Lancaster And York For Much Of The Fifteenth Century, These Two Families Were Locked In Battle For Control Of The British Monarchy Kings Were Murdered And Deposed Armies Marched On London Old Noble Names Were Ruined While Rising Dynasties Seized Power And Lands The War Between The Royal House Of Lancaster And York, The Longest And Most Complex In British History, Profoundly Altered The Course Of The Monarchy In The Wars Of The Roses, Alison Weir Reconstructs This Conflict With The Same Dramatic Flair And Impeccable Research That She Brought To Her Highly Praised The Princes In The TowerThe First Battle Erupted In , But The Roots Of The Conflict Reached Back To The Dawn Of The Fifteenth Century, When The Corrupt, Hedonistic Richard II Was Sadistically Murdered, And Henry IV, The First Lancastrian King, Seized England S Throne Both Henry IV And His Son, The Cold Warrior Henry V, Ruled England Ably, If Not Always Wisely But Henry VI Proved A Disaster, Both For His Dynasty And His Kingdom Only Nine Months Old When His Father S Sudden Death Made Him King, Henry VI Became A Tormented And Pathetic Figure, Weak, Sexually Inept, And Prey To Fits Of Insanity The Factional Fighting That Plagued His Reign Escalated Into Bloody War When Richard Plantagenet, Duke Of York, Laid Claim To The Throne That Was Rightfully His And Backed Up His Claim With Armed MightAlison Weir Brings Brilliantly To Life Both The War Itself And The Historic Figures Who Fought It On The Great Stage Of England Here Are The Queens Who Changed History Through Their Actions The Chic, Unconventional Katherine Of Valois, Henry V S Queen The Ruthless, Social Climbing Elizabeth Wydville And, Most Crucially, Margaret Of Anjou, A Far Tougher And Powerful Character Than Her Husband,, Henry VI, And A Central Figure In The Wars Of The RosesHere, Too, Are The Nobles Who Carried The Conflict Down Through The Generations The Beauforts, The Bastard Descendants Of John Of Gaunt, Richard Neville, Earl Of Warwick, Known To His Contemporaries As The Kingmaker And The Yorkist King, Edward IV, A Ruthless Charmer Who Pledged His Life To Cause The Downfall Of The House Of LancasterThe Wars Of The Roses Is History At Its Very Best Swift And Compelling, Rich In Character, Pageantry, And Drama, And Vivid In Its Re Creation Of An Astonishing, Dangerous, And Often Grim Period Of History Alison Weir, One Of The Foremost Authorities On The British Royal Family, Demonstrates Here That She Is Also One Of The Most Dazzling Stylists Writing History Today From The Hardcover Edition If I was given the choice of writing a novel on a certain historic event, you can bet the event at the bottom of my list would be The War of the Roses I don t think I could deal with such a convoluted, tangled story, with an ungodly amount of characters to keep track ofit would likely drive me mad But, thankfully Alison Weir was of a different mindset and took the monster head on And what a supurb job she did Weir merged enjoyment and learning expertly and I can see how it would take a lot of work to not have it read as a text book It was by no means a fast read, as it s all fact and no dialogue, but boring it was not Nor was it one of those books that feels like a chore to read.Weir starts the novel with the early origins of events that would eventually lead to the thirty year battle for the throne of England, which dates back to King Edward III The War of the Roses ends after the Battle of Tewkesbury The Battle of Tewkesbury, fought on what is now known as Bloody Meadow would be the last meeting between York and Lancaster The future of Lancaster, Prince Edward, was slain, his father King Henry VI had long been in prison and shortly after this battle, the grave and Queen Margaret was in hiding, then imprisoned in the Tower of London and finally ransomed by the King of France For a woman that spent her a majority of her life surrounded by court and it s many minion and was quite comfortable in the role as a ruler, she lived her last days dependent on the meager funds she received from the King of France and died alone. TWOTR is a sad note in England s history sons fought fathers, brothers fought brothers, there was rampant betrayal and lies, lawlessness and violence ruled and havoc was wreaked upon towns, such as Towton.I would recommend this to any history nut Weir has a great writing style and it was very readable non fiction I admit I don t really care for her fiction novels I thought Innocent Traitor was so so and I couldn t finish The Lady Elizabeth, but now that I ve read this one I m excited to read the rest of her collection What I found most interesting just shows it wasscheming and waiting to see what the other side will do next than actual fighting There were, at most, thirteen weeks of fighting in the thirty two years covered by both of the War of the Roses, while the total time spent campaigning amounted to approximately one year Some of the battles were short, and non lasted longer than a day. NO RATING DNFThis book covers only the first part of the Wars of the Roses all of which lasted from 1455 to 1487 This book covers only the wars between the Lancasters and the Yorks 1455 1471 The second part of the Wars of the Roses 1483 1487 , the fight between the Yorks and the Tudors is presented in the author s book The Princes in the Tower.After four hours of twenty two I am calling it quits This is just a string of names I really don t care any who gets to be king I have followed King Edward III to King Richard II to King Henry IV to King Henry V and now King Henry VI will be king, but he is only 9 month old I am not going to rate this I have not gone far enough, but neither can I recommend it to others Maggie Mash reads the audiobook Her narration is fine. What a mess Seriously I know quite a lot about history and about armed struggles