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The Wars of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  6,273 ratings  ·  694 reviews
The fifteenth century experienced the longest and bloodiest series of civil wars in British history. The crown of England changed hands violently seven times as the great families of England fought to the death for power, majesty and the right to rule. Dan Jones completes his epic history of medieval England with a new book about the the Wars of the Roses - and describes h ...more
Hardcover, 392 pages
Published October 14th 2014 by Viking
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 ·  6,273 ratings  ·  694 reviews

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Leanda Lisle
Sep 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a story that ends badly, with ‘A wretched and blundering youth’ hacking at the head and shoulders of an old lady dressed in new shoes. She is the last Plantagenet, executed on the orders of the Henry VIII. Yet Dan Jones’s thrilling account ‘of the Wars and the Roses & the rise of the Tudors’ begins so very differently.

Children dressed as angels, with gold painted faces, sang ‘Hail flower of England, knight of Christendom’, as they greeted Henry V on his return to London following the gr
May 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-english
In this follow up to his book,The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England, I felt the author, Dan Jones, has done an admirable job of explaining the whys and wherefores of the struggle that became known as the Wars of the Roses. Starting with the death of Henry V, Mr. Jones looks at how the English experience in France, the end of the 100 Years War, and the inability of Henry’s son, Henry VI, to be an effective ruler led to the conditions that gave rise to the civil war.

I fel
Alyson Stone
Book: The War of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors/ The Hollow Crown
Author: Dan Jones
Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

I was first introduced to Dan Jones’s wonderful writing through The Plantagenets. I picked up this gem this summer and was pulled right in. There is just something about Dan’s writing that makes me want more. Since this summer, I have watched all of his programs, which if you haven’t checked out, I strongly suggest that you do. I have all of his books on m
As with his earlier volume, The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England, Jones has developed narrative nonfiction covering a complicated era of history and made it a pleasure to read. He clearly establishes that the Wars of the Roses were about so much more than who had the strongest royal blood.

When Henry Bolingbroke determined to steal his cousin's crown in 1399, he could have had no inkling of the future that he was setting into motion. By showing that the throne of Englan
I looked at my review of a previous Dan Jones history I had read and had made comment that it was “A very enjoyable popular history and hard to be too critical.” And it is hard not to say the same for this very readable installment that he has produced on the madness that was the Wars of The Roses.

If one likes populist narrative history told with “…..pace and flair…”, as the cover blurb says, this is right up that target audiences alley. It is however no
Sep 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book. Going into it, I had strong opinions about the warring families, having studied the Tudors for 16 years and Shakespeare’s histories in college—but also because my ancestors had been strong supporters of the Lancastrian claim. So imagine my surprise when I read at the end of chapter 11 that “Sir James Luttrell of Devonshire” was later credited with the capture of Richard, Duke of York! For all I knew about my family’s history, I never knew THAT incredible information! I ...more
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
May 13, 2019 marked it as to-read
This is really good I just don’t think I’m absorbing it by listening. Will definitely resume in physical form!
I wish I had counted how many heads that rolled from the first page. It seems that the best way to live as royalty at those times in England is to stay the hell away from the court and all the intrigue. Just less in five years, there were three kings.

A Clash of Kings, you say? Oh yes, George R. R. Martin definitely was inspired by the Wars of the Roses so much he basically took all the York brothers and put them in Westeros to become the Baratheon brothers. Oh, I was definitely enjoying my time
Nov 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-books
I have mixed feelings about this book and would probably give it 3-1/2 stars if I could (why, oh why can't we give half-star ratings?). My main problem is that for me the author's biases show a bit too much, not only against Richard III (who he asserts as fact in the Introduction "killed [his brother] Edward's sons" - even a "most historians agree" would have been more tolerable), but also in favor of other characters, such as Richard's father Richard Duke of York, who Jones repeatedly asserts h ...more
Brendan Monroe
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
The politics of blood has always amused me. The idea that someone is automatically deserving of something – a crown, for instance – because of who their father or mother was, is probably the most absurd, unjust thing ever thought up. So we have Dan Jones’ book “The War of the Roses” in which many characters run about claiming that this person has more of a right to wear the crown than that person because they’re supposedly a more direct descendant of a former king or queen.

