Sunday, 8 August 2010

Yet another double-duty posting

The Princes in the TowerThe Princes in the Tower by Alison Weir

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I am not, nor have I ever been, a member of the Richard III Society. My husband was: I bought a membership for him as a birthday present, and he occasionally wears a sweatshirt with the White Boar emblazoned across it. He remains a staunch Ricardian (and a champion of James I, the subject of his thesis for his Honours History).

This book would drive him crazy. I had never heard of Alison Weir; she seems to be a prolific writer. She pretty much agrees with Shakespeare's portrayal of Richard, opening her book with two quotes from his Richard III. She sets out her evidence, relying heavily on primary sources, in a readable way, but every time she makes a sweeping statement, I find myself muttering "Wait a minute! How does this prove anything?" This isn't the sort of feeling one should keep confronting while reading a history book, is it?

I don't have strong feelings pro or con for Richard of York, but I have spent the past year in particular with books by other historians on other topics, including Ian Mortimer and Elizabeth Longford. If I'm going to read a book about who murdered the little princes in the Tower, I think I'd feel more confident somehow with the work and research of one of them.

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