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The Last Plantagenets (The Plantagenets #4)

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  704 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
Book annotation not available for this title...Title: .The Last Plantagenets..Author: .Costain, Thomas B...Publisher: .Buccaneer Books..Publication Date: .1994/06/01..Number of Pages: ...Binding Type: .HARDCOVER..Library of Congress: .
Hardcover, 424 pages
Published December 1st 1994 by Buccaneer Books (first published 1962)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,564)
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May 22, 2012 Daniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very detailed history including that of Richard III. Part of a series by Thomas B. Costain which started in the first of the series with Geoffrey of Anjou with the feather in his cap, the "Planta Genesta" , going through King Stephen, Richard the Lion Hearted, King John, King Edward "Edward Longshanks" up to Richard III and then I recall ends with Henry VII and the beginning of the Tudor dynasty. It's been years since I read the series but I really enjoyed it. I would like to go back and again r ...more
Feb 29, 2008 Stuart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read these four books before we went to France the first time in 1974. With the planta genesta family history in my lizard brain, I noticed on the map that the route between Paris and Rouen provided, with a short detour, the opportunity to stop at the ruins of one of Richard (the Lionheart)'s castles above the Seine (contructed in 1195). So I stopped and wandered and had a couple of hours that fed all my Ivanhoe fantasies of my yout'. Would never have stopped had I not read the book.
Abigail Hartman
Jul 14, 2013 Abigail Hartman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Costain employs his novelist's flair to the last (and, I think, best-known) work in his Plantagenet series. It picks up with the decline and death of both Edward III and his son the Black Prince, then moves on to a fairly lengthy but still eminently enjoyable section on Richard II. Then, of course, there are the Wars of the Roses. Costain isn't always detailed, and he doesn't talk much at all about aspects like the Battle of Agincourt; but he does highlight lesser known and perhaps more critical ...more
Mike Luoma
Aug 24, 2014 Mike Luoma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good read and serviceable survey of the period. Nothing new for me here as a regular scholar of the period, but it is well presented and would make a great introductory book on the era. One interesting Ricardian note: Although written 50 years ago, Costain was willing to challenge the historical image of Richard III towards book's end, finding many historical sources to be biased and in some cases factually incorrect. As with many non-UK authors, Costain found when examining the actual evidenc ...more
Mar 23, 2007 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Costain's able to keep the reader's interest for hours in subject matter that could easily become a little dry and dusty.
Very readable popular histories.
What to say about this book? I'm an Anglophile and generally love reading about the British, particularly stuff about the monarchy. This book took me well over a year to read, because it is so incredibly boring. Make no mistake -- it contains tons of useful and interesting information. But any book that talks about alliances, betrayals, torture, beheadings, disease, love affairs, infanticide, etc, should NOT BE THIS BORING. I was never able to read more than three pages in a row without falling ...more
S.J. Lewis
Jun 22, 2012 S.J. Lewis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I discovered Costain's books on English history many years ago, and made a point of getting every one of them that I could track down. Every one is entertaining and informative and provides just enough detail about the politics and personalities involved to give a reader a clear notion of not just what was going on but why it was going on. With 'The Last Plantagenets', he covers the Wars of the Roses and the ending of a dynasty superbly well. He also has a few things to say about the demonizati ...more
Kathy  Petersen
Final volume in Costain's four-book popular history of the Plantagenets; I'm reading them in order, something I did a very long time ago.

This, in my rather informed opinion, is the best kind of "popular history": superbly written, chatty with a storyteller's verve, accurate and appropriately researched, with speculation well-identified as such and the author's perspective not presented as irrefutable.

The Plantagenets are endlessly interesting folks, and Costain is obviously entranced with them,
Sep 19, 2015 Gary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to come across this treasure at a charity shop, and having a passionate interest in English history eagerly snapped it up.
And I am glad I did. With a novelists flair , Thomas Costain creates both a detailed history of England and its monarchs from the declining years of Edward III to the death of Richard III at the battle of Bosworth and the early early years of Henry VII.
Costain combines political history with social history, taking us through the overview while providing us
This is the last in a series of books on the Plantagenet Dynasty. I enjoyed the final chapter in this family's history!

