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Richard III, The Young King to Be: v. 1 Hardcover – 1 Nov 2008

4.1 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 1 Nov 2008
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tempus Publishing Ltd (Nov. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 075244686X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752446868
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,322,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Josephine Wilkinson is an author and historian. She received a First from the University of Newcastle where she also read for her PhD. She has received British Academy research funding and has been scholar-in-residence at St Deiniol's Library, Britain's only residential library founded by the great Victorian statesman, William Gladstone She now lives in York, Richard III's favourite city. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
At last, a book that doesn't just concentrate on Richard's years as King, but provides an insight into the remaining 30 years of his nearly 33 year lifespan. The book is put together very well, putting Richard firmly in the context of the times in which he lived, rather than looking back at a king using the Tudor chroniclers version of his reign. Sadly for Richard, history is always written by winners.

The latter years of the reign of King Henry VI and the protectorship of Richard's father must have been traumatic and frightening for a young boy, especially the barbarous treatment eventually suffered by his father and older brother Edmund and the flight from Ludlow to escape the Lancastrian threat. What happens to us in our childhood must have an effect on the adult we become, and Richard's childhood must have been pretty scary.

The book has a nice balance between the good part of Richard's character, but does not hesitate to point out his faults, especially in his desire to obtain lands belonging to others sometimes whatever the cost. It also shows him as a religious man, despite that fact that he fathered illegitimate children, and he was certainly a brave soldier and able administrator. He does not seem to me to be different from any other powerful mediaeval lord, and we must view his actions not by the standards of today, but by the standards of 15th century England. He is certainly no worse and in my opinion much better than the Tudors, who systematically disposed of every possible Yorkist contender for the throne, even to the appalling treatment on the scaffold of the Countess of Salisbury (who was a very old woman) by Henry VIII!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book. It is well written, well researched and fair.
I liked the way the author explained symbolism and I especially liked the way the book began with a brief look at Richard's astrology. I would have liked a more in depth look at his birth chart as I have been studying it myself. There are a couple of things I felt rather spoiled the book, they are only minor ones. The first is that the type settng and proof reading were not good and there are many words omitted or the wrong word appears - e.g. certainly for certaintity, things like that which are niggling. Also and more important, the author includes a lot of long quotations from early chronicles and I feel the spelling should have been modernised. I am fairly familiar with middle English so it was not an obstacle for me but it would be a problem for readers who were not used to old spelling. Apart from that I feel the spirit of the times has been well captured and I can't think of any other book which has considered all the events from the perspective of Richard and treated him like a person and not a monster or saint as often happens. I sincerely hope she will finish the story very soon.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Overall, I enjoyed this book and felt it really padded out Richard III. It didn't go on about how ruthless/horrible/murderous he was, and it gave a good overall feel of what life was like in his era.

The cons.
It was quite pro Richard, presenting an overall sympathetic view of him. While this is quite a refreshing change to the usual "Richard was an evil villain" mantra, it did make me think that the book is a little biased.
Some of the imagery used was quite romanticised- Richard, trotting back to Middleham after a hard days training, in his armour and looking forwards to a nice hot bath etc. And it being a shame he could not wear his fashionable pointy shoes- as Edward IV had banned them (which in itself could be seen to be a good thing).

The pros.
After a while, I got to quite like the imagery the author conjours up. After all, despite all the "wicked uncle" portrayal, he would have had feelings, thoughts and desires just like anyone else. Previous books I have read on Richard III just concentrate on cold, hard facts, this book had a lot of facts, but sought to present Richard in a more human light.
Although the author presumes what Richard may have felt- it is a change to think of Richard III doing normal things, rather than just his usual one dimensional plotting and planning.

I also really liked the level of detail. There are chapters on Richard's dealing with the Countess of Oxford and her lands, and the Countess of Warwick. The author has really researched this and there is a lot of detail.

I also agree with another review on here, that the last chapter- the study on the literature of hate, was a bit out of place. Though interesting, it would be better at the end of the whole Richard III story.

All in all, I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading volume 2.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a well researched and well written biography of Richard 111 concentrating on his early life before he became King. It demonstrates well his ability as a soldier and his bravery and loyalty. I am pro Richard so was pleased to read of his good points for a change. I had a little difficulty at times to believe it was facts as too often the author seemed to rely on Richard's thoughts. How could she possibly know. I found too that it got a bit heavy at times and the mire of detail left me bewildered. Nevertheless I was glad to read of his early life as we too often forget just how he suffered and how young he was.
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