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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 26 October 2013
I bought this because it was only 77p on my new fangled kindle, and I am interested in Richard III/Wars of the Roses.

I have read lots of books on this subject and period and Markham crops up in most of them, generally described as a pro Ricardian and usually has his feud with James Gairdner referred to. I never really felt any urge to read Markham's book, but I'm really glad I did.

The Pros:

I liked the layout- everything is split into nice, easily accessible chapters and paragraphs and is an engaging and interesting read. It also lacks the all pervading pomposity of some modern books on this subject.

Markham is a very interesting character in his own right, a geographer and explorer, a very intelligent man.
Whatever his thoughts on Richard III, he has done plenty of research and there are some very interesting little nuggets of information I have never read anywhere else, taken from the original manuscripts and sources.

The style of writing is dated (obviously), but I quite liked this. Although it could tend to be overblown, it gave a good feel of the style of Markham's era.

I found Markham's attitude to Margaret of Anjou and her son interesting. To me, Markham was not swayed by the usual pro York/Lancaster or Tudor/Plantagenet side taking, he seemed to admire certain people for no other reason than the qualities he saw in their characters (real or imagined).

Margaret of Anjou is (unusually),portrayed as a brave, valiant woman. And her son, Edward, as some sort of chivalric hero, despite very little being known of him.
Edward is usually viewed as being "warlike", yet in his day, this would have been a valuble quality.
Markham writes emotively of Edward's death, his "golden hair falling onto the horses mane", very evocative.

The Cons;

It is, massively, pro Richard III. I would not say this invalidates Markham, but, to me, it puts him in the same category as the massively anti Richard camp-ie. a bit unreliable.

Markham, at times, does seem to get a bit carried away and gets very emotive and over the top, describing Richard's actions.
I feel Markham saw good points in Richard's character, and, to Markham, this exonerates Richard from any wrong doings as he is an honourable man. I found this a bit naïve.

All in all, the thing that most struck me about this book was how much this whole argument goes round and round in circles. The same old things seem to keep getting eternally "discredited" then brought back as "new" theories.

At the moment, we seem to have the pre contract argument doing the rounds- this is in the Markham book, then seemingly it was "discredited", only to be resurrected in our present day.
No doubt someone else will pop up and try to discredit it all over again.

Reading this also made me re-evaluate my own attitude to these older books.
Before, I was content to read the standard modern historian's usually glib description of Markham's work. I am glad I read this for myself, and I'm going to read all of these older works now and judge for myself.
I am going to read James Gairdner, Markham's old sparring partner, next. Just to get a bit of balance.

I think Ricardians would like this book, traditionalists will dislike it(sorry to state the obvious).

As someone who is just very interested in this whole topic, it is a very worthwhile read.
I gave it 3 stars as it is a bit too biased for me, I think 3.5 stars would be ideal, but this option is unfortunately not available.
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on 20 August 2013
This is the second book which I have read (the other being Loyalty by Mathew Lewis) which has defended this much maligned King.

IMHO King Richard III deserves a state funeral and internment alongside his Queen, in Westminster Cathedral.

The book has obviously been researched thouroughly. The arguments used in Richards defense are very well constructed
and have the ring of truth about them.

I commend this book to every loyal Englishman.

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on 10 May 2013
I have really enjoyed this book.It makes the most probable intelligent scenarios of Richard 111 life than any other and I have read quite a few. I was never happy with books that state Lord Hastings was beheaded without trial "before dinner". This book proves it was not true and so much more!!Henry V11 is portrayed as an usurper - correctly and his actions after becoming king exposed. I would think Tudor Historians will - Alison Weir and of course David Starkey will hate it. Any loyal Ricardian will make it the authoritative defense of Richard and prosecutor of the odious Henry V11.

Looking forward to other comments on this book.
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on 12 July 2013
Til now this book is the best I have read about Richard 3,and I really loved to read it ,could not stop, so I give it full pot. Markham twists and turn every single event, and deals with the events and pe alway rersons in the story in just and fair way. It is not only Richard thats in the dock, but also Henry Tudor.Markham is also very informative, and I learned things that I didn`t knew.I always remember what Markham tells in this book when I read other books on the subject,and if there should be any inconsistancies between the authors, I lend credence to Markham,so I would recommend this book to others. Old is gold
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on 25 September 2013
Written at the beginning of the last century this book is a must for anyone with an interest in Richard III.
It brings up facts I had not heard before so whether they have been re-interpreted in recent years it is difficult to tell.

Takes a bit of getting used to the authors writing style seeing as it was written 100 years ago but you soon get used to it
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on 31 March 2014
I have over the last year or two become a Richardian. This book gives a fair appraisal of the man and a book that really deserves a re-read due to its detail. I loved it and was sorry when I reached the end.
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on 21 September 2013
I bought this to read a balanced account of this much maligned King.. Markham is a serious scholar. The text is littered with references and quotations. I'm flattered that he thinks his readers able to read the Latin and French quotations and that there is no need for translations.

It is very readable but so biased. No mediaeval king can have been such a paragon of virtue
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on 27 August 2013
I have read many books on the Richard III and this is by far the best and most thoroughly researched. It clearly explains and reasons all his arguments and in my opinion is very difficult to argue against. In particular, how he manages to discredit many 'tudor historians' by proving them to have falisfied records and alter dates is brillant. He sticks to the facts and not assumptions. The parts regarding the princes in the tower, Rivers and Hastings are particularly good. It definatley makes you question and re-think both characters of Richard and Henry. Even though this book is pro Richard, it is unbiased as all sides, evidence and possibilites are contemplated. He argues his case so well that it would be difficult indeed to arrive at any answer other than the ones put forward in this book. I agree with the other reviewer - it does make the arguments put across by Weir and Starkey very poor indeed and they would not like this book one bit as it totally blows them out of the water! It really does peel back the layers untill the truth is found buried beaneath! I wish everyone could read this book. I highly recommend it.
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on 2 August 2013
I've always been keen on the idea that Richard III was innocent of the crimes he was reviled for, especially the murder of his nephews. This book has some interesting insights into his character and behaviour.
I don't know if it stems from the time when it was written, but I found the overblown language, eg "vile traitor", "evil" and so on, rather irritating. I wasn't convinced by all the writer's arguments, and I think his emotive language was part of the reason; A more dispassionate approach would have served this frequently misjudged king rather better.
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on 23 December 2013
Quite a technical type book, but very interesting, with lots of referencing. It made for a fascinating read about my favourite King.
Well worth a read for any supporter of Richard, or anybody with an interest in that period of our glorious island history.
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