Costain takes the reader all the way through the War of the Roses to the ascension of Henry II. Although, it is trickery to follow. If you have an interest in that period, I recommend you seek another book that focuses solely on the rivalry between the Lancasters and Yorks.

One interesting point is Costain's treatment of Richard III. He is clearly pro-Richard and makes no bones
I've learned a LOT reading this series. Not the least of which they should make "hanged, drawn and quartered" a drinking game and also people in the middle ages REALLY knew how to hold a grudge.
I read this when I was 10 or 11. I found fascinating at the time and would enjoy rereading it again. It probably was one of the books that launched me on a trajectory to a history degree.
Dec 20, 2015 Margaret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-history
Fairly old book but still an entertaining read.

The author is even handed in his attitudes to each monarch. Well worth reading if you can get hold of a copy.
Jan 30, 2015 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Last Plantagents! Bravo!

This is very good. The section on Richard II though is long. Too long considering how quickly The War of The Roses fly by.

Its all so well explained though, and he really introduces each character well, and lets you know exactly who you should be watching out for. This is a great device in this kind of book, as there are tons of characters that just pop up for a bit and then go away again, only to return in a key role 200 pages later. I don't think anyone else writes
Judy Weiner
This book covers a large period of British history. I had just finished the most recent book in the cousin's war, and was curious about the previous kings. This book only goes up to King Henry IV coming to the throne. I really wish it had covered the periods of Henry V and Henry VI also. I found the chapters covering Henry II, his wife Eleanor and their sons very interesting. So the title of the book is a little misleading as Richard III and possibly the lost little princes would be the last Pla ...more
Nov 17, 2012 Kara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plantagent-fact

First off – a detailed family tree would have [i]really[/i] helped.

Second, there is a bias that still, to this day, permeates the book world – a belief that only men “can” write historical non-fiction while only women “can” write historical-fiction. The bias is that women are so in tune to feelings and domesticity and babies and staying in the kitchen and falling in love and their teeny tiny widdle brains can only handle fluffy ideas and day to day matters while men have the strong, analytical m
Feb 10, 2012 Scott rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is the third of Costain's histories of the Plantagenet which I have read. And the first third was as enjoyable as the previous two volumes.

