A brilliant new interpretation of one of the most dramatic periods of British history. The Wars of the Roses didn't end at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. Despite the death of Richard III and Henry VII's victory, it continued underground into the following century with plots, pretenders and subterfuge by the ousted white rose faction. In a brand ...
A brilliant new interpretation of one of the most dramatic periods of British history. The Wars of the Roses didn't end at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. Despite the death of Richard III and Henry VII's victory, it continued underground into the following century with plots, pretenders and subterfuge by the ousted white rose faction. In a brand new interpretation of this turning point in history, well known historian Desmond Seward reviews the story of the Tudors' seizure of the throne and shows that for many years they were far from secure. He challenges the way we look at the reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII, explaining why there were so many Yorkist pretenders and conspiracies, and why the new dynasty had such difficulty establishing itself. King Richard's nephews, the Earl of Warwick and the little known de la Pole brothers, all had the support of dangerous enemies overseas, while England was split when the lowly Perkin Warbeck skilfully impersonated one of the princes in the tower in order to claim the right to the throne. Warwick's surviving sister Margaret also became the desperate focus of hopes that the White Rose would be reborn. The book also offers a new perspective on why Henry VIII, constantly threatened by treachery, real or imagined, and desperate to secure his power with a male heir, became a tyrant. Praise for Desmond Seward's A Brief History of the War of the Roses: 'It is hard to imagine a historian more in command of his subject...The result is history as compelling as any novel' Independent 'This is a splendidly and vividly written book.' Evening Standard A Brief History of the Hundred Years Wars: 'A well-written narrative, beautifully illustrated, and which takes into account most recent scholarship. It is also a good read.' Richard Cobb, New Statesman
The Last White Rose includes important information about Yorkist resistance to the Tudors, but its analysis relies too heavily on speculation: "perhaps," "probably," "must have," "it is likely," "almost certainly would have." Too bad, because this subject deserves additional, but objective, historical evaluation.
Seward's anti-Tudor bias shows throughout: Condemning the Tudors for gaining their throne through the sword, the author completely overlooks the fact that the "White Rose," too, won its crown through the sword (Towton, Tewkesbury). He cites Bacon's discredited history as proof of Henry VII's "antagonism" to Elizabeth Woodville and supposedly poor treatment of his queen (a claim contradicted by the king's Privy Purse expenditures). Seward also overemphasizes the "White Rose" resistance against Henry VIII, whose problems derived more directly from the king's break with Rome and the resultant religious battles over doctrine and power. The book is a slanted interpretation that discredits the author's extensive research.
Publishers Weekly, 2014-01-13 British historian Seward's long-awaited sequel to his critically acclaimed 1995 history of late medieval England, The Wars of the Roses and the Lives of Five Men and Women in the Fifteenth Century, is an intriguing addition to the growing body of revisionist Tudor history. Contrary to popular belief, the Wars of the Roses did not end after Henry Tudor defeated Richard III in 1485 and unified the Houses of York and Plantagenet by marrying Elizabeth of York. Seward argues that there was great insecurity, fear, and even paranoia behind the Tudor facade of stability, magnificence, and power. Throughout their reigns, both Henry VII and Henry VIII had to contend regularly with rebellions, conspiracies, and plots hatched both internally and abroad by those who sought to rid England of a dynasty that so many regarded as having little or no legitimate claim to the throne. The policy of both monarchs-to neutralize pretenders and rival claimants to the throne by imprisonment or other means-increasingly became one of elimination on the slightest pretext, including, in Henry VIII's later years, the execution of the elderly Margaret of Salisbury, for the crime of being the last White Rose. Seward delivers a scholarly yet engaging account of an era that continues to fascinate. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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