The problem, in my honest opinion, is the way these facts were presented A lot of the things I ve read could ve been inserted as footnotes.
Maybe I ll give this another try one day, but I won t be wasting my time early this year on a book I was not enjoying even though the subject of The Princes in the Tower is something I grew up loving.
Giving this one a go despite Weir not being a favourite author of mine.
So, I ve finally finished this one If I was hoping for something at least semi objective, I was mistaken From the outset Weir lets you know firmly which camp her tent is pitched in and the book then follows this course What I find disconcerting is all her arguments against Richard III could equally be applied to Henry VII however I personally don t believe that she achieved this Weir sets out from the start with the aim of proving Richard s guilt without, I think, examining the role of the other protagonists.
Her arguments are based mainly on the works of Thomas More, whose work she freely admits contains much detail, though is erroneous when it comes to dates and names, and contains many eloquent speeches His work, she argues, must be believed because it was never intended for publication and as such is objective in its aim We are also told to believe in Tyrrell s confession because Henry VII made no use of it Tyrrell was in the service of both Richard III and Henry VII And we are to believe in Richard s guilt due to his silence on the fate of the princes something of which Henry VII himself was also guilty of silence, that is.
The chapter on the scientific forensic evidence is a mere four pages it rests solely on the evidence of bones belonging to children and a piece of velvet claimed only worn by the highest nobility Ergo juvenile bones and a scrap of rag equal incontrovertible proof.
I was not expecting much as I mentioned Weir is not my favourite author and this really maintains my belief A evenhanded approach would have been nice but who am I kidding.
Oh, and for all those Edward II buffs page 165 para 2 line 13 she should really proof read her work especially in relation to theories she has espoused in this area in the past.
Despite Five Centuries Of Investigation By Historians, The Sinister Deaths Of The Boy King Edward V And His Younger Brother Richard, Duke Of York, Remain Two Of The Most Fascinating Murder Mysteries In English History Did Richard III Really Kill The Princes in the Tower, As Is Commonly Believed, Or Was The Murderer Someone Else Entirely Carefully Examining Every Shred Of Contemporary Evidence As Well As Dozens Of Modern Accounts, Alison Weir Reconstructs The Entire Chain Of Events Leading To The Double Murder We Are Witnesses To The Rivalry, Ambition, Intrigue, And Struggle For Power That Culminated In The Imprisonment Of The Princes And The Hushed Up Murders That Secured Richard S Claim To The Throne As Richard III A Masterpiece Of Historical Research And A Riveting Story Of Conspiracy And Deception, The Princes in the Tower At Last Provides A Solution To This Age Old PuzzleLook For Special Features InsideJoin The Circle For Author Chats AndRandomHouseReadersCircle Interesting persepective, maybe it is true, maybe not Something still doesn t seem right to me I would like to find a book with Richard in a positive light Recommendations I m going to make a couple disclaimers right now If you think that Richard III is the best most misunderstood man to ever exist that he never did anything wrong, never had any ambition, and was most definitely not capable of violence or infidelity this book is not for you Move on Open another screen Re read The Sunne in Splendour for the fiftieth time because I ve heard that one is rather sympathetic, if fictional.
Further, I should probably add that although I share her opinion of Richard s guilt though my theory is of a probably than certainty I don t necessarily think that Alison Weir is the best historian When it comes to set in stone facts, she knows her stuff However, she is at the end of the day a popular historian vs an academic historian, and her personal opinions often bleed into her research The Princes in the Tower , though interesting and informative, is especially colored by Weir s opinions The Princes in the Tower features plenty of contemporary sources, and some popular ones that everyone should read about even if they don t necessarily agree with them Weir strongly believes that Richard III ordered the murders of his nephews I agree, though far less strongly You can feel her passion seeping off of the pages But that, as it so often does with Weir, corrupts the objectiveness of the book In fact, it s basically the opposite of objective, which endangers its credibility.
