The Wars of the Roses Info
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Lancaster and York. For much of the fifteenth century, these two
families were locked in battle for control of the British monarchy.
Kings were murdered and deposed. Armies marched on London. Old noble
names were ruined while rising dynasties seized power and lands. The war
between the royal House of Lancaster and York, the longest and most
complex in British history, profoundly altered the course of the
monarchy. In The Wars of the Roses, Alison Weir reconstructs this
conflict with the same dramatic flair and impeccable research that she
brought to her highly praised The Princes in the Tower.
first battle erupted in 1455, but the roots of the conflict reached back
to the dawn of the fifteenth century, when the corrupt, hedonistic
Richard II was sadistically murdered, and Henry IV, the first
Lancastrian king, seized England's throne. Both Henry IV and his son,
the cold warrior Henry V, ruled England ably, if not always wisely--but
Henry VI proved a disaster, both for his dynasty and his kingdom. Only
nine months old when his father's sudden death made him king, Henry VI
became a tormented and pathetic figure, weak, sexually inept, and prey
to fits of insanity. The factional fighting that plagued his reign
escalated into bloody war when Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, laid
claim to the throne that was rightfully his--and backed up his claim
with armed might.
Alison Weir brings brilliantly to life both
the war itself and the historic figures who fought it on the great
stage of England. Here are the queens who changed history through their
actions--the chic, unconventional Katherine of Valois, Henry V's queen;
the ruthless, social-climbing Elizabeth Wydville; and, most crucially,
Margaret of Anjou, a far tougher and more powerful character than her
husband,, Henry VI, and a central figure in the Wars of the Roses.
Here, too, are the nobles who carried the conflict down through
the generations--the Beauforts, the bastard descendants of John of
Gaunt, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, known to his contemporaries as
"the Kingmaker"; and the Yorkist King, Edward IV, a ruthless
charmer who pledged his life to cause the downfall of the House of
The Wars of the Roses is history at its very
best--swift and compelling, rich in character, pageantry, and drama, and
vivid in its re-creation of an astonishing, dangerous, and often grim
period of history. Alison Weir, one of the foremost authorities on the
British royal family, demonstrates here that she is also one of the most
dazzling stylists writing history today.