but the tug of war presented here is staggering I must admit to never really having been interested except for a few cornerstones in this period or English aristocracy but since the Tudor dynasty was quite entertaining, I thought I should know about this too thanks, St Mary s.So what was the Wars of the Roses WotR all about Well, one was king, the other wanted to be king, a lot of poverty resulting from a 100 year long war with France, misrule, ambitious lords and nobles, greed was certainly the dominant factor That plus sheer stupidity on all parts Honestly, you get to root for one side because they appearnoble and then they go ahead and ruin it all by being just as idiotic as the others The original House of Plantagenet was the root of the throne From there we got the House of Lancaster and the House of York Going by blood relations alone, York had the claim to the throne making the Tudors usurpers But since everyone is related to everyone else, it s really all the same I m not kidding, it s why they usually needed a Papal Declaration that their intended marriages were sanctioned by the Church Alison Weir says in the introduction to this book that finding the cause for the WotR is not a simple task and has been made too simplistic by later Tudor chroniclers so she really went back far to explain how England s treasury was empty thanks to the war with France and how that, amongst other things, started displeasure with the common population So I m gonna give you the run down King Richard II was a weakling who let himself be led like a puppet on strings, leading amongst other things to magnates gettingandpowerful One day he exiles two verbally fighting parties although he had said the matter should be settled in a hand to hand fight by this point the people already had enough of the king changing his mind every 3 seconds One of the exiled men was Henry Bolingbroke When his father died shortly later, the king seized his inheritance money, land, title etc which caused Henry to come back to England and after originally just wanting back what was rightfully his usurp the crown, thus becoming King Henry IV His reign was definitely bumpy and, long story short, he died a few years later without having been a significant king He is followed by his son, Henry V, who is famous for winning an enormous amount of French territories and winning, against all odds, at Agincourt The problem is that such a king is hard to follow so when he dies relatively bad and young, his son is but a baby The factions still exist at court and, once Henry VI comes into power, he marries a French princess without money, Margaret of Anjou The English didn t like that but honestly, that woman was a force to be reckoned with If it wasn t for her well, she was very young but had a mind of her own, was very intelligent but also temperamentful Unfortunately, she also made a lot of mistakes like not paying attention to the animosity between the English and the Scots After the success of Henry V it is an even greater thorn in England s side to lose ALL the French territories again except Calais The king is just too weak, too easily manipulated At first, one of his magnates, York yes, a cousin of the king and actually the rightful heir to the throne simply wantsbalance in governement That changes with every favour his opposition receives so he wants his side to beinfluential and after one long ass struggle with LOTS of back and forth, promises being broken, advances made and lost, York finally decides to go after the throne himself He dies trying but his eldest son, Edward, crowns himself King Edward IV and manages to drive Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou out of England Many years of struggles and skirmishes follow Honestly, they were all so stubborn and yet often too quick to start another campaign which is why, again, there is a lot of back and forth At some point, Margaret of Anjou goes to France and stays there for a while with her son, marries him to one of the daughters of Edward s former warlord Warwick there is no other title for the kingmaker and then returns to England By then, Henry VI had been captured and imprisoned in the Tower of London At first, Warwick and Margaret of Anjou are successful in raising a lot of people to their cause but in the end, Warwick is killed, one battle after another lost, Prince Edward Henry VI s son killed either in battle or shortly after one and it s over Margaret of Anjou is eventually captured as well and Henry VI dies in prison killed by a severe blow to the head so no further rebellion can rise in his name Still with me so far This is VERY simplistic There s a lotto everything Anyway, this was the FIRST War of the Roses notice that the title is Wars of the Roses The other is not dealt with in this book but in the next and recounts what happens when, after 12 years of peaceful and relatively prosperous reign, Edward IV dies suddenly, leaving his 12 year old son king who is promptly deposed by his uncle, put in the Tower and then probably killed there along with his younger brother supposedly by their uncle Richard III, who crowns himself king There is another uprising, instigated by Jasper Tudor and others, who are still loyal to the Lancaster cause aided by a lot of people who simply don t like Richard III and what he apparently did to the two boys and suddenly, a young Beaufort Tudor boy is the next male heir to the throne, becoming King Henry VII after the victory at Bosworth He marries the oldest daughter of Edward IV, thus uniting the houses Lancaster and York and founding the Tudor dynasty the famous Queen Elizabeth I is his granddaughter.Now, apart from giving you an overview of the events, I also want to point out a few remarkable and often infuriating things about this period The overall Wars of the Roses lasted for