Really, The Princes in the Tower would have benefited from of a detached perspective on Richard s character, which is so arguable We don t know much about who the guy was Yet Weir seems to think that he would do the absolute worst thing in every situation without allowing that so often, what seems like the absolute worst thing to a modern audience actually wasn t so implausible to a fifteenth century politician Perhaps Richard was capable of murdering his nephews but did he really pick the most evil option every time just for the sake of being evil I also tend to think that it was quite possible that Richard considered marring his niece, Elizabeth of York Yet Weir backs the theory that Richard and Elizabeth had an affair with very little backing Her opinions weren t always completely implausible they just needed evidence She doesn t prove her case.
Nonetheless, the book gives a lot of interesting, unquestionable information that makes you wonder and do further research It s not a must read, and I tend to think that it s for someone who s already done a little research on the subject beforehand But if you re looking for a controversial opinion on Richard III and one that doesn t fawn over him as if he was the second coming it s definitely up your alley.
This book focuses around the short lives and mysterious death of the two sons of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville Who, as a fun little anecdote, Edward IV threatened at knifepoint to get her to marry him In any case They were declared illegitimate after Richard III took power, and imprisoned in the Tower of London and were never seen again Richard III supposedly had them murdered within a year of this time Alison Weir does clearly have a bias against Richard, but I think that the bias is reasonable given the evidence presented There are other suspects, but none with as much reason and evidence against them as Richard The bodies of two young children were discovered underneath a part of the tower in in the late 1600s, right under where they had been housed Elizabeth Windsor won t let people touch them and see, but the leap isn t hard to make Richard III may not have been as evil as Shakespeare painted him, but he was certainly coldly calculating enough to have done it to secure his power I really enjoyed this book If you are a dorky fan of English history like me, so will you Alison Weir writes very well and tries hard to make her books accessible to people, which is a plus for history based tomes The Princes in the Tower these would be Edward V and brother Richard sons of King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville is a fascinating and unsolved mystery cue Robert Stack which hundreds of years later, STILL raises eyebrows, bogs some minds, and interests history and non history buffs alike The desperately unlikable usurper Richard III, who does have a claim to the throne as a decendent of Richard, Duke of York who descends from both Lionel Duke of Clarence and Edmund Duke of York who were both sons of Edward III did you get that Trust me, I read lots of genelogical charts to get it all straight but pure ambition and greed led to his declaring his brothers Edward IV and George illegimate in order to declare the princes and newly but not yet annointed boy king Edward V also as bastards so he can gain the throne The drama builds as he locks the boys in the Tower of London to prevent Edawrd from his coronation and basicallly the boys are never seen again The highest regarded theory is that Richard had had the Duke of Buckingham personally or indirectly smother the boys in their beds and then bury them under stairs Yes, Weir is pointedly assured of Richard s guilt which I feel is quite obvious but regardless of her bias, she does provide extensive research and reports, well thought out paths of crimimal acitivity, and proven results such as the skeletons which were found under the steps and some of the analysis done on the bones.
Regardless of whether you think Richard was the dark, evil man he is portrayed as or not, The Princes in the Tower is not only history but an entertaining mystery Another job well done by Alison Weir.
OK, I don t share her prejudice.
but that is the problem right there no self respecting historian has any right to go around writing a book that has no intention of even trying for objectivity We are all entitled to our blind spots Mine include blind prejudice The blurb says that Alison Weir builds a devastating case as far as I can see, all she did was repeat all the old slurs and gossip and produced not one shred of new evidence to support the unreconstructed case The Wicked Uncle is actually the name of one of the chapters in this supposedly balanced and unbiased work of nonfiction She spends the first 13 chapters establishing that Richard is a blood thirsty usurper who had only pretended loyalty for his whole life while waiting his chance She uses Thomas More, who probably got his information from John Morton who is recorded as hating Richard, as her main and most frequently referenced source His unfinished work is widely acknowledged to be biased and More was only 5 at the time of Richard s death so could hardly give first hand evidence.
