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Richard III: England's Black Legend

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Overview

With the recent discovery of Richard III's remains, a newly-revised edition of the celebrated biography of England's most notorious king.
With the victory of Henry Tudor, the usurping dynasty made an effort to besmirch the last Plantagenet’s reputation, and some historians claim that Richard’s "black legend" is nothing more than political propaganda. Yet such an interpretation, as Desmond Seward shows in this powerfully-argued book, suggests a refusal to face the facts of ...

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Richard III: England's Black Legend

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Overview

With the recent discovery of Richard III's remains, a newly-revised edition of the celebrated biography of England's most notorious king.
With the victory of Henry Tudor, the usurping dynasty made an effort to besmirch the last Plantagenet’s reputation, and some historians claim that Richard’s "black legend" is nothing more than political propaganda. Yet such an interpretation, as Desmond Seward shows in this powerfully-argued book, suggests a refusal to face the facts of history. Even in the king’s lifetime there were rumors about his involvement in the murders of Henry VI and of his nephews, the "Princes in the Tower," while his reign was considered by many to be a nightmare, not least for the king himself. The real Richard III was both a chilling and compelling monarch, a peculiarly grim young English precursor of Machiavelli’s Prince. Sweeping aside sentimental fantasy, this is a colorful, authoritative biography that offers a definitive picture of both the age and the man.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
“The Tudors are popular these days, but the Plantagenets are gaining ground, as seen in the increasing number of books, movies, and television series based on the royal family that ruled England longer than any of the sceptered isle’s other dynasties. This is popular history at its most buoyant and informative.”
The New York Times Book Review
“A well-written and colorful account of an intriguing period in English history.”
The Financial Times
“A valuable addition to the file, a biography of strong feeling and firmly held conviction arrived at after long thought. It is most readable.”
John Julius Norwich
“Perhaps the best, and certainly the most readable, of recent biographies.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140266344
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 6/1/1998
  • Edition description: REVISED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.14 (w) x 7.68 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Desmond Seward was born in Paris and educated at Cambridge. He is the author of Richard III, The Last White Rose, and The Warrior King and the Invasion of France. He lives in England.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 27, 2014

    Thorough support for the Black Legend

    Desmond Seward puts his position out immediately - he doesn't buy in to any of the arguements that attempt to rehabilitate the reputation of Richard III. He then goes into great detail definding his position and refuting the other. In many ways Richard was ahead of his time - a true Machiavellian prince at the end of the Medieval age. My introduction to Richard was Josephine Tey's "Daughter of Time' that sought to redeem Richard so I was interested in the counter arguement given here. The discoveries of the boy skeletons decades ago and the recent discovery of Richard himself are indeed supports for the black legend. I was also surprised to know that much of the story of Richard is known from the pen of none other that Thomas More. Seward lays the whole story out with detailed documentation; it's a somewhat dry account, but he does a good job of going into the personalities of the people involved which helps to bring the arguements to life. All in all a great account of this slice of British history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2014

    A fine biography by a noted historian. Seward really gives insig

    A fine biography by a noted historian. Seward really gives insight into the motives and actions of Richard of Gloucester

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  • Posted July 12, 2014

    History is always written by the winners. One must not judge us

    History is always written by the winners. One must not judge using todays standards.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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