approximately 32 years However, there were only a total of about 13 weeks of fighting within these 32 years The time of campaigning raising men to arms etc totals approximately 1 year with individual campaigns only lasting days or weeks due to the trouble of feeding the men at arms and no battle lasted longer than 24 hours.Surprisingly, the conflicts had very little effect on the population unless a battle meant a great loss of lives amongst the common soldiers which was rare since they were most often spared due to the fact that they only followed orders and did not start a rebellion Towton in 1461 being the big exception proving the rule The fighting was usually not done in towns but in open fields so no towns were destroyed either Only three towns suffered sieges, which is what caused such outrage when Margaret of Anjou brought the Scots over the border to win her back her kingdom since the Scots got permission to loot and sack every city they came upon she didn t have money to pay them which was regarded as savagery However, all sides, without exception, often had soldiers looting and sometimes even raping through certain areas so they shouldn t be pointing fingers at the Scots.There was one Englishman Tiptoe or something like that who was known for his cruelty and despised for it as well At one point he beheaded traitors in the name of the king regarded as OK but then hung their corpses by their feet from a town wall not OK However, the official and respected methods of killing traitors was hanging, drawing and quartering or beheading or in some cases disemboweling, cutting off limbs and then burning all while said traitor was still alive Yeah, so muchnoble Even the architecture, recorded visits of foreign traders and dignitaries numbers and frequency as well as literature of the time would suggest a period of prosperity and not civil war The WotR were regarded not as a civil war back then but as a dispute between noble factions.On one hand people rarely saw a fault in government with whatever king sat the throne he was anointed, it was a religious thing , but with the advisers surrounding the king The problem is that a weak king such as Henry VI allowed others to rule through him, thus causing injustice and poverty and misrule.The population didn t much care who wore the crown so long as they had a good enough life food on the table, a good justicial system self interest was paramount through all layers of society, and opinions could change minute by minute When Edward IV claimed the crown people hated Henry VI or at least his parliament for misruling but after Henry VI s death there were even pilgrimages to his tomb and his piety was revered it was even tried to have him canonized His great deeds like founding Eton College and King s College at Cambridge were remembered instead of the loss of all the French territories that had sparked so much outrage and hate when he was deposed To this day, the governorns of Eton College still lay a sheaf of lillies and red roses on the traditional site of Henry VI s murder on every 21 May After needing some time to get into this since the author is VERY thorough, I must admit to loving the fact that we get presented with all factors leading to this great struggle so as to better understand why and how it happened and see the probable motivation for those chiefly involved I will definitely read the author s other book about the princes in the Tower and Richard III And really, it s not Alison Weir s fault that these people were so greedy and stupid and changed their loyalty all the time which was really getting on my nerves England hath long been mad and scarred herself,The brother blindly shed the brother s blood,The father rashly slaughtered his own son,The son, compelled, been butcher to the sire All this divided York and Lancaster. So yes, this is a comprehensive work that I can recommend to anyone wanting a thorough overview. Very nicely written overview of the Wars of the Roses It s not for beginners to English history I was reasonably familiar with all the players and still had trouble keeping track of everyone There are lots of Richards, Edwards and Henrys, and multiple people are referred to as York or Somerset as titles pass between generations The genealogical charts are not as helpful as they should be they re cramped and printed in tiny, handwritten scrip, and the generations are not clearly lined up There are only two very general maps provided I would have likeddetailed maps showing where the various sieges and battles took place. Very detailed giving background to the origins of the conflict that have become known as wars of the roses andrecently cousins wars going back to Edward III and his five sons and what they and their descendants meant to the succession Of course Edward III s grandson son by his firstborn inherited the throne but when he was deposed by Henry IV Henry Bolingbroke this changed everything Henry IV altered the succession many times giving precedence over himself an his heirs since they were descended from John of Gaunt Duke of Lancaster by his first wife Blanche from where he obtained his duchy , the third son of Edward III However the second son of Edward II had surviving issues the only difference was that such surviving issue was female and she married into the Mortimers which were prominent in the Welsh Marches and from whence the Yorks inherited their superior claim once Richard Duke of York decided to make a bid for the throne when he saw the means and opportunity in Henry VI s reign Henry VI, an avid scholar had the makings of a great king but was an ineffectual people pleaser who was wrecked by his two uncles Cardinal Beaufort and his Protector Duke of Glouchester, Humphrey The uncle that wasinterested in him John Duke of Bedford died too early and without issue and