The Princes in the Tower
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The Princes in the Tower

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  4,204 ratings  ·  268 reviews
Despite five centuries of investigation by historians, the sinister deaths of the boy king Edward V and his younger brother Richard, Duke of York, remain two of the most fascinating murder mysteries in English history. Did Richard III really kill “the Princes in the Tower,” as is commonly believed, or was the murderer someone else entirely?

Carefully examining every shred...more
Paperback, 287 pages
Published July 10th 1995 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 1992)
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Lucy
This is my favorite book to mutter angrily at. I actually told my library that I lost it and paid for it so I could keep the copy I had scribbled angry comments in the margins.

That said, it's an excellent overview of the historical scenario of the time--it's very readable, if a bit pulpy. Unfortunately, Weir did not go into writing this book with an open mind--she went in condemning Richard, and it shows.

I read this right after reading Josephine Tey's excellent and eye-opening The Daughter of Ti...more
Kelly
May 23, 2008 Kelly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: european history geeks
This book focuses around the short lives and mysterious death of the two sons of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville. (Who, as a fun little anecdote, Edward IV threatened at knifepoint to get her to marry him. In any case.) They were declared illegitimate after Richard III took power, and imprisoned in the Tower of London and were never seen again. Richard III supposedly had them murdered within a year of this time. Alison Weir does clearly have a bias against Richard, but I think that the bias is...more
Melisende d'Outremer
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pete daPixie
Having read the Bertram Fields 'Royal Blood' investigation into this fifteenth century murder mystery, I travelled back in time to examine Alison Weir's 1992 publication of 'The Princes in the Tower.' Of the two, I have to go with Weir's verdict and pronounce Dick III guilty. Here was a coup, perhaps with Buckingham's help among others, but with Richard's hands all over it. Bloody hands too at Stony Stratford. All these dark deeds undertaken on his watch. No surprise he had trouble sleeping at n...more
Samantha
In the Author's Preface that introduces this book, Weir states, "We are dealing here with facts, not just speculation or theories, which I have tried very hard to avoid." This is quickly followed by the first sentence of the first chapter, which reads, "Modern writers on the subject of the Princes in the Tower have tended to fall into two categories: those who believe Richard III guilty of the murder of the Princes but are afraid to commit themselves to any confident conclusions, and those who w...more
Orsolya
The Princes in the Tower (these would be Edward V and brother Richard-- sons of King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville); is a fascinating and unsolved mystery (cue Robert Stack) which hundreds of years later, STILL raises eyebrows, bogs some minds, and interests history and non-history buffs alike.

The desperately unlikable usurper Richard III, who does have a claim to the throne as a decendent of Richard, Duke of York who descends from both Lionel (Duke of Clarence) and Edmund (Duke of York) wh...more
Mike Dixon
If you are looking for an action-packed novel with heroes and heroines don't read this book. If you are a fan of Richard III and believe he was the victim of malicious lies then you probably won't like it either. But, if you are intrigued by how historians can piece together the past then I would recommend it.
Alison Weir examines the rapidly evolving events following the death of Edward IV, in March 1483, to Richard's coronation three months later. She marshals an impressive body of information...more
Liisa
This is the 3rd Alison Weir book I've read, and the 2nd that wasn't all that.

I agree with some of the other reviewers that Weir began the book with the assumption that Richard did indeed have his nephews killed. And I also agree that this lack of objectivity finds its way into her writing.

That said, I also think Richard is guilty of his nephews' murder. I don't know that he had any choice, given his situation. I'm not sure that his guilt makes him any worse a person than Margaret of Anjou, who l...more
Caroline
I'm going to make a couple disclaimers right now:

If you think that Richard III is the best most misunderstood man to ever exist; that he never did anything wrong, never had any ambition, and was most definitely not capable of violence or infidelity; this book is not for you. Move on. Open another screen. Re-read "The Sunne in Splendour" for the fiftieth time (because I've heard that one is rather sympathetic, if fictional).

