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on 13 September 2012
I am interested in the Wars of the Roses period and its aftermath and in my reading frequently came across references to this book. Often they were somewhat sneery. I decided that the best thing to do was actually read the book for myself. There are moments of purple prose, but this actually helps to make it a very enjoyable read. There are moments when you think that Kendall is putting thoughts into peoples heads and you cry out 'Where is the evidence for this?'. However, there is lots of very thought provoking material in this book. I thought it was especially good on Warwick and Clarence. It makes you think about Clarence rather than just holding him in utter contempt as a traitor. It goes into serious and fascinating detail about Richards legislative programme and the conservative motives behind his radical, by medieval standards, reforms. Read this. Even if you do not agree with all of it, it is time well and enjoyably spent.
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on 24 September 2015
The Most informative Biography of Richard III
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on 7 February 2016
Simply fantastic book ...interesting , informative ,full of facts and dates ...a compelling read for any history enthusiast !
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 12 April 2014
I was very keen to learn more about the evidence for the life and times of Richard III and this is exactly the book I was looking for. I began with Josephine Tey's 'The Daughter of Time'; I then read Annette Carson's 'A Small Guide to the Great Debate; finally I moved on to this one. I loved them all. However, this book is outstanding because it is scholarly in its approach to analysing complex subject matter but the narrative voice makes it easy to read. Clearly the author is pro-Richard but is fair in presenting the evidence before offering his interpretation of this evidence.
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on 29 August 2013
Richard III was demonised by the Tudor historians, in order , toi justify the accession of the Welshman henry VII to the throne of England. This book attempts successfully to put the record straight. It provides an essential background to the reassessment of Richard III that has been triggered off by the discoiverry of his grave in Leicfester. It is valuable to students of history and very readable by any one with an interest in the period.. Strongly recommended.
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on 3 November 2011
If I could give six stars for a book, I would want to give this one seven. I've seldom enjoyed a book so much as this. I knew and cared little about Richard III when I began reading but from the first page I couldn't put the book down. As a result, I read it so quickly that when I finished I found that I'd forgotten much about the beginning, so I am now enjoying the pleasure of re-reading it. In fact, the book deserves a second reading since it allows the reader to understand better how and where the multiplicity of players fit into the story and what was really going on behind the scenes of the drama.

The book combines very high academic standards with a novelist's story-telling abilities. It includes detailed references to what must be every extant book and record relating to Richard III. Furthermore, it is quite clear that the author has no axe to grind and no position to defend. He simply seeks truths that have been too long and too well hidden behind the propaganda promulgated by the Tudors who followed Richard to the throne. Shakespeare, who had only the Tudors' story to refer to and who in any case composed his plays about the Plantagenet kings in late Tudor times, carries more responsibility than anyone for broadcasting the fiction that Henry Tudor and his followers created.

Far from the crook-backed monster portrayed by Shakespeare, Kendall paints a picture of Richard as a fundamentally "good man" - good in the sense that he appears to have been an uxorious husband and a caring monarch who (almost unheard of in those days) showed genuine concern for his people and especially for the poor and disadvantaged. In his two years on the throne, he left a large, important and long-lasting legacy that reflected his cares, including: the Council of the North which provided regional control largely independent of Westminster; the Court of Requests that specialised in the grievances of poor people who could not afford legal representation; the introduction of bail to protect the accused from imprisonment before trial; and the College of Arms to bring under control the registration and issue of Arms to reduce counterfeit claims to nobility.

Perhaps most importantly Richard initiated the notion (quoting Kendall's words) "unlike any that had been known since Parliament began, perhaps a century before, to think of itself not only as the King's High Court, but also as the nation's representative legislature".

Kendall's portrait of Richard as a fundamentally "good man" is, however, by no means one-sided, and the "man" that he portrays is entirely human with weaknesses that characterize all men - for instance a desire for popularity through a regime of fairness and justice, though Richard may have been motivated as much by a desire to stabilize his country after decades of civil war. Indeed, Kendall postulates that Richard's decision to disinherit his nephew, Edward V, and to take the throne for himself, was at least partly taken in the pursuit of stability, since minority rules were always a cause of division and civil strife; however he does not discount the possibility that Richard was also motivated by personal aggrandizement.

Kendall does not offer firm judgement on the much debated question of Richard's guilt for the murder of his nephews. He concludes only that the boys were murdered under Richard's protection and that he therefore must bear some responsibility for the deed. He further concludes that Henry Tudor was almost certainly not involved in the murders, but that the Duke of Buckingham (a fickle supporter of Henry's rebellion against Richard) was the most likely perpetrator, with or without Richard's knowledge.

From shreds of evidence that have been left to us, Kendall has developed a thoroughly rounded characterization of Richard that is both recognizable and plausible. Similarly, he has assembled an amazingly detailed and plausible account of Richard's life and the plethora of characters that surrounded his reign and which brought about his rise and his downfall.

Above all, his book is not just a biography. It is a work of art. Not only is Kendall's telling of the tale gripping and entertaining, but his articulation of language, his vocabulary and his phraseology are delightful to absorb.

I can't speak highly enough of this book.
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on 1 October 2013
Great biography, full of facts and detail, yet very easy to read. It succeed to depict Richard the man and the ruler based on contemporary sources breaking from the bias of Tudor propaganda. Food for thoughts!
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on 2 December 2013
I felt the author was talking directly to the reader, some books are a touch obscure, with so many references to references that you lose the plot!

It was on a par with the Josephine Tey publication.
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on 9 August 2014
very interesting.
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on 3 May 2015
Brilliant book easy to read. Very well researched and fair. I bet the author would be very pleased with the current interest in Richard.
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