Lancater and York is a riveting account of the Wars of the Roses, from the beloved and best-selling historian Alison Weir. The war between the houses of Lancaster and York was characterised by treachery, deceit, and bloody battles. Alison Weir's lucid and gripping account focuses on the human side of history. At the centre of the book stands Henry VI, the pious king whose mental instability led to political chaos, and his wife Margaret of Anjou, who took up her arms in her husband's cause and battled in a violent man's world.
©1995 Alison Weir (P)2012 W F Howes Ltd
The War of the Roses is a complex period of English history, but I felt that this book made it much more interesting and brought the characters to life. There's a lot of historical detail and many characters to keep track of, but I found it an engaging story. I knew the bare bones of the conflict, but learned a lot from this book. If you like history, you'll enjoy the book. The reader is good.
This book offers the best type of history: one that tells a gripping story while shedding ample light on both power politics and human nature. The author starts by apologising for taking a personality-centric stance, but there’s no need to worry. You do form a presumably accurate picture of the doltish Henry VI, the rakish Edward IV, the frustrated turncoat Warwick, and the monster that was Margaret of Anjou; but the characters are part and parcel of a narrative that, after some stage-setting, keeps driving forward. The only negative is hardly Weir’s fault: the Lancastrian and Yorkist treachery and savagery were so unremitting that you may end up begging for peace to break out.
My only disappointment was that, this book having been written as a prequel to Weir’s earlier ‘The Princes in the Tower’, the story stops short of Richard III and Bosworth Field. Hence it feels like a Shakespeare tragedy minus the final act – so you really have to buy the other book too. She writes so fluently and clearly, however, that I was happy to forgive her. You just wish someone had told her that ‘prevaricate’ does not mean ‘procrastinate’ - a much repeated mistake.
Maggie Mash reads intelligently, and even knows (refreshingly) how to pronounce foreign names, albeit not the word ‘propaganda’. It was certainly brave (or foolhardy) to read all quotes in a modern version of the original accent. She only really goes wrong when apeing men, who all sound as though they have a sore throat; and one medieval bigwig comes across like a well-oiled Victorian judge.
Overall, another example of a book I’d never have bought in hardback, but that Audible turns into an excellent listening experience.
The content is interesting but the narrator is annoying when she does the silly voices all the time. It really breaks the pace
This is a well researched book.Full of lots of detail which helps to bring it to life.Generally I found it enjoyable,the only little niggle is Maggie Mashs' habit of using accents on every quote and it has 1 or 2 boring bits.But still informative and interesting otherwise.
The only downside with this book is its length - it's a bit of an endurance test, as the author has to reach back to the period of Richard 2nd (near 60 years before the Wars of the Roses started) to set the essential background. But once you get into the central theme of the political intrigues surrounding the reign of Henry 6th you will find yourself wanting to know what happens next (and it's usually another battle of some new act of treachery and betrayal - all great stuff !).
I bought this book because I am familiar with Shakespeare's history plays and wanted to find out more about the events of the Wars of the Roses. The book is well reasearched, full of detail and covers the period of the plays between Richard II and the end of Henry VI Part 3. It tells very clearly the gripping history of the period and the story of the vivid characters such as Queen Margaret of Anjou and Warwick the Kingmaker.
My one quibble is the same as that of a previous reviewer. The narrator is generally excellent, but I found the use of accents and voices for the quotes overdone (Allo', Allo' sometimes sprang to mind!).
I would particularly recommend this book to anyone with a knowledge of Shakespeare's history plays, particularly the Henry VI trilogy. It will enrich your enjoyment of the plays and the plays add resonance to the events narrated in the book.
Better narrator. The slow pace with too much "expression" and very bizarre accents whenever reporting speech were so irritating I have not been able to finish even the first volume
Alison Weir's other books which I have enjoyed
Left it entire, it's a fascinating story
Very disappointing - I had been looking forward to a long read about a period of which I know little.
History lover, Amateur dramatic and tea drinker.
It's an excellent book that gives a full grounding on the conflict, it's obscure causes and it's fatal (for the plantagenets) end.
The results of Edward IV's misalliance with his commoner Queen, the splintering away of the Neville faction, the redeption government and Edward IV's landing in ravenspur.
Probably obscure but the various ambassadors and visiting dignitaries.
The slaying of a hart, the rising of esses,will crown falcon
Set in a period of conflict, the wars of the roses is a detailed account of the rival claimants to the throne of England. Descendants of Edward iii all claimed to be the rightful ruler but in the end only one victor remained, the tudors. Truly gripping to read.
I cannot say I really 'enjoyed' this book, .and in fact I didn't actually manage to finish it as it had become something of a chore. I love history I really do, but I felt this book was just a collection of dates, quotes and research rearranged and passed on to the reader/listener. Actually I was almost waiting for the narrator to announce a test at the end of the book.
In fairness I had just finished a Philipa Gregory, and that was very very padded out, but enjoyable, but the description of this book made it sound a lot more interesting than it actually was. I also found that some of the information given in this book differed from the information that I had previously read on the same subject, so now I don't really know what to believe. Never mind I now have an excuse to buy yet another book on this subject.... Ah happy days!
"Medieval Murder and Mayhem"
The time before the Tudors has always confused me - its a turbulent history of different dynasties deposing kings and restorations, of genealogies and bloody battles. The Tower of London the main prison at that time almost had a revolving door on it!
It intrigued me but remained confused - not so after Alison Weir's book. I was riveted and hung on every sentence as the political ambitions were explained as were why and how thing happened in the sequence they did. Weir obviously did extensive research and it showed but not in a negative learned way but in precise and clear explanations.
My only criticisms were the annoying translation of pounds, shillings and pence into modern pounds and "pees" but leaving Marks and Livres totally untranslated to modern amounts and Maggie Mash's accents grated occasionally.
I recommend this book to those who love old English history and a jolly good tale of medieval murder and mayhem.
"Clear, engaging, and fascinating"
Alison Weir has that rare gift of making the convoluted and confusing seem clear and straightforward. She also brings various of the key personalities to life, reminding us that in this violent era,, it was as much people's foibles as glorious leadership, that forged countries.
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