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The Wars of the Roses: A Concise History
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The Wars of the Roses: A Concise History

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  78 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
An illustrated narrative of the events, and analysis of the personalities, involved in the dynastic struggle between the forces of Lancaster and those York for the English throne.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published May 1st 1986 by Thames & Hudson (NY) (first published June 21st 1976)
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Mike Luoma
Dec 06, 2013 rated it liked it
On reading this survey - very short - history of the Wars of the Roses by Ross, I had a curious "aha!" moment, where I realized many of the more current books I've read on the subject were written in light of Ross' work. Some have supported his work, others have found fault and contradicted him - there are many shades and variations in the reactions to Ross' version, to be sure. I found the over-reliance on large, somewhat bland, illustrations and the slight text detracted from this overall pres ...more
Jan 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
Snooze-fest. Took my time getting through it though, wanting it to get better. The last chapter on the consequences of the Wars of the Roses was the most interesting and engaging. Much of what comes before is dry and turns the events of the Wars into a "laundry list" of minor skirmishes and a who's-who of British nobility without much in it all to make me care.
Aug 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plantagent-fact

An excellent analysis of the War of the Roses, covering royalty, nobles, minor and major, merchants, clergy, as well as all the “small folk” as G. R.R. Martin would say. Lovely illustrations and photos throughout of primary sources – stained glass windows, illuminated manuscripts, tomb effigies, etc. – and a thoughtful in depth look at the many layers of the bloody civil war.
Dec 11, 2010 rated it it was ok
Not bad as a brief, overall history, but bogged down with traditionallist assumptions!
Jul 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
I found this to be a nice, brief overview of the Wars of the Roses, although you need about twenty hands and some playing cards to keep track of everyone (Richard, Duke of Gloucester, Richard, Earl of Warwick, etc., etc...). I especially enjoyed the final chapter that discussed the impact that the Wars had on the entire country, given that there was fighting off and on from 1455-ish until 1485 when Henry VII came to power. It was interesting to learn that in the end, the impact on the every day ...more
Helene Harrison
Review - I thought that this book was much better than others I've read, just what it says on the cover - a concise history of the Wars of the Roses. It covers the period from Henry V to Henry VII, with particular emphasis on the reigns of Henry VI, Edward IV and Richard III. There is a major focus on the battles and political conflicts, less so on the figures involved themselves.

General Subject/s? - Wars of the Roses / History

Recommend? – Yes

Rating - 17/20
For a short book, this took me ages to read. There was more military "stuff"explained than I was expecting. My intent was for this to help me better understand the history as I began to read The White Queen, but I finished the fiction book first and I think the story helped me understand the history explained in the non-fiction book. Overall, I liked the general overview it gave. The diagrams and photos were interesting and helpful.
Jan 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Good history of a very confusing era. If you're interested in English mid/late medieval history this is a good read. The chapters are about different aspects of the "war", which I learned was surprisingly short although it went on for about 30 years. As another reviewer said the last chapter was really interesting - "The Impact of Civil War on English Politics and Society." The book is well written and I found it very informative.
Brittany Petruzzi
Jun 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
Picked this one up when all the names in Richard III's biography started running together. I needed something to which I could attach them.

Ross writes a concise history of the Wars that moves at a fair clip: fast enough to keep the reader interested, but not too fast that one gets lost. Ultimately, this was a Chris Schlect recommendation. I'll be sure to read through the rest of his English history recommendations, as well.
Breve storia che racconta in modo generale ma esauriente i punti salienti del conflitto. Non dice niente di nuovo per chi ha già letto un po' sull'argomento, ma è utile per ricontrollare certi punti in caso di bisogno.
Ross tra l'altro è l'unico autore di una biografia completa di Edward IV, che Odino l'abbia in gloria, ed è uno di cui ci si può fidare.
Jun 26, 2010 rated it liked it
Blessedly short book on a troubled time in English history. Not sure if I'm any the wiser as everybody seemed to be called either Henry, Edward or Richard!
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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