Furthermore, I should probably add that although I share her opinion of R...more
Emily
This book was an enjoyable read, the topic fascinating, but I also found it very frustrating for the first half of the text. The arguments were sloppily constructed and not nearly as convincing as Weir kept telling us they were. By the end of the book, I felt her arguments were more grounded and convincing as she added in later evidence, but the overall construction of the book and the fleshing out of the argument seemed poorly organized and therefore came across as much less convincing to me as...more
Katherine Gilraine
Weir presents her evidence, but while she promised to examine it objectively, it's clear as soon as she begins on Richard's accession to the throne that she firmly believes him to be guilty. That is nowhere near objective, first of all, and secondly, she glosses over that Richard and John Morton had a falling-out over the war in France. Human nature is human nature, and if John Morton was keeping a grudge, then I severely doubt he'd tell Thomas More an impartial account of Richard's court.

True,...more
Erik
I’m clearly a fan of Weir as both an historian and a writer of historical fiction. And I was no less impressed with her research behind the murder of Edward IV’s two young sons, Edward V and Richard, the Duke of York, at the hands of Richard III – who usurped the English throne during the tumultuous years now referred to as the War of the Roses.

Although there is certainly no surprise that Weir reaches her verdict that Richard is solely responsible for ordering the two princes deaths while locke...more
Shelly
Alison Weir sets out to make the case that Richard III murdered the princes in the tower, his nephews Edward V and Richard, Duke of York. It's clear from the start that she despises Richard and she views all evidence in light of how it might show his guilt. While I don't disagree with the idea that he was the most likely person to have ordered the murder of the princes, what I found most convincing was something she hinted at but never really explored in her narrative (because she was too busy h...more
Aaron
Medievalist Alison Weir sets her sights on one of history's most controversial mysteries with this volume. At the conclusion of the Wars of the Roses in England, everyone thought that things would settle down. The House of York had defeated the House of Lancaster and seemed firmly in control of the country with Edward IV ruling. The only problem is that Edward dies with his two sons Edward and Richard in the minority (ages 12 and 10).

Edward's brother Richard definitely was loyal during the civil...more
Matt
I have read Alison Weir before, her biography of Eleanor of Aquitaine and her overview history of The Wars of the Roses, and have found her enjoyable. However, I was disappointed less than 30 pages into this book and it never improved. I read Princes in the Tower to contrast a biography of Richard III by Paul Murray Kendall, unfortunately instead of well thought out case for Richard III has the murderer of the Princes, I got Sir Thomas More 2.0 and arch villain of Shakespeare.

I give credit to We...more
Ana Mardoll
The Princes in the Tower / B007I5QO50

I am very fond of Alison Weir's histories, and have an interest in the Princes in the Tower, so I expected to enjoy this historical account, even knowing that it is several years old now (and now somewhat out of date since Richard III's bones have been disinterred from the car park). Having read this book twice -- both before and after the disinterment -- I am perfectly satisfied that it lives up to Weir's tradition of excellent writing and engrossing scholar...more
Jennifer
From the start, Weir states that she believes that Richard III is guilty. I've actually always thought this, based on the evidence, but Weir seems to go above and beyond. Other reviewers have said that she's quite biased against Richard, and though I don't disagree, I still feel that she has some valid points.

One issue I had with the book, though, is that it kind of reminded me of a History Channel or Discovery Channel special where they advertise it as finally solving a certain mystery, such a...more
Renee
Before and while I read this book, I read some of the negative reviews people posted. I read them out of curiosity more than anything else since this is not the first of Weir's books I've read and I know that I immensely enjoy her writing and insight.

One of the most common criticisms of the book is that people were hoping to read an objective account and that Weir was biased from the beginning. I'm not arguing her bias in the book itself, but I wonder if these people all skipped over the first c...more
Lynne Stringer
I enjoyed Weir's book and found the arguments she put forward to demonstrate that Richard III was indeed responsible for the death of the princes was well presented and convincing, although I haven't heard an alternate argument. Still, I think it's most likely he was responsible, since he had motive and opportunity.
Regina Lindsey
The Princes in the Tower by Allison Weir
4 Stars

One of the most contentious mysteries debated among history lovers is who what was the fate of young Edward V and his brother, Richard. Were they murdered? And, if so, by whom?

Upon Edward IV's death, his brother, Richard III, took custody of his nephews, one of whom had just inherited the throne. The children were placed in the Tower of London under the auspices of awaiting Edward V's coronation. However, they ultimately vanished and Richard III se...more
Anna
This book is a hypothesis of the fate of Edward V and his brother Richard, who were 10 and 12 when they were shepherded into the Tower of London and never seen alive again.

Did their uncle, Richard III, have them killed? Was it Henry VII? Alison Weir's book is a thorough, well-researched body of evidence that definitely points to one person.

