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on 11 May 2017
I bought this after reading Sophy Boyle's excellent Wyven and Star (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wyvern-Star-Sophy-Boyle-ebook/dp/B01NBHML73/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8) and realizing that I knew very little about the period. Though Towton does not feature in her book, it is the single largest engagement of the war and so I felt it a good place to start in order better tor understand before she releases her second of the series.

The book is engagingly written, providing a back-story of the period and wider pointers for those unfamiliar with the events. The majority of the book, however, explores the battle itself and does so very credibly. Mr Sadler mixes geographical description with command of primary and secondary sources as well as providing his opinion - that he caveats - as to what likely happened. I am now inclined to plan a short trip towards York and see the site myself.

The writing is moving without being laboured and engaging without falling back on cliches or inappropriate contemporary short-hand. He makes good wider points, such as considering briefly the potential for PTSD among the survivors and concludes that it was likely less pronounced given the grimmer, harder life (by our standards) of the period and general frequency of death. An interesting observation and one that that I have pondered when reading other works.

Overall I would recommend this book to anyone with even the slightest interest in the period or military history. It informs and entertains but retains a sense of respect for the essential horror of the day.
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on 11 August 2017
Wife read it - slow start but gets better. Looking forward to reading it myself.
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on 15 June 2017
Very good
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on 20 August 2015
This book does much more than describe the Battle of Towton. There is a review of the events that led to the battle which is longer than the account of the event itself. I like the description of some of the warring aristocrats as 'thuggish'. They were.There were an astonishing number of executions going on during the Wars of the Roses. The market places of places such as Hexham and Middleham are no doubt charming chocolate boxy places now, but make no mistake, men had their heads hacked off publicly there with no trial.
All that decided the victor was miltary prowess-in the case of this very bloody battle mainly that of Edward IV. It always astonishes me that his brother Richard's supporters never allude to the fact that said Richard didn't dare to cast aspersions on the martial Edward when he was alive, and was quite happy to enjoy the fruits of victory, and waited till he was safely dead before questioning his birth etc. He gained the crown by right of conquest anyway, not birth.
This is a readable book and I enjoyed it. There is occasional unnecessary repetition which is why it only receives four stars.
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on 7 May 2011
As a keen amateur rather than a professional historian I found the book very readable. I particularly liked the initial chapters setting out a brief biography of the main people involved, a short history of what events led up to the battle, and the chapters on the way people lived and the attitude to warfare. This lead to a good understanding of the reasons behind the battle and the lack of quarter given, hence the casualties which by the standard of the time were huge. As a local resident to the battlefield I have had a long fascination for this historic battle and this book has whetted my appetite to read more.Towton: The Battle of Palm Sunday Field
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on 2 April 2011
No quarter was given at this traumatic battle, which resulted in the biggest loss of life in any English conflict before or since. Why should we question this when all the contemporary sources broadly agree on the numbers? John Sadler is good at citing his sources and has produced a really engaging book based on hard evidence. I have reviewed several books on Towton now and am pleasantly surprised that each author approaches the subject with a different eye. If I were to define Mr. Sadler's book it is the one that focuses on the real meat in the sandwich, the actual day of the battle, more than the others. He has a soldier's eye for the terrain and the terror that would have ensued during the rout, and this book is more deeply anchored to the locale. There are some bonus items as the author treats us to a precis on the battles that were fought in the immediate aftermath of Towton. Well worth a read.

George Peter Algar, Editor of the Towton Herald, Towton Battlefield Society's official magazine.
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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!
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on 6 April 2011
March 29th 1461 brought a new king to the English throne and signalled the downfall of the house of Lancaster. The battle of Towton was to go down in history as the bloodiest day in English history, leaving some 28,000 casualties on the battlefield. The author, John Sadler, is to be congratulated on producing a highly readable account of the battle, the commanders involved and the issues at stake. Highly recommended.
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on 13 May 2011
Research & written material first class & second to none. A very good book let down badly by its few & very poor maps. Also, the silly & lurid book cover does not do this book full justice. Blame the publisher.
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on 21 March 2015
Really egood and enjoyable read. Students of this period and casual readers (like myself) will find lots of interest in this book.
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