The Wars of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors

Dan Jones. Viking, $36 (416p) ISBN 978-0-670-02667-8
It’s not often that a book manages to be both scholarly and a page-turner, but British historian Jones succeeds on both counts in this entertaining follow-up to his bestselling The Plantagenets (currently in production as a television miniseries). Previously, Jones explored the Plantagenets’ rise to power, while here he examines their destruction. He begins in 1422 when Henry V dies, leaving the throne to an infant, and continues for the next 100 years through the reign of Henry VIII. Following Henry VI’s descent into madness and the utter collapse of royal authority, dynastic “wars of politics and personality” erupted as England’s elite families fought over the throne. Jones breathes new life into an oft-told account of how the crown changed hands five times before a young Welshman with a dubious claim wrested it from Richard III in 1485. Only during a period of utter chaos, Jones argues, could the Tudors have risen so high so quickly. But, he contends, due to their weak claim, they were forced to annihilate the Plantagenets, going so far as Henry VIII having the elderly Margaret de la Pole executed in 1541. Jones sets a new high-water mark in the current revisionism of the Tudor era. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/25/2014
Release date: 10/14/2014
MP3 CD - 978-1-5012-6064-3
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-0-14-312788-8
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