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The Wars of the Roses: England's First Civil…

The Wars of the Roses: England's First Civil War

by Trevor Royle

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Read after watching BBC "The Hollow Crown" . Where those images weren't with me (the later parts) or the fairly familiar Richard III, it was hard to follow. Bedford fights Oxford then changes sides and joins Pembroke and they deploy in Essex, etc. Even the list of people helpfully supplied at the back is tough; e.g., there are three Earls of Warwick of different generations, and they acquire different titles as they move up and down the scale. Similar problems in Royle's book on the Civil War tho here the changing of sides is more frequent and we cover a century in a single volume so we don't' really get to know any individual for long. Mcpherson on the US Civi War is easier to follow, but that is just 4 years in a book twice as long. Also a fair bit about goings on in Scotland, Ireland, France, Burgundy, Savoy et al and the focus gets really fuzzy. Sometimes he throws in just too much detail (who they married, what they did in exile, how they patronised the arts, etc) and with the occasional repetition thrown in. intriguing point is a contemporary comment that England has a more balanced setup than France because of the king's need to call on Parliament for taxes; so a precursor of constitutional monarchy in contrast to absolutist France. As a parallel to Hollow Crown, however, it is enlightening; so much of Shakespeare is historically accurate - we tend to hear more about his distortions.- even Hal borrowing the crown is mentioned in the chronicles, not a dramatist's device. ( )
  vguy | Aug 1, 2012 |
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The definitive account of one of the bloodiest episodes in British history ? wars between the houses of York and Lancaster. Trevor Royle provides a military history of the Wars while placing the conflict in the context of the time. This was a period with a rich legacy: William Caxton introduced the art of printing; there was a growing body of literature, such as Chaucer, in the English tongue; architecture flourished and great educational institutions were born such as Winchester School and King's College, Cambridge.… (more)

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