Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Some Nonfiction for Your Reading Pleasure

The other day I tried to post some of my favorite Richard III-related reads in the sidebar, but Blogger was in a mood. So as I'm pressed for time but wanted to keep the blog active, I'll mention just a few of my favorite nonfiction books on Richard III here:

A. J. Pollard, Richard III and the Princes in the Tower. Beautifully illustrated and written in a lively style, this is a fair-minded assessment of the king and his actions.

Charles Ross, Richard III. A thorough biography of Richard III.

Louise Gill, Richard III and Buckingham's Rebellion. An account of the rebellion against Richard and those involved in it; covers the rest of Richard III's reign as well.

Rosemary Horrox, Richard III: A Study in Service. Richard III's reign is examined through a look at the men who served him--and those who turned against him.

Anne Crawford, The Yorkists. A brief but absorbing look at the dynasty from Richard, Duke of York to Elizabeth of York.

J. L. Laynesmith, The Last Medieval Queens. Lots of interesting tibits about the households of Margaret of Anjou, Elizabeth Woodville, Anne Neville, and Elizabeth of York.

John Gillingham, The Wars of the Roses. An excellent short history of the conflict.

Desmond Seward, The Wars of the Roses Through the Lives of Five Men and Women of the Fifteenth Century. Seward focuses on William Hastings, John de Vere, Earl of Oxford, Margaret Beaufort, John Morton, and Jane Shore--a fascinatingly mixed bag.

I haven't listed Paul Murray Kendall's biography of Richard III. It's compellingly written, but it's very romanticized and ignores or minimizes unsavory episodes in Richard III's life such as his treatment of the widowed, elderly Countess of Oxford. Some issues of genuine importance, such as whether the pre-contract story was true or a fabrication by Richard III and his supporters, are relegated to footnotes, and the mystery of the Princes is confined to an appendix, albeit a long and prominent one. It also makes no pretense of objectivity in dealing with Elizabeth Woodville, who's clearly the villain of the piece. Worth a read, but not as the only book one reads about Richard III.

1 comment:

Daphne said...

I have the Gillingham book (I think I got it really cheap from bookcloseouts) but haven't read it yet. Glad to hear it is a good one!