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Lancaster and York: The Wars of the Roses

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A riveting account of the Wars of the Roses, focusing on the human side of the story.

The war between the houses of Lancaster and York for the throne of England was characterized by treachery, deceit and, at St. Albans, Blore Hill and Towton, some of the bloodiest and most dramatic battles on England?s soil. Between 1455 and 1487, the royal coffers were bankrupted and the conflict resulted in the downfall of the House of Lancaster and the House...

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Overview

A riveting account of the Wars of the Roses, focusing on the human side of the story.

The war between the houses of Lancaster and York for the throne of England was characterized by treachery, deceit and, at St. Albans, Blore Hill and Towton, some of the bloodiest and most dramatic battles on England’s soil. Between 1455 and 1487, the royal coffers were bankrupted and the conflict resulted in the downfall of the House of Lancaster and the House of York, and the emergence of the illustrious Tudor dynasty.

Alison Weir’s lucid and gripping account focuses on the human side of history, on the people and personalities involved in the conflict. At the centre of the book stands Henry VI, the pious king whose mental instability led to political chaos; Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York and Henry’s rival; and most important of all, Margaret of Anjou, Henry’s wife who took up arms in her husband’s cause and battled for many years in a violent man’s world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Weir provides immense satisfaction. She writes in a pacy, vivid style, engaging the heart as well as the mind.”
Independent
Library Journal
In this prequel to her Princes in the Tower (LJ 1/94), historian Weir presents a well-written, entertaining narrative of the first phase of the War of the Roses. Accepting the Tudor view that the conflict originated with Richard II's deposition, she devotes half of the book to relations between Lancaster and York from 1399 to 1455. The second half deals with the period from the first Battle of St. Albans (1455) to the Battle of Tewkesbury (1471). Weir centers her narrative upon leading figures-Henry VI, Margaret of Anjou, Richard of York, Edward IV, the earl of Warwick-and others. Though the text lacks footnotes and the bibliography omits some recent scholarship (e.g., by Rosemary Horrox and P.W. Hammond), Weir uses a variety of printed primary sources and secondary works. Much here will be familiar to scholars, but the work is a stimulating discussion as well as a fine introduction for the general reader.-William B. Robison, Southeastern Louisana Univ., Hammond
School Library Journal
YA-This book reaffirms Weir's mastery of English history. Like The Six Wives of Henry VIII and The Princes in the Tower (both Ballantine, 1993), this title is jam-packed with information. The narrative begins with a short history of the House of Plantaganet, more specifically the disastrous rule of Richard II, which is seen as sowing the seeds of the conflict, and ends with the Battle of Tewkesbury and the murder of King Henry VI. The author weaves the story of the magnate families involved in the politics and rivalries of the era, and makes it understandable, interesting, and readable. Included are the simplified genealogical tables of the families involved as well as extensive primary- and secondary-source bibliographies. Any student of English history will appreciate the ease with which the period is unveiled and the detailed information on the people and places of England from 1399 to 1500.-Debbie Hyman, R. E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780099540175
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/23/2009
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 5.08 (w) x 7.68 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Meet the Author

Alison Weir

Alison Weir’s books include Britain’s Royal Families; The Six Wives of Henry VIII; Children of England; Eleanor of Aquitaine; Henry VIII: King and Court; Mary, Queen of Scots; Isabella; and most recently, Elizabeth the Queen.

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