Wednesday 17 November 2021

πŸ“– Book review ~ The Brothers York by Thomas Penn


My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book


It is 1461 and England is crippled by civil war. One freezing morning, a teenage boy wins a battle in the Welsh marches, and claims the crown. He is Edward IV, first king of the usurping house of York...

Thomas Penn's brilliant new telling of the wars of the roses takes us inside a conflict that fractured the nation for more than three decades. During this time, the house of York came to dominate England. At its heart were three charismatic brothers - Edward, George and Richard - who became the figureheads of a spectacular ruling dynasty. Together, they looked invincible..

But with Edward's ascendancy the brothers began to turn on one another, unleashing a catastrophic chain of rebellion, vendetta, fratricide, usurpation and regicide. The brutal end came at Bosworth Field in 1485, with the death of the youngest, then Richard III, at the hands of a new usurper, Henry Tudor.

The story of a warring family unable to sustain its influence and power, The Brothers York brings to life a dynasty that could have been as magnificent as the Tudors. Its tragedy was that, in the space of one generation, it destroyed itself.

πŸ“– My thoughts..

It's that time of year when I try to look back at some of the books which have lingered for far too long on my kindle and this non-fiction history book has been around for so long, it's high time it had a mention.

The Brothers York follows the fortunes of the three men who each had their eye on the crown of England. A real life Game of Thrones for three very different brothers who are inextricably linked through time and whose ambition would be their undoing. Edward IV, Clarence, Duke of York and Richard, Duke of Gloucester are expertly explored in this comprehensive look at what influenced their life, and times.

Beautifully detailed and alive with all the scheming and skulduggery we have come to expect from the War of the Roses this comprehensive work makes history accessible and whilst it seeks to give a detailed description it is also very readable and is something I have enjoyed dipping into and out of at whim.

I'm a Lancastrian by birth and had I been around in the fifteenth century I am sure I would have followed the red rose of Lancaster but I have long had a fascination for the white rose side of the Plantagenet dynasty and the Yorkists who did so much to shape the history of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. This book brings that history to life.

About the Author

Thomas Penn is publishing director at Penguin Books UK. He holds a PhD in medieval history from Clare College, Cambridge University, and writes for The Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, and the London Review of Books, among other publications. He is the author of The Brothers York and Winter King: Henry VII and the Dawn of Tudor England.

Twitter @PenguinBooksUK #TheBrothersYork #ThomasPenn

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