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War Of The Roses

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message 1: by Old-Barbarossa (new)

Old-Barbarossa Folks, just finishing the plays by Shakespeare (Henry 6th 1-3 and Richard 3rd) and wondering if anyone has any pointers to novels in the period?


message 2: by Owen (new)

Owen (RoxiesGrandad) | 24 comments As far as Richard III is concerned, the totally definitive book to read is Sharon Penman's The Sunne in Splendour. It will turn you off the Shakespeare fictional version for life. Shakespeare set out to make Richard look evil in order to pander to Elizabeth I, whose grandfather won the throne by Richard's death. Sharon tells the man himself, warts and all, but keeps very much to the truth, showing a brilliantly researched character of the man who became the last king of England to die on the battlefield.


message 3: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 251 comments Owen wrote: "As far as Richard III is concerned, the totally definitive book to read is Sharon Penman's The Sunne in Splendour. It will turn you off the Shakespeare fictional version for life. Shakespeare set o..."

I completely agree. If you want the sugary sweet Richard (which I loathe) there's Sandra Worth and Anne Easter Smith's books. Reay Tannahill's The Seventh Son is good, as is Meredith Whitford's Treason.

Not trying to take away from Nona's group, but there is the Richard III group here, http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/1...

You'll find some very knowledgeable members as well as a very extensive bookshelf thanks to Susan H and Brian W among others.


message 4: by Owen (new)

Owen (RoxiesGrandad) | 24 comments From the point of view of the Wars of the Roses, Sharon's book gives a good coverage of the last battles and the reign of Edward IV, together with the deaths of "Kingmaker" Warwick, Henry VI, a fair assessment of Elizabeth Woodville compared with the other books about her which are more conjecture that fact, and a good insight into the possible disappearance of the little princes.A better account of this period does not exist.


message 5: by Old-Barbarossa (last edited Aug 27, 2010 10:51PM) (new)

Old-Barbarossa Owen wrote: "...turn you off the Shakespeare fictional version for life..."

I know on another thread there has been a fair bit of discussion on anachronisms and facts being just plain ignored in some books...but the Shakespeare stuff...well, it's Shakespeare...he can do that with impunity as far as I'm concerned.
Some fascinating characters during this period, certainly in the plays, some cracking villains...Joan Of Arc and Jack Cade being favorites.
I only have a very broad view of what actually happened though, through how it knocked onto Scots/Irish Hx. Read a good bio of Thomas Malory that touched on it all too.
Thanks for the pointers folks.
Now, any hints as to a good solid Hx text on the period?


message 6: by Claire (new)

Claire | 6 comments This Sun of York by Mary Clive is a good non fiction readable book about Edward iv. The Yorkists History of a Dynasty by Anne Crawford is a good potted history of the major players on the York side without being too pro.


message 7: by Owen (new)

Owen (RoxiesGrandad) | 24 comments Don't get me wrong, Shakespeare's Richard III is good entertainment as long as not taken as gospel.


message 8: by Old-Barbarossa (last edited Aug 28, 2010 06:07AM) (new)

Old-Barbarossa Owen wrote: "Don't get me wrong, Shakespeare's Richard III is good entertainment as long as not taken as gospel."

Aye, but look at Macbeth...great stuff. Braveheart...pish. OK, not about the same events but neither too accurate, one just a wee bit better...OK...orders of magnitude better.


message 9: by Owen (last edited Aug 28, 2010 06:13AM) (new)

Owen (RoxiesGrandad) | 24 comments Macbeth I would say is one of Shakespeare's more imaginative plays, and all the better for it. The witches, their prophesies, and how they were made to work, with Birnam Wood coming to Dunsinane and Macduff from his mother's womb untimely ripped is sheer genius. Forget history, this is a masterpiece.


message 10: by Brian (last edited Sep 02, 2010 10:32AM) (new)

Brian (brianwainwright) | 12 comments It's hard to get an objective read on the Wars of the Roses as most authors take sides, mostly not unconsciously. Sharon Penman's novel is the one to beat in fiction, but be aware it is very pro-Richard III and there are other narratives. If you want plain history a good start are Charles Ross's Edward IV and Richard III, the latter being quite anti-Richard. I also recommend _The End of The House of Lancaster_ by R L Storey as it gives a good understanding of how the wars started.
Of course there are legions of other books on the subject. The American Branch of the Richard III Society has a useful bibliography on their website, although I doubt it's complete. Relevant new works appear almost every week and it's really a question of where to start, as some are very specialised.


message 11: by Ren (new)

Ren (flowersdaily) | 2 comments Owen - couldn't agree with you more - SKPenman is wonderful and I share her belief that RIII was demonized by Skspre and those after him. Love the way she writes and I own many of her books in my library! She also has a really wonderful trilogy about Wales, Llewellyn, King John and her books on Henry II and Eleanor are fabulous as well! She is one of my favorites!


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