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Descriptions of two important Ricardian books….

Here’s how Kent County Council describes the two important Ricardian books.

https://erl.overdrive.com/media/1389033

Richard III:A Small Guide to the Great Debate by Annette Carson

“Ever since the discovery of his lost grave in Leicester, the eyes of the world have been drawn to the twists and turns surrounding England’s King Richard III… Annette Carson, acclaimed author and expert on Richard’s reign (and one of the team who found him), has published A Small Guide to the Great Debate, a brief summary of the main arguments concerning his actions and reputation. Carson has researched and written extensively on Richard III. Her book Richard III: The Maligned King (The History Press, 2008) was revised in 2013 and sold out within 3 months. The print edition of A Small Guide was published on 1 July this year and is already stocked, in hundreds, by visitors’ centres at Leicester, Bosworth Battlefield and elsewhere. Written as a succinct, straightforward summary of the facts, this short handbook outlines how King Richard came to be portrayed as a monster-villain by the Tudors, and how a backlash in later centuries created the ‘Great Debate’ over his reputation, which still rages today. It also analyses the mystery of the ‘Princes in the Tower’, examining what people actually said and did at the time of their disappearance, and who profited from their removal. The book sets out all the main theories and arguments, together with their strengths and weaknesses, in a non-scholarly style, without imposing judgements and conclusions. An invaluable reference resource, it invites readers to weigh up the evidence and make up their own minds. Recommended for anyone interested in Richard III, for libraries and also as a reference for the media, A Small Guide sticks to the verifiable facts while offering insights you won’t find in conventional history books.”
https://kent.overdrive.com/media/1241128

The Last Days of Richard III and the fate of his DNA by John Ashdown-Hill

“The Last Days of Richard III contains a new and uniquely detailed exploration of Richard’s last 150 days. By deliberately avoiding the hindsight knowledge that he will lose the Battle of Bosworth Field, we discover a new Richard: no passive victim, awaiting defeat and death, but a king actively pursuing his own agenda. It also re-examines the aftermath of Bosworth: the treatment of Richard’s body; his burial; and the construction of his tomb. And there is a fascinating story of why, and how, Richard III’s family tree was traced until a relative was found, alive and well, in Canada. Now, with the discovery of Richard’s skeleton at the Greyfriars Priory in Leicester, England, John Ashdown-Hill explains how his book inspired the dig and completes Richard III’s fascinating story, giving details of how Richard died, and how the DNA link to aliving relative of the king allowed the royal body to be identified.”

New Book Released About ‘Dickon’!

I and my friend, Susan Lamb, have just released our first (but hopefully not last) collaboration, ‘Dickon’s Diaries’ – a collection of anecdotes from our favourite king about his life in ‘Muddleham’ with Anne, his ‘quene’, and his ‘loyalle servaunt’, Lovell. It is based on the popular Facebook page, ‘Dickon for his Dames’, but is 95 percent new material and takes the form of a diary recounting humorous anecdotes and scrapes that he, Anne and Lovell (mainly Lovell) get into while living part in mediaeval times and yet interacting with modern technology.

Dickon is very popular with his ‘Dames’, who tend to swoon when in his presence and try their utmost to get closer to him. He finds some technology – his boxe of movyng pictures, YeBay and his boxe of coloured lights very helpful, but others are a problem, such as his ‘pingyng flashbox’ by which he sends texts to Lovell to remind him to fetch Jaffa Cakes from Tess-co.

If you would like to see some examples of the type of humour, ‘like’ our page, ‘Dickon for his Dames’ and take a look. Or ‘Look inside’ on Amazon by clicking on the picture below:

Cover of 'Dickon's Diaries'

 

More blinkered traditionalist mumbling about Richard….

religious-life-of-riii

I quote” “This controversial study argues that although Richard was indeed guilty of, or implicated in, most, if not all of the crimes of which he has been accused, this ruthless, inscrutable man was also very religious, an austere practitioner of a chivalrous code of ethics, a public benefactor and protector of the Church, a founder of chantries and a follower of a strict, puritanical code of sexual morality. He emerges in part a conventional figure of his time, but also, in part, a very unusual, little-understood man, as compelling and yet more complex than Shakespeare’s mythical anti-hero…”

The quote above, by the author Jonathan Hughes, appears to tell you all you need to know about the book in question. “The Religious Life of Richard III”, published 2000, is yet another wearisome and unsuccessful attempt to meld the myth with the truth. The author wants to believe all the bad things about Richard, but then comes up against the quandary of what to make of the few actual facts he’s prepared to face. The two viewpoints just will not meld, I fear.

