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A book of two extremes!
on 10 August 2011
John Sadler has written a book of two extremes.
He is superb in describing the events of medieval England's bloodiest day. You can imagine the fear and the horror at times. For someone who has always shied away from reading military angled history, prefering to read about the personal and political side of the English monarchy, I was very impressed with Sadler's introduction concerning the art of war, his human coverage of the actual battle and the mass grave discovered in 1996. His descriptions of troop movements was, for me, very easy to understand, so should be for everyone, despite the inclusion of two not very detailed maps!
However, the rest of the book is extremely disappointing. Sadler is correct to include the historical background from Richard II's deposition until the battle itself, but it should have been a lot briefer and not covered in three chapters. To buy a book titled 'Towton - The Battle Of Palm Sunday Field 1461', you want to read about the battle and not waste your time on too much detail of the events of the previous sixty years. In contrast, the events from the aftermath of the battle until the end of the Wars in 1487 are covered far too briefly in a seemingly rushed five page chapter. The final chapter covering the battlefield today seems pointless.
Can Towton justify a whole book written about it? I think not. Still, when Sadler writes about the actual battle, it's great reading.
Oh, and what a silly cover!