The Wars of the Roses: Politics and the Constitution in England, c.1437-1509 / Edition 1 available in Paperback
- Pub. Date:
- Cambridge University Press
The Wars of the Roses was a period of major crisis in English politics and in the lives of the English landowning classes. This book attempts to explain why the Wars occurred, and with what results, by placing them in the context of the ruling classes' expectations of kingship and governance at that time. The book draws on a large amount of detailed work written over the past twenty-five years on local and national politics, to present a coherent synthesis of what can seem a baffling and incoherent period.
Table of ContentsIntroduction; 1. Sources and historiography; 2. The governance of England in the fifteenth century (i); 3. The governance of England in the fifteenth century (ii); 4. The Lancastrian kings to c. 1437; 5. Henry VI's adult rule: the first phase c. 1437-50; 6. The road to war: 1450-55; 7. The end of Lancastrian rule: 1455-61; 8. Edward IV's first reign: 1461-71; 9. The triumph of York: 1471-83; 10. Richard III and the end of Yorkist rule: 1483-5; 11. Henry VII and the end of the wars: 1485-1509; 12. Conclusions; Bibliographical notes.
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The Wars of the Roses: Politics and the Constitution in England, C. 1437-1509 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
I am not sure where to start with this book.... The topic is something I am interested in, the style is readable enough... and yet I needed a pause after every chapter - and sometimes even more often. Yes - the book is written in 1997 so it cannot be using the latest research but still could have used a lot from the Tudors research. In case you wonder why Tudors in a book for the Wars of the Roses, read ahead.The author admits that she is a medieval scholar (so the Wars of the Roses are at the end of her period) and she makes a case that Henry VII should really be evaluated not just by Tudors scholars but by medieval ones as well. That's a fair enough statement and one that most people that know anything about the Tudors would agree with. The problem though is that Henry VII cannot be viewed only as a medieval ones - because of the way he got the throne and all that happened during the Wars of the Roses, things had changed. And the author fails to account for that. It almost sounds as an agenda: "Henry VII is for the medievalists so don't use anything that the Tudor scholars had found".The book (or textbook because technically it is a textbook) is attempting to cover the Wars of the Roses in a way that includes the reasons for them and their immediate aftermath. Which is a good idea and this is what made me get the book. The problem is that the author comes into it with her own pre-conceptions and ideas and bends the facts when they do not suit her. At least it is very easy to write a summary of the book; "Henry VI did not do anything and has no responsibility for anything, the last pre-Tudor kings (and mainly Henry V and Edward IV built the modern monarchy and Henry VII really did not do anything right". A bit simplified but... that is what the main thread seemed to be.My other trouble with the book was the audience. It is not written for someone that has no deep knowledge of the periods already (plural - because for most people Henry V, the Wars of the Roses and Henry VII are three very distinctive periods). At the same time, the book does not say anything new - besides an alleged new look at the old facts that fails miserably as soon as you actually try to to follow it. A simple example: the author listing the fines on some of the nobility in a decade. The list spreads through the whole decade... but just a handful pages later, she argues that by the end of that decade, the circumstances had changed and the fines are imposed differently... at which points you start wondering why the examples of the end of the decade are used in the first example AND used to prove a point for earlier in the decade. Add to that the strange tendency to cross-reference the future pages -- if I am on page 24, why should I be sent to read page 27 (and yes - sometimes it is just a few pages) - I can understand looking backward but looking forward? It's annoying and unnecessary -- and it happens a lot.What saves the book (somewhat) is that there are a lot of facts that are there -- buried under the strange logical chains. So if you know the period, it is just frustrating... In short - I would not recommend the book - unless if you have a pretty good grasp of the periods and you are looking for another opinion. But even in this case, take almost anything with a grain of salt...