Richard III discussion

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Book Discussions > Richard III -- Paul Murray Kendall

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message 1: by MAP (new)

MAP | 181 comments Has anyone read the biography of Richard III by Kendall? I just got to the description of the coronation myself.

What do you think of it? Like it, hate it, find it accurate, think there are problems with the facts he presents? I'm too busy being upset that I don't have the "four b&w pictures" Goodreads swears my edition should have to focus on anything else at the moment.


message 2: by Ikonopeiston (last edited Jan 20, 2009 05:29PM) (new)

Ikonopeiston (Ikon) | 385 comments I have read it several times and find it both useful and engrossing. His take on the facts was challenged by Ross but I did not find any difficulties or obvious distortions like those which disfigured the biographies which came before his. His notes and appendices are very helpful. I read with one marker at the text and another at the footnotes for the relevant chapter. It is one of the most frequently consulted volumes on my Ricardian shelf.


message 3: by Susan (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) | 418 comments It's well written, but very one-sided (even for a biography), and he has an irritating habit of presenting speculation or imaginative re-creation as facts, as when he states that Elizabeth Woodville "knew well how to show her disdain toward the lad with the solemn face and awkward torso." Aside from the fact that we don't know what Richard's facial expression looked like when he was a boy, there's no evidence whatsover that Elizabeth treated Richard with disrespect or disdain when he was young. He also ignores entirely episodes that don't show Richard at his best, such as his treatment of the elderly Countess of Oxford. I much prefer Ross's or A. J. Pollard's books.


message 4: by MAP (new)

MAP | 181 comments "He also ignores entirely episodes that don't show Richard at his best, such as his treatment of the elderly Countess of Oxford."

Can you expand my knowledge of this incident? :)


message 5: by Susan (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) | 418 comments I did a piece about it here:

http://www.susanhigginbotham.com/ggg.htm


message 6: by Darkpool (new)

Darkpool | 91 comments I think this was the first non-fiction book I read about R3, so I feel my opinion of it is coloured by my experience of reading it while I was in the first throes of my interest in Richard. Intellectually I know that PMK is very pro-Richard, but emotionally I adore the obvious passion he has for his subject (passion not being something that I associated with historians back when I was in my late teens. I know better now.) It's like the memory of the start of a love affair.
If your edition is the same as mine, the plates your book is missing won't be anything you've not seen elsewhere MAP: Richard, Henry 6, Eddie 6, Margaret Beaufort, Liz Woodville and Henry 7, all from the National Portrait Gallery.


message 7: by Kim (new)

Kim | 2 comments This book too was one of the first that I read when my interest in R3 began, and I think my view has been colored by it a great deal, though I do try to keep my thoughts objective. It's an engrossing read -- it only took me a few days to get through it -- and an enjoyable one.

However, from an objective perspective, it is very one-sided. There are incidents from R3's life that are omitted -- Susan's linked essay above being one good example -- that would portray R3 in a less than good light. One of the books more irritating habits is to throw in those bits of imagination which are practically moments of historical fiction. Yes, we know of the rumors that R3 and Anne Neville's marriage was a love match, but as wonderful as that is, it didn't need to be so overly-romanticized.

Still, despite its flaws, PMK's rendition is an excellent read to get a fleshed-out view of R3's life. Then readers can move on to other books to get additional perspectives and see what PMK left out.


message 8: by Joan (new)

Joan Szechtman | 401 comments Even though this work is unbalanced, I like it for many reasons, not the least of which are the extensive notes and bibliography. If nothing else, it's a great place to start investigating Richard's life and for finding other resources that will balance the picture. Also, at the time he wrote it (1955) there was much less documentation available to the ordinary reader--someone like myself who wouldn't have access to historical documents such as Harleian MSS 433, Croyland, etc. Now, thanks to him and others who followed, these documents have become more accessible. Also, at the time, the general view of Richard III was the one Shakespeare created--hardly balanced or historical. Kendall at least challenged the demonic view popularly held.


message 9: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Willers | 54 comments I liked PMK book and his references and found his book an interesting read. His book is hardly on the book shelf and always close at hand and is well thumbed. He dated events and put across some interesting events that I was not aware of. I have felt that I had learned a great deal from his book. More so than any other that I have read.


message 10: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Willers | 54 comments I liked PMK book and his references and found his book an interesting read. His book is hardly on the book shelf and always close at hand and is well thumbed. He dated events and put across some interesting events that I was not aware of. I have felt that I had learned a great deal from his book. More so than any other that I have read.


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