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The Rise of the Tudors: The Family That Changed English History
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The Rise of the Tudors: The Family That Changed English History

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  144 ratings  ·  30 reviews
On the morning of August 22, 1485, in fields several miles from Bosworth, two armies faced each other, ready for battle. The might of Richard III's army was pitted against the inferior forces of the upstart pretender to the crown, Henry Tudor, a twenty–eight year old Welshman who had just arrived back on British soil after fourteen years in exile. Yet this was to be a figh ...more
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published January 14th 2014 by St. Martin's Press (first published May 13th 2013)
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Leanda Lisle
Although Richard III was five foot eight inches tall, his spine was so twisted he stood as short as four foot eight. Imagine him hacking his way towards Henry Tudor at the battle of Bosworth, a furious human pretzel, ‘small in body and feeble of limb’, a contemporary noted, he cut his way towards his rival, ‘until his last breath’.

Five million people in the UK watched the Channel Four programme The King Under the Car Park that first revealed Richard really did have slight bones, and one shoulde
If recent English history book shelves are solid indicators of trends, then it appears that the obsession with the Tudors has slipped backwards in time with a focus on how the Tudors came to gain the throne in the first place. Chris Skidmore joins this group of Tudor-background exploration in “The Rise of the Tudors: The Family That Changed English History”.

Having thoroughly enjoyed Skidmore’s book on Edward VI but not so much the book concerning Amy Robsart (sadly, because I love her); I was un
(I read the edition published under the title The Rise of the Tudors)

I had been looking for a clear narrative on the War of the Roses. At last, here it is! Chris Skidmore whose work I know through his books earlier books:Death And The Virgin: Elizabeth, Dudley and the Mysterious Fate of Amy Robsart and Edward VI: The Lost King of England has pulled this all together.

The first section shows the problems of the reign of Henry VI and Richard of York's reaction to the many slights and the costs he b
The Battle of Bosworth, the last significant battle in the War of the Roses, has become the stuff of legends. Who hasn't seen Shakespear's dramatic reimagining in the play, Richard III? But there are two sides to this story and since only victors write history, the problem with Bosworth has always been teasing out fact from legend.

The Tudor kings and queens were, rightly, concerned with their image, and what better way to establish the validity of a new royal house than to have God sanction it
Athena Ninlil
The Battle of Bosworth Field is an enigma as for the location of the battle itself. With the name Bosworth not being cited until decades later to the point it had become common by 1534 when Polydore Vergil's History of England was published. Redemore, Ambion Hill -Crown Hill, Stoke. These are all synonymous to where the battle is supposed to take place to Sande Hill where Richard was unhorsed and killed in battle. Drawing from various accounts and archaeological evidence, Chris Skidmore tries to ...more
Not sure why this is being seen as Tudor "propaganda"; Skidmore has written a very well-researched story of the, well, rise of the Tudors. His description of the Battle of Bosworth itself is also good, considering that the battle (1) by all accounts only took two hours (2) had as a major component a prolonged failure to move on the part of the Stanley contingent, which while it must have been nerve-wracking as all get out for Henry Tudor and Richard III, doesn't lend itself to a lot of descripti ...more
Tudor Times
In a nutshell…

A gripping account of the battle that brought the Tudors to the throne of England – ideal for readers who appreciate detail and non-partisan reflection.

Read reviews by Tudor Times at

Full Review

This is a superb account of the battle, beginning some 60 years earlier as the seeds of the Wars of the Roses were sown in Henry VI's incapacity for his great office, and carrying the reader along in a well-researched and detailed narrative that never
Like many other historical readers, I have had a phase where I was obsessed with the Tudor dynasty. I read novels, histories, and biographies of those involved with the Tudors as well as the Tudors themselves. However, I was never able to understand the Cousin's War (more commonly called the Wars of the Roses) until I read this book.
For that alone, Chris Skidmore deserves 4 stars.
Another aspect I liked was the timeline of events since it allowed greater detail and more information about the act
Rachel Beaver
Beginning with the reign of Henry VI, this covers the entire struggle for power from Richard Duke of York, right up to Henry VII's victory at Bosworth.

