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Richard, Duke of York: King by Right

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  61 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Richard, 3rd Duke of York is frequently used to recall the colours of the rainbow with the mnemonic ‘Richard Of York Gave Battle in Vain’, wrongly believed to be the Grand Old Duke of York who had 10,000 men, or mistaken for his youngest son, Richard III. The son of a traitor, he inherited a dukedom aged four, became the wealthiest man in England at thirteen and later rebe ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 15th 2016 by Amberley Publishing
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Kathy
Richard, Duke of York: King by Right
By Matthew Lewis
Reviewed February 9, 2020

Richard, Duke of York is often described (usually in Lancastrian and Tudor histories) as an arrogant man whose overweening pride started the Wars of the Roses, but as is often the case, it turns out there is so much more to his story.

In Matthew Lewis’s reassessment of the man in his biography, Richard, Duke of York: King by Right, we find a completely different version of things. By gleaning primary documents, Lewis wa
...more
Pauline Calkin
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Very readable and Illuminating biography

Richard, Duke of York, is often mentioned only as a prelude to histories of his famous sons, Edward IV and Richard III. Here, he is given his due as a royal duke who had a claim to be the rightful king. Like his son and namesake, he has been charged with unbridled ambition for the crown. But in clearly laying out the evidence, this charge must be called into question. Richard had several opportunities to depose, if not kill, Henry VI, most notably after t
...more
Sarah Bryson
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Richard, Duke of York is one of the most maligned figures of the Wars of the Roses. Seen as a man desperate for the throne he would stop at nothing to quench his insatiable desire to be King. His actions set off the catastrophic Wars of the Roses in which the course of English history was changed forever. Yet was this the real Richard, Duke of York? In his latest book Lewis challenges this ingrained idea of Richard, Duke of York and presents a very different man; one who had no desire for the th ...more
Mike Luoma
Sep 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who has tried to research the earliest days of the period commonly referred to as "The Wars of the Roses" knows how difficult it is to find material on the York Patriarch whose supposed ambition is often blamed for beginning the conflict. It also becomes clear, as historian Matthew Lewis aptly demonstrates here, that what little actual contemporary material is available to us paints a very different picture of the man than later-written histories do. Could an effort have been made to dest ...more
Sarah
A much more sympathetic view of the Duke of York than what we usually get, and one that was certainly needed. Lewis presents us with a man wanting only to do what he needed to do to protect himself, his family, and his country. It is interesting to note how many times Richard swore his loyalty to the king, and how many chances he had to take the throne and didn't. Perhaps the idea that the wars of the fifteenth century that ravaged England were born from the duke's ambition are wrong, and instea ...more
Lisa
Richard, Duke of York, is a figure central to the beginnings of the Wars of the Roses. Possessing an arguably stronger claim to the throne than Henry VI (York was descended from Edward III’s second and fourth sons, while Henry VI was descended from the third) and a huge inheritance, York was in the right place to act when Henry VI’s rule became increasingly unstable and self-interested. Matthew Lewis argues that York did not harbour ambitions for the crown itself and instead desired to help Henr ...more
Karen
Was Richard Duke of York a greedy, power-hungry, grasping man intent on becoming King or was he trying to support the King in the face of greedy nobles who were guiding the King in the wrong direction for England and France? Lewis is definitely biased on the side of Richard, Duke of York, but I think he shows both sides of the now centuries old argument concerning York's actions. He discusses some contemporary accounts of the time period with analysis of the possible meanings behind the statemen ...more
Martin Whittaker
Apr 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A well-researched and persuasively written biography of Richard, 3rd Duke of York. Matt Lewis is a brilliant historian keen to shed a different light on this fascinating and maligned personality in the 15th Century. His biography is balanced and well studied combining a great number of Primary sources to analyse the motivations behind one of the most complex individuals in English history. Was Richard's actions motivated by greed for the Crown? or do primary sources actually suggest that he was ...more
Caroline
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have always been sort of a Yorkist, and so maybe it's no surprise that I really liked this sympathetic review of the life of Richard Duke of York, father of Edward IV and Richard III. Lewis does his best to be even-handed and consider the calumnies that have been laid at York's door over the centuries, and he makes a persuasive case that if all along York had wanted to take the crown, he would not have walked away from half a dozen opportunities to get it. I was disappointed that there was no ...more
Carole-Ann
Oct 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Easy to read history of a major player in the Lancaster/York politics of the 15th century.

But: there is no bibliography either at the end of the book, or within the text; no primary sources (OK I'll allow the few that do exist); the secondary sources (regularly quoted) relied on some far-from-known chronicles written in Victorian times (FFS); and nothing from any current/modern historians. Also, towards the end, it became fairly obvous of a bias against Richard - which I don't mind as long as a
...more
Tahsin
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
“His contemporaries seem to have found him something of an enigma. He and his policies were ever popular with the common folk, yet he seemed to lack the charisma of his eldest son Edward and his nephew Warwick.”

Richard, Duke of York is still a controversial figure today and Matthew Lewis has written a much-needed reassessment of this important historical figure in English history. This is a must read for those interested in the War of the Roses.

"His attempts to correct the ills that he saw in g
...more
Lauren
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full Reveiw can be found on my Book Blog: https://wheretheresinktherespaper.wor... ...more
Annette Siverson Romanoff
This is such a well-written book, I am not sure why it is taking me so long to read it! But if you like history at all, please give this one a go!
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Daisy Clarkson
Mar 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's a great book,as exciting as a book about history can be.The author is very knowledgeable and his arguing is convincing. I highly recommend it to everyone who wants to know more about the War Of The Roses. ...more
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Matthew Lewis is the author of histories and historical fiction novels about Richard III and the Wars of the Roses. The medieval period is a particular passion of Matthew’s, a passion he hopes to share through his blog. He is dedicated to teaching and discussing this period, operating two history podcasts and providing bite-sized facts to his Twitter and Facebook following.

Lewis has degree in Law
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