I could go on and on with examples of evidence that are presented in such a way that only one conclusion could possibly be reached If I didn t have prior knowledge of the events and people Weir is writing about, I would be convinced This probably would have been an interesting and compelling book to read if I were not troubled by the biased presentation and half truths Ms Weir seems to see Richard through the lens of a particularly spiteful ex wife.
This is my favorite book to mutter angrily at I actually told my library that I lost it and paid for it so I could keep the copy I had scribbled angry comments in the margins.
That said, it s an excellent overview of the historical scenario of the time it s very readable, if a bit pulpy Unfortunately, Weir did not go into writing this book with an open mind she went in condemning Richard, and it shows.
I read this right after reading Josephine Tey s excellent and eye opening The Daughter of Time, because I thought it was only fair to get an anti Richard opinion before I decided where on the spectrum my opinions lay I wanted her to convince me that Richard was guilty as neatly as Tey had convinced me that he was innocent I really wanted to see both sides of the argument.
Instead, I found a myriad of holes in Weir s historicity and reasoning including places where she actually contradicts herself.
Read it to get a sense of the historical drama, and to pick up the set of the stage and a sense of the major players But don t read it expecting a logical argument or historical, non agenda driven honesty.
I am not opposed to reading arguments that support Richard III as the murderer of the Princes Though I tend to enjoy favorable writings, I also understand that there is a good chance that he did kill his nephews Before you take away my Richard III Society membership card, let me explain It would be great to know what really happened According to Weir, this 500 year old mystery is solved and we just don t want to admit it Then why are so many people still disputing it Apparently all these dissenters are just not open to the truth about St Richard.
This book would have been appropriately titled The Wicked Uncle, which is actually the name of one of the chapters in this supposedly balanced and unbiased work of nonfiction Not until chapter 13 do we find anything about the princes, as Weir feels the need to establish Richard III as a blood thirsty usurper whose loyalty was only skin deep for the past 30 years before moving on to convict him of regicide Other theories are mentioned, sort of They are brought up in a way I might say, So so believes this really stupid idea Isn t that ridiculous Weir brings up many pieces of evidence and proceeds to discuss only how they support the conclusion she has already decided upon For example, in her discussion of sources, she talks about Thomas More and the history that he had written but never finished Though she admits that this source has errors and creates dialog, she continues to use it as her most frequently referenced evidence She shrugs off the idea that More quite possibly got much of his information from John Morton, who was known to have a bad relationship with Richard long before Richard took the throne She also doesn t mention that More was only 5 years old in 1483 and therefore could not have witnessed anything firsthand.
I could go on and on with examples of evidence that are presented in such a way that only one conclusion could possibly be reached If I didn t have prior knowledge of the events and people Weir is writing about, I would be convinced This probably would have been an interesting and compelling book to read if I were not troubled by the biased presentation and half truths.
It may seem like a minor point to others, but I was especially bothered by the comments regarding Richard s personal faith and prayers Based on a prayer that Richard had written in one of his personal prayer books where he had expressed gratitude for Christ redeeming him from eternal damnation, Weir assumes that he had committed a horrific sin you know, like killing his nephews that would deserve damnation Any Christian reading the prayer would recognize it as a typical prayer of thanksgiving for Christ s sacrifice as all fall short of the glory of God and deserve eternal damnation This was in no way a confession by Richard, at least not of what Weir implies he is confessing Her faulty interpretation of it throws a shadow over other pieces of evidence that she claims could only mean one thing the thing she is trying to say.
After the first quarter of this book Oops, almost called it a novel Nope, this is nonfiction, despite the fact that I have read balanced arguments in historical fiction , I began skimming I came across too many phrases like their intention was , only plausible explanation , they knew that , wholeheartedly supported , and no one now doubted to take this book seriously Weir makes a few too many claims to know the minds and hearts of people, insists too many times that there is only one interpretation of actions, and states too firmly only one man could have been responsible for their deaths Richard III.