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Richard III (The English Monarchs)

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  136 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Examines how Richard came to power in 15th-century Britain & attempts to reconcile his ruthless political actions with his beneficent rule.
Fortunes of a younger son, 1452-1471
Gloucester, Clarence & the court, 1471-1483
The heir of Nevill: Richard duke of Gloucester & the north of England
The road to the throne: the events of April to June 1483
The fate of Edward
Hardcover, 290 pages
Published January 1st 1982 by University of California Press (Berkeley) (first published January 1st 1981)
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Having read a fair amount of historical fiction about Richard III and his contemporaries, I recently began looking into some nonfiction sources to attempt to discover who Richard really was. Charles Ross promises a neutral look at historical sources in order to determine if Richard was the deformed villian of Shakespeare or the loyal but misunderstood hero put forth by Penman. I can summarize the results in three words: we don't know. Ross seems to lean more toward villain while calling it somet ...more
Feb 14, 2013 Joan rated it it was amazing
In honor of Richard III's remains being located, I overcame my disinclination toward reading biographies of monarchs and looked for an objective study on the fella. After more digging for said objectivity than you would believe possible, I landed on Ross's book, not a straightforward A-Z biography but an unconventional thematic study of Richard's life and short reign, and the late medieval period in which he lived and died.

Ross thoroughly covers the sources, available scholarship and popular vi
Sep 01, 2014 Luthien rated it really liked it

It's hard to analyze this as a biography, because that's not really what it is. (That said, I am a little confused as to why it isn't.)

Mr. Ross should get a lot of credit for consistently and determinedly examining Richard Plantagenet, as he says, "the most persistently vilified of all English kings," in the context of his own time. For those who don't already know, the medieval period and the Wars of the Roses in particular were brutal, bloody, and perhaps could be said to have verged on
Edmund Marlowe
Nov 22, 2014 Edmund Marlowe rated it it was amazing
Masterfully balanced

Richard III is easily the most controversial English king, traditionally vilified, but emotionally defended by many writers who argue he was not a usurper and did not murder his deposed 12-year-old nephew or anyone else. These invariably amateur historians and novelists have ironically mushroomed in number since two discoveries in the 1930s laid to rest reasonable historically-informed argument that his nephews did not die in his care. Nevertheless, some of the doubts they ra
Gerry Germond
Aug 24, 2014 Gerry Germond rated it it was ok
Ditto the well-written reviews below. The author is conducting an examination and not a chronicling of our boy's life. What I derived from my reading is that Richard III could be a capable enough ruler but he was also quite relentless in his acquiring of and holding onto power, as was many another medieval king (and Roman Emperor and Soviet General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party).

Spoiler: Ross' take on the disappearance of the princes in the Tower is on page 103.

The b
Jun 05, 2015 Shawn rated it really liked it
Good book that tries to get out the unbias facts about Richard III. It was a little tough to read at times simply because of the lack of written contemporaneous sources as to Richard III's reign. It is interesting that the actual Richard III is almost nothing like the portrait writers have painted of him, Shakespeare especially. Although a exceptionally ambitious individual who likely approved, at least tacitly, the murder of his nephews, he was not the craven, bloodthirsty tyrant people argued ...more
Andrea Willers
Feb 23, 2014 Andrea Willers rated it did not like it
I got this book as a Christmas present a couple of years ago and I still have not the heart to finish that book. I was well aware that it was going to be those books which was going to be very hard to understand. It had a long and lengthy intro with names from the Richard III society putting in their two penny's worth. The book has no direction and flits about from one subject to another and is not written in a clear and decisive way. It was like someone having a conversation about the sources a ...more
Brittany Petruzzi
Feb 13, 2012 Brittany Petruzzi rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
And excellent work of history. I intended to finish this before performing in Shakespeare's famous play, but here I am just finishing it weeks later. Oh well. A little dull at times, but I think that's more my fault than the author's, especially since I'm not as familiar with English history as a whole as maybe I should be.
Mark Singer
Aug 02, 2012 Mark Singer rated it it was amazing
Excellent and thorough academic biography of one of the most controversial figures in English history. Ross does a good job at untangling and explaining what is known about Richard III's life and twenty six month reign as king.

Carol Rondou
Aug 31, 2013 Carol Rondou rated it it was amazing
Traditional view of Richard. Very well researched and written. Part of the Yale Monarch series.
Taylor Kniphfer
Sep 03, 2013 Taylor Kniphfer rated it it was amazing
Best book I've read on Richard III
May 21, 2008 Cat rated it it was amazing
An incredibly useful book! i had to write a paper on Richard III and this was the best source possible.
Jan 16, 2009 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wars of the Roses
Terra Palewicz
Nov 18, 2012 Terra Palewicz rated it it was amazing

Ross did an excellent job portraying Richard in a more neutral sense. I enjoyed reading the book, and his take on Richard is very helpful.
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Charles Derek Ross (1924 – 1986) was an English historian of the Late Middle Ages, specialising in the Wars of the Roses. He was Professor of Medieval History at the University of Bristol until his death in 1986, when he was killed by an intruder in his own home.

His best known works are his biographies of Edward IV and Richard III in the Yale English Monarchs series. These influential books were t
More about Charles Derek Ross...

Other Books in the Series

The English Monarchs (1 - 10 of 28 books)
  • Æthelstan: The First King of England
  • Edward the Confessor
  • William the Conqueror: The Norman Impact Upon England
  • William Rufus
  • Henry I
  • Henry II
  • King Stephen
  • Richard I (English Monarchs)
  • King John
  • Edward I

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