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Blood and Roses: One Family's Struggle and Triumph during the Tumultuous Wars of the Roses
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Blood and Roses: One Family's Struggle and Triumph during the Tumultuous Wars of the Roses

by Helen Castor
 

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In a span of thirty years, four kings lost their thrones, countless men lost their lives on the battlefield or their heads on the block, and others found themselves suddenly flush with gold. The Wars of the Roses tore England asunder, yet until now, almost nothing has been known about the ordinary people who lived through this extraordinary time.

Drawing on an

Overview

In a span of thirty years, four kings lost their thrones, countless men lost their lives on the battlefield or their heads on the block, and others found themselves suddenly flush with gold. The Wars of the Roses tore England asunder, yet until now, almost nothing has been known about the ordinary people who lived through this extraordinary time.

Drawing on an incomparably rare trove of letters discovered in a tumbledown stately home, historian Helen Castor reconstructs the lives of the Paston family, who singlemindedly worked their way up from farmers to landed gentry. As they went about their business in a disintegrating society, the Pastons corresponded on topics ranging from politics to love, from shopping to family gossip. A wife writes her husband that she'd rather have him home than have a new gown, "even if it were scarlet." A brother reports that the handless servant, Thomas Stumps, has demanded a crossbow so that he can defend them in a siege. Five hundred years later, these voices still have the immediacy of a conversation overheard on a street corner.

Blood and Roses is a gripping and intimate biography of a family, which traces three generations of births, marriages, and deaths. Castor unravels the story of the family's tur-bulent affairs against the backdrop of civil war, bringing to vibrant life a remote and hazy era.

Editorial Reviews

Boston Globe
“Dynamic... Persuasive… The tensions and affections binding the family shine across the centuries.”
New York Times Book Review
“A master of every weapon in the modern historian’s arsenal... Castor has made the whole century live again .”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780007162222
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/03/2007
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
448
Sales rank:
621,548
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.89(d)

Meet the Author

Helen Castor is a historian of medieval England and a Bye-Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. Her first book, Blood and Roses, was long-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize and won the English Association’s Beatrice White Prize. Her second book, She-Wolves, was selected as one of the books of the year by The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Independent, Financial Times, and BBC History Magazine. She lives in London.

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