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The History of King Richard III

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3.39  ·  Rating details ·  143 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Richard III’s reputation stands as one of the most evil men in history—a manipulating and murderous man who would stop at nothing to become king. Much of what modern scholarship knows of him stems from Thomas More’s critical biography, which itself proved the inspiration for Shakespeare’s play.Focusing on the final years of Richard III’s life, Sir Thomas More depicts a man ...more
Paperback, 120 pages
Published November 1st 2004 by Hesperus Press (first published 1518)
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Jane Griffiths
Yes I know More is a saint and all, but that doesn't make this work worth while. It is a piece of spin, based on hearsay, and intended to contribute to the trashing of the reputation of King Richard III. Yes, that Richard, who reigned for barely two years and who lost the ultimate battle at Bosworth. He LOST, Tommy! So why did you feel the need, so much later, to continue trashing him? Why was it necessary? Answer me that. Maybe, just maybe, there was the memory of Good King Richard. Trial by ...more
Susan Abernethy
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Whether you agree with More's recounting of events or not, it is a joy to read his writing. This edition also has great background infomation from the editor about More's intention in writing this book and his methods. I recommend it.
Christopher
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting early work by Thomas More, his attempt to bring a humanist perspective to bear on the life of Richard III. Heavily biased in favor of Henry Tudor, who ultimately defeated Richard and became king in his own right, but still an intriguing history that found new life a century later as one of Shakespeare’s sources for “Richard III”. Thanks, Colin!
Martin
Jul 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
From a post I made in the Shakespeare discussion group:

"I thank my god for my humility"

-- Shakespeare's Richard as actor. Richard often copies the character of the person he is with. In general company he goes for a lowest-common-denominator approach, hence these deadly platitudes.

There is a passage about Richard's acting (and acting by politicians generally) in More's History, which must have greatly interested Shakespeare,

"And in a stage play all the people know right wel, that he that playeth
...more
Brianna
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whether you agree, disagree, somewhat agree, or what-have-you, with Tom More's account of Richard (well, strictly speaking not "his" account, but his written report of what he heard and read from others), one thing is certain: the man could WRITE. His history is both useful and entertaining, much of his poetry is frankly HILARIOUS, and he has some very insightful advice to share concerning marriage and the family. Great man, great writer.
Miriam
May 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this for a seminar, but I must say that I really enjoyed it. I don't quite agree with how More presents some events here, but I can really appreciate this book for what it is. I especially liked the narrator, full of sarcasm and intelligent comments on life, as well as More's editorializing comments on historiography.
Joanne Agate
Jan 03, 2020 rated it did not like it
I found myself grumbling at this book the entire time. More's facts are gossip. This is just anti King Richard III propaganda wrapped up as real history. Luckily this book is available for free download online so I didn't waste any money on it.
Tom
Jun 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most people, if they think of anything involving the English king Richard III, assume he was an evil hunchback who had his young royal nephews killed to ensure he would be king as depicted by William Shakespeare.

While it is highly likely that yes, Richard did have his nephews killed, the truth is Shakespeare's monarch is a monster of the highest order. Futhermore, Shakespeare didn't invent his stories, so where did he get his version of Richard from?

Well, he got it from Thomas More.

More wrote
...more
Heather Cawte
Apr 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thomas More was only a small child when Richard III died at the Battle of Bosworth, so this account is hardly eye-witness truth. It is, however, a marvellous example of propaganda. Thomas was writing for the Tudors, and so had a vested interest in painting Richard as the ultimate villain. His long and convoluted sentences take a little untangling, but well repay the effort. I believe that this the clearest and most inexpensive version of More's account currently in print.

Simon Webb provides an
...more
Bob Ladwig
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The beauty of this book is in More's charming wit and wonderful use of the English language. How accurate is the book? That is debatable, considering More was acting as a court historian in writing it. Regardless, it is well worth reading. For my part, after reading this I thought it was fitting that Richard III should be found under a parking lot. As soon as the determined it was Richard the III they should have put his body back under the parking lot and put a "Pay-Less Shoes" over his grave.

...more
Robert
Oct 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Humanist/History Scholars
Recommended to Robert by: Prof. Kathy Eden
It could be that the flow of the book was greatly diminished by the constant need for footnotes, but even accounting for that I did not come away awed by this moralizing history of a tyrant. Perhaps I was not overly impressed because tyrants have gotten so much more foul and crazed since then, and their biographies so much more graphic and invasive.

However, my hat is off to the Duke of Buckingham, who is a slimy sophist and career politician in the worst of ways, with excellent re-workings of
...more
Adeline
* only read a few of the poems
Chris
Feb 20, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: history
I found this book incredibly unstimulating and completely boring. I hardly ever find a book as boring as this one. The history itself should actually be interesting but I got lost in More's description of Richard III's life and events that occured during his life. He didnt site his sources all that often and frankly I just didnt like it.
Matt
Apr 09, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This text has all the strengths - and all the shortcomings - of a work of literature and a work of history. Interesting to look at one of Shakespeare's sources for *his* play, but on its own, falls quite short of Thomas More's usual faire.
Joti
Jan 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Xenia0201
Jul 15, 2011 rated it did not like it
This was very difficult to read as it was in Old English and therefore painstakingly hard to translate and decipher.
Veronica
I fell in love with this book. One of the best history books I've read. A little hard to get through the archaic language, but once you get used to it, the things More is doing are brilliant.
Sophie Murray-Morris
Sep 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
It is a difficult read but pretty essential reading if you're looking to study Shakespeare's Richard III. More is witty but the factual errors let the text down a little.
Helen Mears
Jun 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Not easy to read, but worth persevering with just to hear Thomas More's voice. This was the source text for Shakespeare's play and the origin of the dark myth of Richard.
John
Dec 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An interesting document. Certainly one that would not appeal to the Ricardians!
Laura Parry
Apr 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Difficult read, but worth it- especially now that a lot of what More said about King Richard III has been confirmed.
Jennifer
Jan 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A hard read; but what great content from the view from a man that lived in that time!
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Sir Thomas More (/ˈmɔːr/; 7 February 1478 – 6 July 1535), venerated by Catholics as Saint Thomas More, was an English lawyer, social philosopher, author, statesman, and noted Renaissance humanist. He was a councillor to Henry VIII and also served as Lord High Chancellor of England from October 1529 to 16 May 1532.

More opposed the Protestant Reformation, in particular the theology of Martin Luther
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