The book was scholar-dry to read, but you can't argue the research and objectivity behind it. Weir takes extreme pains to gauge the veracity of sources quote...more
Erik Graff
Jan 20, 2013 Erik Graff rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: English history fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: history
Having read Tey's famous novel, I thought reading a contrary account by an historian would be adviseable. Besides, knowing a bit about the Tudors from Henry VIII through Elizabeth, I wanted to learn more about the first Tudor king, Henry VII. Finally, having seen Shakespeare's Richard III, I wanted to be able to compare his representation of the monarch with the historical evidence.
Weir certainly gives the appearance of being on top of the material, such as it is, regarding the reign of Richard...more
Bitsy
There were two princes of England who were eight and twelve when the oldest of the two inherited the throne. Their father had died unexpectedly young and this lead to an unfortunate power struggle. The two boys were ultimately locked up in the White Tower by their uncle, Richard III who then assumed the throne.

This book takes the debate, and approaches it in a very linear and logical fashion. The author lists all of the sources of reliable information and lists not only what she considers to be...more
Mark Freckleton
The story of 13-year old King Edward V and his younger brother, the Duke of York, who were shut up in the Tower of London by their Uncle, Richard of Gloucester, later King Richard III, so that he could become king in the place of his nephew. The mystery has remained that since 1482: what happened to the two boys. Bones were found in under the stairway of a house adjacent to the tower in the late 1600s that seemed to be those of two boys, but once the uncle shut them away they were never seen aga...more
Heidi
Read this as an antidote to The Sunne in Splendour. I'd browsed The Princes in the Tower in the bookstore before and knew that it came down on the side of Richard-as-murderer, so when I finished the Penman novel I went looking at the library for this one. Actually, the best chapter in this book, and the one that is the reason that I still want my own copy of this someday (and not just to accompany Weir's Lancaster and York on my shelves) is chapter 1, "Richard III and the Chroniclers". It goes t...more
Steve
Weir stipulates the root cause behind the ensuing tragedy of the Princes in the Tower as being their father's miscalculation of the extent of loyalty to the succession of his own brother and leading courtiers, and his failure to make appropriate provision in his will should he happen to die before his heir apparent achieved his majority. Thus, when Edward IV died suddenly of pneumonia in April 1483 it was inevitable that a power struggle would erupt within the ensuing vacuum of recognised politi...more
lia
Jan 19, 2014 lia rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: history
I'm of two minds on ALison Weir's The Princes in the Tower. At first it was good, and descriptive. Weir explains her sources and chronologically guides us to what happened with the young princes. It means that we can get a good details of Edward IV and his reign and Richard III when he was still duke of Gloucester.

But it dwindled after that. It was like Weir was having personal vendetta against him. She passionately pointing out in every imaginable ways why we have to think Richard III is the m...more
Rebecca
It was good, so good I actually managed to read it in two days. Generally, familial interruptions ruin my reading time in a good way. It did not seem to contain any shocking conclusions, however, I am no fifteenth century scholar or a novice historian of the English monarchy, so I could have overlooked them. I enjoyed it and gained a better understanding of the War of the Roses and pre-Tudor dynasty England. I tried to read her book about the War of the Roses but it became too complex and diffic...more
Wendy
A careful and thorough examination of the evidence related to the fate of the princes in the tower.

Weir does her best to be objective, beginning with a very thorough evaluation of the credibility of the major contemporary and near-contemporary sources. One of the things that this book makes clear is that the documentary evidence is scant enough, and some of the events just plain odd enough, that it's impossible not to bring some biases and assumptions to one's interpretations of events. Weir, a...more
Christia
This book sat on my shelf for years before I actually read all of it. I'm sure it is partly because out of the 5 books I've read that involve Richard III and the Princes in the tower, 4 (all fiction) have been pro Richard, that I still have a difficult time believing he was as evil as some would like to believe. The entire political situation covered and the behavior of the individuals who were involved is more deliciously scandalous than you could ever imagine. No one, literally, could make thi...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Alison Weir (born 1951) is a British writer of history books for the general public, mostly in the form of biographies about British kings and queens. She currently lives in Surrey, England, with her two children.

Before becoming an author, Weir worked as a teacher of children with special needs. She received her...more
More about Alison Weir...
The Six Wives of Henry VIII Innocent Traitor The Lady Elizabeth The Life of Elizabeth I Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life

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