The idea of “royal bl
Heidi Murphy
Jul 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve always been fascinated by the Wars of the Roses, it’s a complex and rewarding era to study and research but all too often accounts of this era have somehow disappointed. In The Hollow Crown, Dan Jones takes this complex era and its cast of fascinating characters and weaves a tale so gripping that even though you know what will happen next you are still completely hooked.

All the key characters are here, Henry V, victor of Agincourt, his son, the well-meaning yet inept Henry VI, the ambitiou
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"It was a sure sign of the woe that had befallen the English Crown that anyone should have ever considered Henry Tudor as a potential king." pp. 280

5 stars for The Wars of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors by Dan Jones.

I really enjoyed this book. It tells the story of the struggles between the Yorks and Lancasters for the English Monarchy over most of the 15th century. After the Lancasters overthrew Richard II in 1399 the crown of England changed hands 5 time
Nov 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Excellent, detailed book about a fascinating time in history. The book is well researched and brings the main characters to life.

I have the book and audio and very much enjoyed both.

The book has great information about the kings, queens, wives, dukes and other players in The War of the Roses.
King Richard III is always a great, interesting subject.
Poor Margaret Pole.

This book is a must for anyone interested in English history.
Stephen Richter
Apr 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
If you want an easy digestible history of the amazing but confusing period of British History, this book is for you. From Shakespeare to George RR Martin, writers have mined this period for inspiration. Jones' book is a great primer, the players are clearly identified and how everything comes into conflict.
Annika Hipple
As with Jones's previous book, The Plantagenets: The Kings Who Made England, I found this a generally engaging narrative marred by some sloppy fact-checking and a few irritating choices in phrasing and interpretation. Jones is a fine writer, with an accessible style. He covers a lot of ground, but the narrative flows smoothly and the pages almost turn themselves. For readers unfamiliar with the Wars of the Roses, it's a good introduction that hopefully will prompt further reading on the subject. ...more
Rebecca Wilson
Apr 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: histories, british, war
I read this just after finishing Tuchman's A Distant Mirror—perfect! This picks up right where the last one ends...though obviously nobody can compete with Tuchman. Still, I found this book entertaining, and it explains the Wars of the Roses as straightforwardly as possible (no easy task).

*Poor Henry VI, he was just not equipped for the job but it seems like he was an okay guy.
*Not a fan of how this author portrayed Margaret of Anjou. For a fifteenth century lady saddled with a nonent
Aug 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fic
I can see where George R. R. Martin got his inspiration from. This is a uber-complicated series of events that I had to reread passages to keep my head straight. It’s always confusing when people are referred to as their titles instead of their names (Warwick, York, Somerset). But this big boat of a story was still captivating. The struggle to claim the English throne featured court intrigue, illicit affairs, illegitimate children and even the bloodiest battle ever fought on British soil (Towton ...more
Lauren Albert
Oct 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history-british
I've read many books (variously) on the war, the time period and the main protagonists. But, until I read Jones, I never had a real sense of the turmoil. The changes of ruler, the vindictive killings, the changing of sides--Jones does an excellent job of making you feel what that was like. When I first got the book from the library, I saw he'd written a book on the Plantagenets and this was a sequel. I thought, "maybe I should have read that first." Then I saw that I read it 3 years ago and gave ...more
Sep 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I blew off watching the much awaited first episode of the season for 'Game of Thrones' to finish this book. Why settle for the plastic version when the real one is so much better? So much so that I can read yet another book on the Tudors and somehow not tired of it.

Cleanly written, very well organized an extremely well researched. I loved how the author kept his personal opinions of the 'players' in this medieval political shell game to himself. Of course, some of my favorite books on the Tudor
Sarah Bryson
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Dan Jones’ book on the Wars of the Roses is not simply a retelling of affairs that took place hundreds of years ago. It is a detailed, gripping exploration of the people and events that changed the very course of English history.