Skidmore seems to be a Henry VII backer, and the pro-Richard sources downplayed or omitted (Kendall has given me high expectations). This makes his work appear to lack conviction and confidence. Would love to see an amalgamation of Skidmore & Kendall - the pro-Henry & pro-Richard sources, in context with the history of the York/Lancaster
Brian Page
Masterful! The level of detail is simply breath-taking with such insights into the myriad subtle connections amongst the characters of all stations. Were this a work of fiction the editor would have protested that the plot was far too complex.
Norman Revill
Yup, it's all here and you can't fault Skidmore's attention to detail, but then he is a historian, not a historical novelist, so there's tons of the stuff. Detail. About who did what and when and to whom, so that after a while it starts to teeter on the tedious. As a historian, he's keen to let us know what actually happened because he has the facts to prove it. And to that end, he's not a Ricardian. The last Plantagenet was a usurper, as far as he's concerned, who probably did organise the deat ...more
Mac Daly
For the Tudor fan or those who want to know more about the famous family. This could be called the prequel to the Henry VIII story.
Covering the 30 years prior to the reign of Henry VII, or the period known as the Wars of the Roses, there is more intrigue, murder, betrayal and marriage brokering than anything that took place in Henry VIII's time. The book ends with a section on the recent discovery of the bones of Richard III in a car park, giving some previous unknown details on how he died.
Myke Cole
A potentially great read, hamstrung. Skidmore's Bosworth has two major problems: 1.) hamstrung by a lack of primary sources, the author is forced to provide a dry recounting of events rather than the kind of in-depth character studies that engage readers. In the end, readers come to history for the same reason they come to fiction: because they want to know about *people*.

Some of this is not Skidmore's fault: Much of the action of the Wars of the Roses is between people "so lofty they shit marb
Mark Maguire
This book represented an impressive foray into the mercurial ascendancy of Henry Tudor on a battlefield close to Bosworth.

The Author has produced what should be considered an authoritative review of the events leading up to Bosworth, including a balanced and fair assessment of the conduct of Richard III in the build-up to the battle, depicting Richard III as a monarch whom was aware of the fragility of his own rule, and eager to engage with Henry Tudor as soon as practically possible. This was
Mary Arkless
I saw this reviewed in a national newspaper, where it was giving very strong praise. As it is in hardback - and a hefty one at that - I checked the library's catalogue online, and they had it. It was already being read by someone, but I was able to request it. If not, I probably wouldn't have read this book, and I would have been the poorer for it.

It is very pleasant to read, although there are a few typographical errors, which really should have been caught by any proofreader worth their salt.
Cora Lee
Well-researched, and well-written (more narrative than textbook), I thoroughly enjoyed this book and Chris Skidmore's writing style. Evidence was presented and primary sources referenced whenever possible, often with reasons why the source was reliable or not, allowing the reader to come to his/her own conclusions (something I as a math teacher particularly liked).

There were a few mistakes, though they looked more like typos than lack of knowledge. For example, there is a reference to "Queen Eli
book written by historian that uses accounts from personal papers and chronicles to tell the story from the perspective of documentation. Story ends with the battle of Bosworth and also circles back to include the 2012 discovery of Richard III's burial place.
Anton Tomsinov
Military history is despised nowadays, so I hope that the author deliberately tried to appear as someone who has a very basic understanding of the medieval warfare. The title is misleading: about 3/4 of the book is simply a brief history of the Wars of the Roses with special attention to Tudor family. It is not better or worse than other short narratives. The most interesting part is the Bosworth campaign itself, but not the military part. It is a collection of personal stories about noblemen wh ...more
An interesting read- it covers not just the battle, but the events leading up to it and the aftermath. It helped my understanding of a very complex time in British history. Very well reasearchedand yet readable.
James Maguire
A superbly written account of the battle of Bosworth. A must for anyone who takes an interest in the Tudor period. Chris Skidmore is an excellent writer of history.
stopped reading
Jul 28, 2014 Debbie added it
Shelves: stopped-reading
Good writing, but too many characters, despite the family tree in front. Maybe I'll try again later...
A very detailed exploration of Henry VII's rise to power. Generally engaging, although the writer tends to get bogged down in minutiae, especially in the last few chapters.
Very well-researched, and I appreciate the postscript that was added regarding the discovery of Richard III's remains, but that was by far the most interesting part.
Taylor Kniphfer
A brilliant book, with an incredible account of the battle itself and the final moments of King Richard III. Highly recommended.
Chris F
Despite this being a favourite period of mine and some strong reviews this one never really rose above the average for me. Competent enough, but too many long quotes from sources and not enough analysis for my liking.
interesting book examining the origins of the tudors and events from 1460's leading up to Bosworth field and looking at where the location of the battleground is and its aftermath also looking at the recent evidence of Richard III body being found in Leicester and the marks of the bones and how did he die during the battle
Evi Routoula
A good book explaining the rise of the Tudor dynasty and the great battle in Bosworth where Henry VII won the unpopular Richard III. A must read if you like history.
I think this the same book I bought on the Apple bookstore called The Rise of the Tudors: The Family that Changed English History by Chris Skidmore.
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