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The Princes in the Tower
The Princes in the Tower
Author: Alison Weir
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? Care...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780345391780
ISBN-10: 0345391780
Publication Date: 8/1995
Pages: 304
Rating:
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 70

3.8 stars, based on 70 ratings
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover
Members Wishing: 0
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reviewed The Princes in the Tower on + 33 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
A book I had to take slowly, and keep referencing my mobility family charts.

Alison Weir investigates the events surrounding the disappearance in 1483 of England's 12-year-old King Edward V and his younger brother, Richard, Duke of York. Upon the death of their father, King Edward IV, in 1483, the brothers' uncle, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, was named Edward V's guardian. In a breathtaking chain of sinister events, Richard had Edward V and his brother confined to the Tower of London, declared his nephew's accession to the throne invalid and proclaimed himself king in June of 1483. Weir relies heavily on Sir Thomas More's History of King Richard III (written 1514-1518 and upon which William Shakespeare based his play) to conclude that Richard had his nephews murdered in the tower sometime after his coronation. Weir carefully considers alternative theories about the brothers' deaths, but argues convincingly that More had the best access to evidence and the least reason to lie.
reviewed The Princes in the Tower on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Normally, I stick to fiction, but this nonfiction account by Alison Weir was actually much closer to a narrative style than I expected. She did a great job of laying out the facts, analylzing the evidence and explaining her conclusions, yet somehow also managed to put together a timeline sequence that read almost as smoothly as a fictional plot. It wasn't quite as much fun for me as a good old medieval fantasy novel, but I'll bet that true geneology enthusists and historians will enjoy the painstaking detail of this one. Remarkably, I don't think that she took liberties either...as far as I can tell, all her conclusions are well supported.
reviewed The Princes in the Tower on + 36 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I was sucked right into the story. Weir's books are always readable and this one about Richard III of England and the murder of his nephews was no exception.
reviewed The Princes in the Tower on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
One of the most boring books I have read in a long time! Hard to get through. Hard to follow.
reviewed The Princes in the Tower on + 29 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Interesting book. A fact giving book about events of the murders of the two princes. I think you should be interested in the era and have a general knowledge of what and who the people were or it could be overwhelming. I would definately recommend reading it.
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reviewed The Princes in the Tower on + 6 more book reviews
This book is a very readable story of the political atmosphere surrounding the disappearance of the sons of Edward IV. It encompasses more than just the princes though, starting as far back as Edward III to explain how the multiple claims for the throne originated, thus creating the Wars of the Roses, focusing a good deal on Richard III's turbulent reign and death, Henry VII's various insecurities after usurping Richard, even into a little bit about Henry VIII's continued insecurities about his Plantagenet cousins. The wide range of detail and characters can make it easy to get lost if you're not familiar with the time period, but even so it's a great overview of the times leading up to the Tudor dynasty if you take care to keep track.

Weir explains her sources, their strengths and weaknesses, and from there goes off of their evidence to attempt to come to a reasonable conclusion. While many of her sources are highly controversial, she does set up an argument of why she believes they have merit, for example she points out when multiple authors tell the same story despite having never known each other, what pervading popular opinion was at the time, what was known and what was supressed in the time that followed, and even pointing out the telling silences, like why particular things were never used as propaganda when doing so could have helped public opinion and thus the security of his throne if Richard was indeed innocent.

While I agree that the tone of the book could be seen as biased towards the guilt of Richard III, I believe that along the way she does paint a very compelling argument to back up that opinion. Overall I think it is a very good book, filled with facts, and following a logical chain of events to come to the final conclusion.


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