the reader to draw their own conclusions.

Richard comes out of the research well, and Henry VII very badly - not because of emotional partisanship, but on the evidence. By taking the story forward into the reign of Henry, Williamson's measured relating of the actions of both monarchs brings them into unavoidable contrast, and it is a contrast which highlights the way in which later Tudor propoganda maligned Richard and glossed over the undoubted tyrannies of Henry. But the character who comes worst out of this is Morton; traitor, spy and self-serving manipulator, a man who even under Tudor propoganda has come down to us surrounded by an odour of malevolence, he here appears on the evidence as a hugely important factor in the downfdall of the Yorkist dynasty and the triumph of the real usurping upstart - not Richard but Henry.

It is always nice, of course, to have one's prejudices justified by the facts, and any Richardian will find this a satisfying and enjoyable read. However, it should also be on the reading list of anyone interested in the Wars of the Roses, for the light it sheds on the political intrigues and sunterfuges of the last years of the period.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A fascinating, obviously well researched, non fictional book which presents various possibilities as to the fate of the boys. Captivating.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you already know something of the controversy about the Princes at the Tower this book will enlighten you further. If you like your roses red you may be exasperated. If you prefer your roses white you will be intrigued. I shall not spoil the argument for you but would advise you to read more recent works and compare them.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Haven't read all the book yet but what I have read I am finding interesting
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