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The Princes in the Tower

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  6,025 ratings  ·  420 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
Kindle Edition, 287 pages
Published September 21st 2011 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 1992)
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Stephen See my very biased review of Shakespeare's play, just posted today. It cites a couple of books both pro and anti-Ricardian. Allison Weir's is one;I…moreSee my very biased review of Shakespeare's play, just posted today. It cites a couple of books both pro and anti-Ricardian. Allison Weir's is one;I don't like its conclusions, but it needs to be read for background. Bertram Fields's book is as close to definitive as anyone is going to get I think. The evidence to convict Richard is not there. Tey and Kendall muster a lot of evidence that Richard was that rarity among kings of the era, a mensch. (less)
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3.82  · 
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Sep 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love history and I love mysteries so it was only a matter of time before I read more about The Princes in the Tower - especially considering that Brad and I covered the first part of The Wars of the Roses (WOTR) in August.

For anyone wanting to read this: yes, there might be a few facts I'm going to state that could be considered spoilers. Only read the review if you don't mind.

As in her first book about the WOTR, this author shows a lot of skill and diligence in collecting data and quoting sou
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
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
Sep 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Interesting persepective, maybe it is true, maybe not. Something still doesn’t seem right to me. I would like to find a book with Richard in a more positive light. Recommendations?
Melisende d'Outremer
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 11, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jun 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Deborah Pickstone
OK, I don't share her prejudice....but that is the problem right there - no self-respecting historian has any right to go around writing a book that has no intention of even trying for objectivity. We are all entitled to our blind spots. Mine include blind prejudice.

The blurb says that Alison Weir builds a devastating case - as far as I can see, all she did was repeat all the old slurs and gossip and produced not one shred of new evidence to support the unreconstructed case.

The Wicked Uncle is
Jan 04, 2019 marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
DNF - p. 58

I told myself that I'll read more nonfiction. Royal history is one of my favorite topics and this one's my first book on the matter, but this experience was an unnecessary info dump I can't properly digest.

The problem, in my honest opinion, is the way these facts were presented. A lot of the things I've read could've been inserted as footnotes.

Maybe I'll give this another try one day, but I won't be wasting my time early this year on a book I was not enjoying even though the subject o
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
Silvia Cachia
I'm done. And glad to be done. (I don't know if it was me not being in the mood to read history, or the book being a bit dry.) Don't take me wrong, I always take something from books, this one isn't an exception. I have more understanding, -hopefully, of Richard III's reign. At least the traditional position, which makes a lot of sense to me. Evidence will never tell us without doubt whether Richard killed those two young boys through Tyrrell or others, or if it was Henry VII, or if they were no ...more
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
Mike Dixon
Nov 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Ana Mardoll
Oct 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ana-reviewed
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
Aug 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
May 22, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, 2013-reads
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
Carol Douglas
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read exhaustively about Richard III, but I'm very interested because I'm a Shakespeare buff and use Shakespeare's Richard as a character in my forthcoming YA novel.

Having read Josephine Tey's Daughter of Time, I assumed that the real Richard didn't kill his nephews, the princes in the Tower of the title, in order to get the throne. Alison Weir's extensively researched and much later book persuades me that he probably was.

Weir's research shows that many people at the time believed that
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
Historians, moreover, are not and should not be bound by the same rules as juries. The historian will be more familiar with the bias of contemporary material and is able to take far more evidence into account than would be allowed a jury. A jury must be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that a person is guilty of a crime; a historian constructs his theory on a balance of probabilities. In this case there are facts and the testimony of witnesses as well as probabilities, and the historian is perh ...more
Nikki Stafford
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has been on my shelf FOREVER, and was written in reaction to the growing "Richard III was innocent!!" movement among scholars and members of the Richard III society. In The Princes in the Tower, Alison Weir sets out to prove that, despite the reaching that several people have done to suggest that Richard didn't hurt the princes but was in fact an innocent bystander who just happened to benefit greatly by the deaths of the two young men, who just happened to kind of kill a few other peo ...more
Maja Helena
These Platagenet people were messy and I love it! The War of the Roses and the following Tudor period are by far my two favourite periods in history.

This book should have been called Richard lll and how he killed the Princes in the Tower – but I guess that would be a bit so spoilery? It seems to me, after having read two books by Weir, that she likes to go into a book with a clear aim. In this, it was to convince the reader that Richard lll ordered the murder of his nephews while they were impri
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.

Claire (Clairby11xxx)

"... only one man could have been responsible for their deaths: Richard III."

If you are expecting an unbiased account of the disappearance of Edward V and his brother then this is not the book for you. Weir makes her point abundantly clear throughout and presents a very wide range of evidence to back up her conclusions. At times I did feel we wandered off topic a little into a general recounting of major events of the period, not something I really want to criticise as I love history and f
May 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 09, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
May 24, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Alison Weir is a British writer of history books for the general public, mostly in the form of biographies about British kings and queens, and of historical fiction. Before becoming an author, Weir worked as a teacher of children with special needs. She received her formal training in history at teacher training
“In the South of England northerners were regarded then as uncouth, brutish, undisciplined savages ...” 2 likes
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