The facts point to Richard being the very opposite of the remorseless, conscienceless tyrant the traditionalists insist upon. So Hughes concludes, conveniently, that Richard was an even more complex man than Shakespeare’s monster. Why not just concede that Richard III was an honest man who was forced into a situation that eventually cost him his life. He adhered to the law and did everything that was right, and if he chopped off a few heads, their owners well deserved it! He was a good king who would have been great. Instead his memory has been ‘got at’ relentlessly for centuries. Until now!

We’re on to these numbnuts! One day, they will be seen for the utter fools they are, digging a hole that is slowly getting deeper. One day it will collapse upon them. And serves them right.

So, Mr Hughes, you’ll have to forget all the gruesome murders and other lies cooked up by the Tudors, More, Morton and Shakespeare, and just accept what your own research has clearly indicated. Take off that blindfold! Richard III was a far better man than Henry VII, but was hideously murdered through treachery.

Brat Farrar

Josephine Tey’s novel Brat Farrar is widely perceived as having been based on the Victorian Tichborne case where a well-upholstered Australia-based butcher’s son posed as the missing claimant to a baronetcy. Arthur Orton/ Castro persuaded Roger Tichborne’s mother that he was the heir to the title, but very few others and lost his court casesbratfarrar.

In a book serialised by BBC1 in 1986, in their classic “Sunday teatime literature slot”, Tey makes some of the Ashby family circumstances different and introduces an interesting psychological feature: Simon knows that Farrar cannot be his elder twin, Patrick, because … but we won’t spoil the ending for those who have not yet read it. This frequently occurs in great literature and Rattigan, for example, plays with the facts of George Archer-Shee’s postal order problems at Dartmouth Naval College in The Winslow Boy.

Is Tey implying something more? We all know that she also wrote The Daughter of Time, in which she employs the device of a fictional mid-C20 policeman to explore the facts about the “Princes”. Is Brat Farrar, written two years earlier, a previous attempt at this objective. Is Patrick actually the younger “Prince” (or a combination of both) and is Simon his, or their, brother-in-law? It is more than sixty years too late to ask Tey but perhaps she wrote about it somewhere, privately.

The Private life of Edward IV, by John Ashdown-Hill….

There are some very gooNed Fourd biographies of Edward IV, by the likes of Pollard, Ross, Kleinke and Santiuste but surely none have tracked his movements, sometimes month by month, like this book does. This is not a full biography and it does not claim to be, but focuses on Edward’s romantic life – his known partners including his legal wife, Lady Eleanor Talbot, Henry Duke of Somerset (!), Elizabeth Lambert and Elizabeth Woodville, as well as the more … elusive … ones.

Edward had other children, apart from those born to Elizabeth Woodville, and Ashdown-Hill tries to identify their mothers. Two of these children were Lady Lumley and Arthur Wayte.

Having devoted much of his nine previous books to explaining the context of the Three Estates offering the throne to Richard, Duke of Gloucester, the writer now goes further into the mystery of “Princes” through an excellent appendix by Glenn Moran, which takes their female line forward to a lady who died earlier this year. It also encompasses the complication of someone who definitely ended his life in the Tower about sixty years later and whose mtDNA would almost certainly be identical.

Together with this discovery, we know somewhere else that Edward V and his remaining brother cannot be found. It seems that we only have to wait for the urn to be accessible to determine its contents, one way or the other.

Usurpers? ALL of them…?

Well, all of them except Richard II. The following are extracts from the Introduction to Anthony Steel’s 1941 biography of Richard II. I think it is a very succinct and interesting description of the right to the throne of all the kings of England from Richard II to Henry VII. However… (see my comments at the end of this article)

“…The reign of Richard II marks in many respects the culminating point in English medieval history. If Henry VII was, as has been claimed for him, the last of the medieval kings of England, Richard II was the last of the old order, the last king ruling by hereditary right, direct and undisputed, from the Conqueror…” 

“…After his [Richard II’s] violent deposition in 1399 nothing could ever be quite the same again: it was the end of an epoch. Medieval divine right lay dead, smothered in Pontefract castle, and the kings of the next hundred and ten years, medieval as they were in many respects and desperately as they tried to drag together the shredded rags of legitimacy, were essentially kings de facto, not de jure, successful usurpers recognized after the event, upon conditions, by their fellow-magnates or by parliament. Even Henry V, perhaps the strongest and the most medieval of the series, depended for five-sixths of his revenue on the goodwill of his subjects, and could never quite live down the dubiety of his father’s title and the precedent of unfortunate concessions exacted from his father’s weakness…” 

