Lancaster Against York: The Wars of the Roses and the Foundation of Modern Britain

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Overview

In this sweeping history, Trevor Royle details one of the bloodiest episodes in British history. The prize was the crown of England, and the players were the rival houses of Lancaster and York. The dynastic quarrel threatened the collapse of the monarchy as a succession of weak rulers failed to deal with an overzealous aristocracy, plunging England into a series of violent encounters. The bloody battles and political intrigue between the rival heirs of King Edward III brought forth one of the most dynamic ruling ...

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Lancaster Against York: The Wars of the Roses and the Foundation of Modern Britain

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Overview

In this sweeping history, Trevor Royle details one of the bloodiest episodes in British history. The prize was the crown of England, and the players were the rival houses of Lancaster and York. The dynastic quarrel threatened the collapse of the monarchy as a succession of weak rulers failed to deal with an overzealous aristocracy, plunging England into a series of violent encounters. The bloody battles and political intrigue between the rival heirs of King Edward III brought forth one of the most dynamic ruling families of England—the Tudors.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"To understand the Wars of the Roses, one should read Shakespeare's History Plays for the epic drama, and Trevor Royle's Lancaster Against York for the epic truth. Royle has produced a tremendous achievement: a modern classic for all times." - Amanda Foreman, bestselling author of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire

"Royle does a good job of capturing the mood of the country, roiled by great economic uncertainty during the years of the Yorkist uprising. He leaves no stone unturned in this exhaustive retelling, and he has a sharp eye for detail... Royle's meticulous research makes this a welcome addition to the body of literature about this pivotal epoch in English history." - Kirkus Reviews

"Royle paints a broad, satisfying picture, illuminating Henry IV’s reign." —Library Journal

Praise for Trevor Royle's previous books:

"A well-written and thorough study."—The New York Times Book Review

"Thorough and informative."—Publishers Weekly

“Trevor Royle’s achievement is to have skillfully encompassed and explained the complexities of his subject in a single volume…” – New York Review of Books on Crimea

Kirkus Reviews
An account of the epic 15th-century battle for the crown of England. How did the struggle between the houses of York and Lancaster, famously dubbed the Wars of the Roses, tear apart England for 30 years? Royle (Civil War, 2005, etc.) attempts to find the answers in his sprawling history, which outlines the involvement of all the key figures. He begins by pinpointing the conflict's genesis in the tumultuous period that followed the abdication of Richard II in 1399. Examining Richard's reign, the author cleverly uses Chaucer's Canterbury Tales to give a glimpse of 14th-century English society. A lengthy history of the reigns of Henry IV and Henry V follows, and Royle packs his text with dramatic descriptions of the violence that pockmarked that era. (The sudden beheading of Duke John under Henry V is a particularly gruesome highlight.) Tensions mounted during these successive reigns, minor skirmishes broke out, and after a nine-month-old child became King Henry VI, Richard, Duke of York, sought to claim the throne from the Lancastrians. Familiar tales of battles follow, and Royle does a good job of capturing the mood of the country, roiled by great economic uncertainty during the years of the Yorkist uprising. He leaves no stone unturned in this exhaustive retelling, and he has a sharp eye for detail, explaining in one instance how changes in the wind provided Yorkist archers with a sudden advantage. The source material occasionally feels overfamiliar, but Royle's meticulous research, supplemented by a useful appendix listing the main characters, makes this a welcome addition to the body of literature about this pivotal epoch in English history. Agent: Ed Knappman/New England PublishingAssociates
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781403966728
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 7/22/2008
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.42 (w) x 9.54 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author

Trevor Royle is a historian, specializing in war and empire. His previous books include Civil War: The Wars of Three Kingdoms, Crimea: The Great Crimean War 1854-1856, and Winds of Change: The End of Empire in Africa. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Associate Editor of The Sunday Herald. He lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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Table of Contents


Preface and Acknowledgments     vii
Family Tree     xii
Woe to the Land in Which a Boy Is King     1
Chosen by God     15
All Pomp and Majesty I Do Forswear     29
The Usurper King     43
Uneasy Lies the Head     57
No Tongue Can Tell of His Renown     71
The Mighty and Puissant Conqueror     85
A Scepter in a Child's Hand     99
A Man of Mild and Plain-dealing Disposition     113
The Gathering Storm     127
York's Protectorate: The First Battle of St. Albans     141
A Great and Strong-laboured Woman     155
Civil War     169
The Battle Continues     183
Warwick, Maker and Breaker of Kings     197
Decline and Fall     211
The Recovery of England     225
Master of His Own Kingdom     239
Glory and Tranquillity     253
The End of Innocence     267
The Final Reckoning     281
The Last and Most Doubtful of the Usurpers     297
The Main Characters     311
Select Bibliography     333
Index     343
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