Humphrey while allied with York, never managed to gain much ground after Henry VI got tired of him and he died in obscurity after his wife s apprehension and accusations of witchcraft.Margaret of Anjou, Henry VI s Queen was left to take the reins of government but she alienated many by the simple fact of being a woman and defying gender standards of her day and of course being foreign She made many mistakes but in a government where her husband was desperate to pleased instead of to act as he should have, she took it upon herself to raise support This servedto help Richard Duke of York and when he began to use the name Plantagenet to assert his claim, thus began the bitter conflict between cousins It is very rich and beautifully written, however my nitpicks are that in spite of this the portrayals of the Woodvilles are less than favorable as she constantly mentions how ambitious and ruthless they were and while they were ambitious, Elizabeth Woodville was by no meansruthless than others of the periods and the Woodvilles were not as powerhungry bent on revenge as she mentions here giving one example of the famous tapestry Thomas Cook refused to sell to Jacquetta which the author asserts that Jacquetta never forgave and she and her family managed to do trump up charges as well as unto others, doing as they pleased This image plays into the pop culture and is not very factual.What is factual though is much of the chronology and the background of the main players, and dispelling myths regarding the much maligned Kingmaker He was ambitious and known to change his coat when it suited him but by no means he was innately cruel Alison Weir points out how he enjoyed a lot of popularity with his tenants and some of the commons and he and Henry VI even showed mercy to Elizabeth Woodville when she took her children to Westminster Abbey after the Readeption of 1470 1471 by sending her a doctor and midwives Other acts that Warwick did that dispels the myths surrounding him are mentioned which I found very pleasant Another nitpick is she spends a lot of time excusing Richard Duke of York saying he probably didn t want the throne but then he might have and things were not in his control and he might not have been the main architect behind much of the propaganda against the Queen which I find hard to believe.My last nitpick is that it ends in 1471 after the Readeption is terminated, when every immediate Lancastrian is dead and only Margaret of Anjou survives as a disgraced former Queen I would have loved if she continued the book until the end of this bitter conflict into 1485 but I can understand why she might have chosen this date as some consider the end of the Royal Lancastrian line as the end of the wars of the roses and Henry Tudor as a distant not really Lancastrian relation I disagree with this but I see the reasons behind it.Any history buff will enjoy this book.As the book says mentioning a passage from a seventeenth century chronicler finis rerum a time, place and period and an end for everything Both Houses had their periods of glory and disgrace and soon after the House of York collapsed the Plantagenet era became an eclipse, another footnote in history, yet recently there has beenattention to this dynasty and this conflict which Weir makes a point that it was not as catastrophic as the succeeding dynasty the Tudors made it out to be, but nonetheless it did change many things whether you view it as catastrophic or not. The Wars of the Roses is the second book by Alison Weir I ve read, and it definitely tells me there s no need to stop here The writing is good, and gives a great overview of what is a legendarily confusing period of English history This actually a successor prequel book to her early book, The Princes in the Tower, which is about the final act of the Wars of the Roses the contest between Richard III and Henry VII n e Tudor , and the fate of the children of Edward IV.Therefore, this book is actually about the rest Starting with the deposition of Richard II, Weir spends quite some time of the shaky political footing of the Lancastrian Henry IV, and the successful Henry V, before moving on to the reign of Henry VI, and the large number of political problems that led to the Lancastrian Yorkish struggle that forms the bulk of the Wars of the Roses, and ends with Tewksbury and the death Henry VI The book is about evenly split by length between the lead up, and then the multiple armed crises.There are a lot of names that fly by, and several people change names titles during the course of events, and despite efforts, Weir does not entirely clear up the confusion that results I think this is a subject that really needs a dramatis personae to refer to Geneological charts are provided, but were stuck in the very back of the Kindle edition I read, with a link to a web page with a larger reproduction, so I didn t know of it until I was finished.Another problem is that while she establishes the state of 15th century England well at the beginning, and talks about how little disruption of life actually resulted from the wars at the end, this isn t really mentioned during the bulk of the book, forcing one to perhaps have to correct some opinions after the fact.Still, in all I did enjoy it and found it informative and recommend it The main niggling worry I have is that since The Princes in the Tower was her first book, it may not be as good a companion to this as might be wished. There are three main problems for any historian trying to tell the story of the Wars of the Roses Firstly, where to start in the complex set of social and political circumstances that led to the conflict Secondly, how to separate the web of myths, half truths and legends from the historical facts and thirdly there are the significantly differing historical accounts to be reconciled