Top critical review
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Good overall picture, falls down a little in detail
on 5 April 2013
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 rather than the military detail. It is written in a highly readable style unencumbered by footnotes, closer in style to a historical novel than an academic history, similar to Paul Murray Kendall's works on the Wars of the Roses.
1. Easy highly readable style and simple narrative.
2. Focuses on the characters,their motivations and inter-relationships
3. Good simple explanation of the causes of the Wars of the Roses.
4. Useful Genealogical trees of the principal families(though occasional errors)
5. 2 Maps which are clear and easily readable and 23 B & W illustrations.
1. Alot of (admittedly minor) errors, for example it states that the Yorkists formed up south of Ludlow on the shores of the River Tern, rather than the Teme. That the Yorkists advanced from Worcester towards London (to the East)going to Kiddermister (to the North)seems rather odd given that statement. It also states that Humphrey Stafford, Earl of Devon was grandson of Humphrey Stafford, 1st Duke of Buckingham, when he was in fact descended from another line of the Stafford family, that of Southwick. Many more in a similar vein.
2. Total lack of notes, this makes it very difficult to be sure of many of her other statements, as there is no provenance given for them, so it can be unclear as to what is fact and what is conjecture.
3. Partisan - very much biased towards the Yorkists who are good and Lancastrians bad, a very black and white portrayal, perhaps to give a simpler narrative.
4. Genealogical trees are in a "handwritten" font which makes them difficult to read.
Overall good as a starting point for gaining an understanding and flavour of the period. Good for the "lay" reader.
However cannot be relied upon for points of detail if you are looking at it from a more academic viewpoint, unless complemented by other texts. Nor does it cover the military element of the Wars of the Roses in any detail.