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Fatal Rivalry, Flodden 1513: Henry VIII,…
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Fatal Rivalry, Flodden 1513: Henry VIII, James IV and the battle for… (original 2013; edition 2014)

by George Goodwin (Author)

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Member:JohnBrunlees
Title:Fatal Rivalry, Flodden 1513: Henry VIII, James IV and the battle for Renaissance Britain
Authors:George Goodwin (Author)
Info:Phoenix (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ) (2014)
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Fatal Rivalry: Flodden, 1513: Henry VIII and James IV and the Decisive Battle for Renaissance Britain by George Goodwin (2013)

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This book takes a long view of the battle of Flodden, with some review of Anglo-Scottish relations going back to the foundation of the two nations, and discussing in more detail the reign of Henry VII of England the whole reign of James IV of Scotland and the reign of Henry VIII iof England up to 1513, The book is notable for its positive focus on James IV, seen as Scotland's greatest medieval king, the first to effectively unite all of Scotland (by gaining control of the western isles) and presiding over a brilliant renaissance court (Chesterton's line that Scotland had the reformation without the renaissance is amply disproved). He strongly rejects the view (held by most Scottish historians from the 16th to the 19th century) that James was rash to fight the battle. He admits that James could have gone home without battle after having already fought a highly successful campaign, taking and destroying nearly all the major English border forts. but he argues James had realistic reasons to believe he could in the battle, and that he would have done so if the ground where his pikemen advanced had not been so soggy --a factor Goodwin says James cold not have seen from his command post before the advance. I think myself that he would have been wiser to avoid battle, which even then was regarded as notoriously subject to fortune, but it is fair to say he had more and arguably better soldiers and better artillery than the English. My views may be influenced by the act that I have loved Walter Scotts Marmion from my youth, with the Scottish hero defying the ghostly summons that called the king and his nobles to their deaths from the high cross at Edinburgh (and episode Goodwin rejects as a myth). ( )
  antiquary | Apr 7, 2017 |
A very readable slice of history which is subtitled Henry VIII, James IV and the battle for Renaissance Britain. Goodwin has the idea of comparing and contrasting the two kings in an age when ideas from the Italian renaissance had seeped into the culture of both England and Scotland.

Goodwin rolls back the period to 1496 when Henry VII was on the throne in England and James IV had established himself as king of Scotland. James had given refuge to Perkin Warbeck a Yorkist pretender to the English throne and it was a time of tit for tat raids across the Border. Warbeck was never able to mount a serious challenge and James did little more than provide him a refuge and lend him a ship. Warwick was eventually captured and hanged at Tyburn in 1499. Meanwhile Henry VII was negotiating with James IV a treaty of perpetual peace which was finally signed in 1503. From then until its breakdown in 1513 the treaty held and Goodwin fills in the details of James IV achievements in uniting the Scottish clans and making himself their undisputed king. He also tells the background history of the major players on the continent: France, the Holy Roman Emperor and the Pope and how they influenced the two kingdoms on the British Isles.

When Henry VIII came to the English throne in 1509 he had a lot of catching up to do to surpass the renaissance court of James IV. In his younger days he saw himself as a warrior king and it was not long before he was planning an invasion of France and was sparking off an arms race in ship building. The irony of comparing the two kings was that when the battle of Flodden was fought Henry was in France leading an invasion force, while James IV was leading his country on the battlefield in Northern England. Henry had left the control of the government in the capable hands of his first wife Catherine of Aragon and it was she who organised the war effort against the Scots. Her commander in the field was Thomas Howard earl of Surrey who was smarting at not being with the king in France. The traditional catholic Howard family were being eclipsed in the Tudor court and Thomas Howard and his son also Thomas Howard (referred to as the admiral in the text) were desperate to prove themselves. They had to win against the Scots to secure their family in England.

Goodwins background to the battle is impressive taking up nearly two thirds of his book and when the war eventually comes he does an equally excellent job in the lead up to Flodden and then describing the battle itself. The opposing armies were fairly equally matched and James started off with many advantages in that he had prepared his position well and had at his disposal (so he thought) the more effective artillery. Goodwin does an excellent job in describing why he came unstuck and his previous background history goes a long way in backing up his arguments.

The book has plenty of notes a good bibliography and index. It also contains an interesting chapter on a select list of Flodden related organisations and places to visit, all of which points to the book being aimed at the more general reader. I am not tempted to visit the battlefield or become involved in the Flodden Archeological 500 project, but its kinda nice know they are their. A very enjoyable read and a four star history ( )
2 vote baswood | Jul 3, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393073688, Hardcover)

Flodden 1513: the biggest and bloodiest Anglo-Scottish battle. Its causes spanned many centuries; its consequences were as extraordinary as the battle itself.

On September 9, 1513, the vicious rivalry between the young Henry VIII of England and his charismatic brother-in-law, James IV of Scotland, ended in violence at Flodden Field in the north of England. It was the inevitable climax to years of mounting personal and political tension through which James bravely asserted Scotland’s independence and Henry demanded its obedience.

In Fatal Rivalry, George Goodwin, the best-selling author of Fatal Colours, captures the vibrant Renaissance splendor of the royal courts of England and Scotland, with their unprecedented wealth, innovation, and artistic expression. He shows how the wily Henry VII, far from the miser king of tradition, spent vast sums to secure his throne and elevate the monarchy to a new standard of magnificence among the courts of Europe. He demonstrates how James IV competed with the elder Henry, even claiming that Arthurian legend supported a separate Scottish identity. Such rivalry served as a substitute for war—until Henry VIII’s belligerence forced the real thing.

As England and Scotland scheme toward their biggest-ever battle, Goodwin deploys a fascinating and treacherous cast of characters: maneuvering ministers, cynical foreign allies, conspiring cardinals, and contrasting queens in Katherine of Aragon and Margaret Tudor.

Finally, at Flodden on September 9, 1513, King James seems poised for the crushing victory that will confirm him as Scotland’s greatest king and—if an old military foe proves unable to stop him—put all of Britain in his grasp.

Five hundred years after this decisive battle, Fatal Rivalry combines original sources and modern scholarship to re-create the royal drama, the military might, and the world in transition that created this bitter conflict.

8 pages of color; 8 pages black-and-white illustrations

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:46 -0400)

In Fatal Rivalry, George Goodwin, captures the vibrant Renaissance splendor of the royal courts of England and Scotland, with their unprecedented wealth, innovation, and artistic expression. He shows how the wily Henry VII, far from the miser king of tradition, spent vast sums to secure his throne and elevate the monarchy to a new standard of magnificence among the courts of Europe. He demonstrates how James IV competed with the elder Henry, even claiming that Arthurian legend supported a separate Scottish identity.… (more)

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