Costain is a great storyteller who makes his characters vivid. Noble kings, beautiful queens, wicked villains, courageous knights, inept councilors, jealous uncles, weak kings, crafty archbishops, seductive mistresses, proud peasant revolutionaries, etc., etc. And these are caught up in stirring battles, intricate diplomacy, and so many twists and turns
Kaye Ogram
I can rate this book only 3 stars. It is a very uneven book; the first part being extremely interesting if a bit disjointed in presentation. The second portion being somewhat similar to a foot race through the Wars of the Roses, and the third devoted entirely to a defense of the reputation of Richard III. His dismissal of More/Morton and Vergil's histories without benefit of reliable sources to the contrary leave a great deal to be desired to this reader. I am not satisfied with the explanation ...more
Bonnie Staughton
An interesting read. I understand there are other books in this series but this is the first one I have read. Lots of confusing similar names but interesting stories. As another reviewer wrote--A detailed family tree would have helped. I'm sure Thomas Costain did quite a bit of research and his stories sound like he knows what he is talking about. I thought it might be a "dry" read but it was interesting and informative.
While I love reading about the Plantagenet history, I struggled not only with the writing style, which jumped around quite a bit, but also with the title relative to the narrative. I expected a more equal treatment of all from Richard II to Richard the III and that wasn't the case. In fact, the portions on Edward the IV were paltry compared to the chapters ad nauseum on Richard II. I wouldn't recommend this book if you don't already have a fairly good knowledge about the time period as the autho ...more
Oct 09, 2011 Thomas rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This may be called "The Last Plantagenets", but "The Least of the Plantagenets" might summarize the characters and the book. It seems that Costain didn't really like this part of the story and rushed through it. What's more inexplicable is his inclusion of the entire House of Lancaster in this book. Yes, there may be a trace of Plantagenet blood legitimizing the Lancastrians, but we didn't really need to read about it. Of course, if Costain had kept the narrative quality to the same level as the ...more
Oct 10, 2012 Carrol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fine book. I tried reading this book years ago; before the advent of the Internet. Using Wikipedia with this reading made it much easier to keep all the characters straight (so many with similar names). Getting more background information on the characters enriched the reading experience. The most in-depth and interesting elements of the book: Richard II, Richard III, and the two young princes in the Tower of London. This is a non-fiction book that piqued my interest in possibly reading a good ...more
Oct 12, 2014 Bethany rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Again, I suppose it's not the author's fault that the most interesting Plantagenets were the earlier ones. Richard III is interesting, but the author spends most of the end of the book defending Richard's reputation (which I did appreciate) rather than in describing contemporary opinion.
Mar 01, 2013 Jonathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun, light narrative that verges on novelistic in its sketches of characters and scenes from The Pages of English History, peppered with arch commentary and concluding with a long brief in defense of Richard III (as a King: able, honorable, and admirable, if melancholy; as suspect in the murder of his two nephews: nominally ambivalent, though Costain clearly thinks him innocent).

Costain's poetic license becomes a real strength if you imagine that he really thought himself privy to the thoughts o
After reading the first three of Costain's Plantagenet series, I had to read the fourth. It wasn't my favorite, however. Either he ran out of steam in the writing (especially around halfway through with the death of Richard II, who he considered the last true Plantagenet) or I ran out of steam in the reading. Still, following Richard II, TLP gave a brief history of the War of the Roses, which I will follow up by reading Alison Weir's The Wars of the Roses.
Jun 21, 2014 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful as all the others in this series. Now I have to go to the primary sources on Richard III because I was unaware of the controversy about his character.
Boulder Boulderson
Another popular history. Good reading, despite a fifth of the book being an impassioned defence of Richard III over the Princes in the Tower. I would've liked more on the War of the Roses instead, but Costain manages to turn a confusing and repetitive period into a coherent narrative and thereby helps understanding and appreciation of the history. Definitely worth a read.
Jun 26, 2012 Serfergirl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although serious historians tend to dismiss Costain's history, he does make his books interesting and easy to read. His four-part book series called The Pageant of England was my second introduction to English History, the first being a really dry book by Winston Churchill! Without Costain it is doubtful that I would have gone on to study English medieval history.
Apr 01, 2014 Luann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
One thing is for sure: you have to be awake when you read this book. Even though well written British history requires one to have an ability to distinguish between all the Edwards, Henrys, Richards, etc. The english royalty have a penchant for numerous titles and names for each person. If their history wasn't so doggone colorful it would really be boring.
Jennifer Post
Aug 15, 2009 Jennifer Post rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating look at history from poor Richard II down through Richard III, and the controversy surrounding Richard III and his two nephews. Costain is a true historian, delving into the past for first "true love" of books. I've had to buy this book three times in my life, as I keep wearing it out.
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Costain was born in Brantford, Ontario to John Herbert Costain and Mary Schultz. He attended high school there at the Brantford Collegiate Institute. Before graduating from high school he had written four novels, one of which was a 70,000 word romance about Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange. These early novels were rejected by publishers.

His first writing success came in 1902 when the Brantford
More about Thomas B. Costain...

Other Books in the Series

The Plantagenets (4 books)
  • The Conquering Family (The Plantagenets, #1)
  • The Magnificent Century (The Plantagenets, #2)
  • The Three Edwards (The Plantagenets, #3)

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