“…It is true that the effective precedent afforded by the events of 1399 was for at least a century or two no more than a precedent of usurpation and that the Lancastrian parliamentary title was in the main imposed on those reluctant sovereigns after the event. Even Henry IV (and how much more Edward IV and Henry VII) owed the throne not to the sovereign will of the English people, expressing itself through a representative assembly, but effectively to conquest, to some dim pretence of hereditary right and above all to the support of a few wealthy and powerful individuals and the vague fears of the propertied classes in general. All were saviours of society, in the limited medieval sense, against a threatened spoliation or, worse, disintegration. But with the gradual perfecting of the bureaucratic and remorseless Tudor machine of government [it all changed]…” 

Maybe Richard II was indeed the last of the old order, but in my opinion the king guilty of meddling with the true hereditary descent was Edward III, who shortly before his death apparently gave in to Lancastrian pressure and signed a document that declared the crown could not descend through the female line. This meant that the junior House of Lancaster took precedence over the senior House of Clarence/Mortimer. Why? Because although the latter descended through Edward’s second son, Lionel, Duke of Clarence, it was through the female line.  Lancaster was through the third son, but through the male line.

So, although Henry IV usurped Richard’s II’s throne, he did it with what would, apparently, have been his grandfather’s blessing. Well, perhaps not entirely, for I doubt the old king would have gone along with the ‘let’s kill Richard II’ aspect.

Herein lay the origin of the Wars of the Roses, the House of York tracing its descent through the line of Son Number Two, Lionel, Duke of Clarence, and Lancaster through the line of Son Number Three, John of Gaunt.

It is only within the last year or so that it has been decided that from now on the Crown can pass through the female line with equal right as the male. How many centuries?

But anyway, the above extracts are interesting and very clearly put. After Richard II, they were ALL usurpers. Correct?

Hmm. To my mind, the accession of Edward IV righted the great wrongs done by Edward III and then Henry IV. The kings of the House of York were indeed the true hereditary heirs to the throne of England. Opinions please…?

A great review of Henry III: Son of Magna Carta.

https://mattlewisauthor.wordpress.com/2016/11/24/book-review-henry-iii-son-of-magna-carta-by-matthew-lewis/

‘Blood Sisters’: A Review of Seven Royal lives

Giaconda's Blog

Sarah Gristwood’s book, ‘Blood Sisters’ looks at the lives and reputations of seven key women who lived through the tumultuous and deadly years of the ‘Cousins War’ in C15th England and who changed the course of our national story by their actions.

I particularly wanted to read this book because women are so often side-lined or underestimated when it comes to the re-telling of events, yet were as much the ‘glue’ that held society together then as they are now. Their efforts, devotion, ambition, desires and fears had as much impact on the lives of their family members and the wider course of events as their male counterparts yet many historians continue to portray these women as ciphers or subsidiary characters in events.

Historians can also continue to be unduly influenced by the contemporary accounts of infamy or notoriety which have become attached to these women and which have slewed…

View original post 4,342 more words

A book to be approached with caution if one supports Richard III….

richard-pitts

The link below is to a review of Mike Pitts ‘Digging for Richard III – the Search for the Lost King’. I confess up front to not having read the book itself, and my reason is simple. The review tells me how Richard himself is referred to in the book. The usual Shakespearean invention. I will not pay money in order to be angered. For all I know it may be excellent in every other respect, but once a Ricardian, always a Ricardian. This lady’s not for turning.

I leave it to others to make up their own minds.

Book review: ‘Digging For Richard III: The Search for the Lost King,’ by Mike Pitts

 

Truth really is the daughter of time – and so it should be for a king like Richard III….!

554px-The_death_of_Richard_III_at_Bosworth

The sad events in the immediate aftermath of Bosworth are well known to us all, and are not always illustrated with any kindness to the murdered Richard III, but somehow, this one from the 18th century does him no disservice. He is shown as a young man, not ill-formed, and seems to be carried with reasonable dignity, given the circumstances.

Nor does the article from which it is taken do him any disservice, but sets out the facts, balancing Josephine Tey’s matchless fiction/non-fiction work, The Daughter of Time, against the truthless writings of More and Shakespeare. Richard emerges victorious, thanks to the justice of the daughter of time. She stayed her hand for many centuries, but at last the truth is emerging for all to see.

I recommend this article. It is a very enjoyable read for everyone who knows what a truly awful deal history apportioned to Richard. It will also be an enjoyable read for those who do not know the truth, but have blithely accepted what More, Shakespeare and their Tudor masters have dished out for far too long.

http://morristowngreen.com/2016/08/30/richard-iii-villain-or-victim-shakespeare-theatre-and-acclaimed-book-paint-different-pictures/

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