While most books related to the Wars of the Roses start when the families of Lancaster and York first began to vie for power behind the feeble and inept King Henry VI; Dan Jones takes the reader back several decades before this time. He explores the life and reign of Kin
Received to review via Netgalley

Raised in Yorkshire, I always feel like I should know more about the Wars of the Roses. I’m sure there were attempts to teach me, and I’ve even read Shakespeare’s history plays — and enjoyed them — and yet the information just doesn’t stick. Unfortunately for this book, it was much the same again. I can keep the basics in mind, even some anecdotes (especially if they were also referred to by Will), but the whole tangle of the family trees, the politics, the exact
Nov 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, britain
In the companion book to this one, called The Plantagenets, Jones tells the story of the rise of the Plantagenet dynasty in the 13th and 14th centuries. This book tells the second chapter of the story which begins in 1399 when Henry Bolingbroke usurped the throne from his cousin. This act of aggression set in motion the complete unraveling of this Medieval Dynasty in the 15th century. The instability and civil wars left a power vacuum in the late 1400's which Henry Tudor was able to take advanta ...more
poorvi cowkur
Jan 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
For someone with no prior knowledge about this tantalizingly epic part of history, I fell instantly in love with this book.Dan Jones simplistic approach of writing makes it so easy to wade through the labyrinth of events that span over the course of thirty years,which came to constitute the war of the roses.This medieval family feud gone awry is also a story of avarice, revenge and thirst for power, a story of loyalties shifting and power exchanging hands, story of fortunes made and thousands of ...more
The Yorkist White Rose versus the Red Lancastrian Rose. It begins with the final days of the 100 years war where powerful Henry V (Lancaster) is king of France and England. Henry V is dashing, fit, a military leader, has political acumen, and heirs. He also dies early leaving Henry VI who has none of the qualities of his father. Henry VI is a simple man and easily ruled by others. He has no interest in maintaining an empire. France is slowly pulled from the English grasp. Whispers of rival claim ...more
Caidyn (BW Reviews; he/him/his)
This review and others can be found on BW Book Reviews.


Let’s face it. I already know a lot about this area of history. I know most of the chronology and the sides that people were on. Or, at least, I can recognize the names and piece things together from there. I didn’t really need to read this book.

However, I just really love Dan Jones. I think he’s a great author. He puts his great voice into the work, and if you’ve ever seen anything that he’s been in as a historian then you know what I
Marsha Altman
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
I've never attempted to tackle the War of the Roses before, and this book went a long way in explaining what was a very complicated and protracted war. I picked it up because I recently read a book on Henry VII and was interested in the history it alluded to. This book isn't the flashiest piece of popular history, and can be a little tedious at times as you struggle with the names (which come from titles, which are inherited), but if you're interested in this particular time period (or just real ...more
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
The Wars of the Roses ended with their union in the form of Henry Tudor and Elizabeth of York's marriage, ending a war of succession that had led England to disaster ever since the ascension of the feeble Henry VI.

I felt that this book wasn't personally as appetising to me as the previous one, though that could very well be due to the fact that I've seen the story of the civil war played out thrice before in two TV shows and Conn Iggulden's series (Which is brilliantly evoked and a must read fo
Jun 26, 2016 rated it liked it
5 Stars for the rule of Henry VI; 3.5 for the ruling of Edward IV, and 2.5 for the rest.

It was a great start: the ruthless murder of Margaret de la Pole opens the narrative history in such a colloquial style that it reads less like a text book and more like a novel. While that's not a necessity for me to read, I'll read anything even passably well written on a historical era I find fascinating as long as its factually sound, it helps. But this was so heavily biased towards the Tudor's that it fe
Ron Wroblewski
May 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Let me summarize with a quote from the book:
"Foreign diplomats, receiving their news piecemeal across the Channel, shook their heads and marveled at England's topsy-turvy politics. 'I wish the country and the people were plunged deep in the sea, because of their lack of stability , for I feel like one going t the torture when I write about them, and no one ever hears twice alike about English affairs', wrote Ambassador Bettini in a letter home to Milan."
Constant waring over power - who should be
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, audiobook
3.5 stars
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Dan Jones is a historian, broadcaster and award-winning journalist. His books, including The Plantagenets, Magna Carta, The Templars and The Colour of Time, have sold more than one million copies worldwide. He has written and hosted dozens of TV shows including the acclaimed Netflix/Channel 5 series 'Secrets of Great British Castles'. For ten years Dan wrote a weekly column for the London Evening ...more

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