Alison Weir has produced a very readable narrative that deals comfortably with all these problems I can t remember the last time I read a book then immediately started all over again at page one, this timeslowly, just in case I d missed something As well as covering the whole story from the roots of the families of Lancaster and York with two hundred pages of background and scene setting there are plenty of fascinating footnotes to history Somehow it had escaped my notice that Henry V s effigy in Westminster Abbey had its silver head stolen in the time of Henry VIII and it was only replaced in 1971 Another thing I missed was that Richard of York was the first and only one of the Plantagenets to actually use the name Even for non historians, this book is a real page turner that proves that, of course, truth really is stranger than fiction. This story begins in 1400 with the murder of one king, and ends in 1471 with the murder of another One murder could be said to have been a direct result of the other The story of what happened between 1400 and 1471, which is the story told in this book, answers the question how Having now finished the book, I can provide the condensed version of the answer to Weir s question because illegitimate kids throw one hell of a wrench into people s succession plans Well, obviously it scomplicated than that in fact, the Wars of the Roses is kind of a clusterfuck of a situation, helped in absolutely no way by the fact that all the men were named George, Edward, Richard, or Henry seriously, that s the thing about Tudor history that drives me absolutely batshit It s for this reason that I don t usually gravitate towards this period of history, being a much bigger fan of the sexy sexy Tudors and their various sexy sexy scandals But I love Alison Weir, and when I saw this in a bookstore a few months ago I decided to try it and see if I could get a better idea of how in the hell Henry Tudor that s Henry VII, btw see what I mean about the names managed to get his hands on the throne of England and keep it despite having almost zero right to it After reading the book, I sort of get it I m still a little fuzzy on the details, and who was on whose side at which point in time, and sadly Henry Tudor doesn t do much here because he s like fourteen when most of the action happens, but it was still an engrossing and informative read There are lots of good battles that Weir describes in great detail the battles, I d say, are probably the best part and she does her best at making this horribly complicated situation make a bit of sense Since this book was published in 1994, she hasn t quite developed that dry, humorous tone that s the trademark of her later works, but you can still see hints of it cropping up here and there I was pleasantly surprised that the main figure in this story ends up being, not an Edward or a Richard or a whatever, but Margaret of Anjou She was the wife of the usurped Henry VI, and was by all accounts an absolute fucking badass When her husband was overthrown, Margaret spend the rest of her life raising armies, negotiating with allies, and generally calling in every favor she had to restore him to the throne Did I mention she raised and led armies to fight for her husband s throne Because she did, as evidenced in this passage that describes what has to be my new favorite episode from history From Lincluden, Margaret wrote to Mary of Gueldres, begging for sanctuary and assistance against her enemies Mary responded sympathetically and soon afterwards arrived at Lincludenthe two queens stayed at the abbey for twelve days, discussing what form that help would take At length, Mary agreed to provide men and loan money for a campaign against the Yorkists on condition that Margaret surrendered the town of Berwick to the Scots Can we just pause and appreciate how amazing it is that this even happened Two women met, hung out for a few days, and during that time planned a military campaign and traded an entire town, without even once having to ask their respective husbands or any other man for permission to do so Holy shit That, by and large, simply does not happen, and the fact that Margaret was able to keep this up for years speaks to how awesome she was Seriously though two queens spending twelve days together planning an invasion Make this movie immediately, please, and let me give it all my money. You cannot deny that Weir puts forth a great deal of effort in fully researching the history of and behind the Wars of the Roses I enjoyed this because not only does she present the facts as they are, she goes back an additional 100 years to give the full background on where the conflict exactly startedwith the sons of Edward the III and the weak reign of Richard the II You can look at several instances that helped fuel the fire between Lancastrians and the Yorkists made in each reign up to the point of the conflict between Richard, Duke of York, and Henry V Its important to note she wrote this after writing The Princes in the Tower because she felt a complete history was needed to illustrate the full detail of this history I recommend reading this first so the details explained in The Princes in the Tower are better understood The illustrated section is excellent as well, offering depictions of the principal figures mentioned.
Librarian Note There is than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.Alison Weir is a British writer of history books for the general public, mostly in the form of biographies about British kings and queens, and of historical fiction Before becoming an author, Weir worked as a teacher of children with special needs She received her formal training in history at teacher training
- Kindle Edition
- 496 pages
- The Wars of the Roses: Lancaster and York
- Alison Weir
- 03 November 2019 Alison Weir