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Book Review of The Princes in the Tower

The Princes in the Tower
The Princes in the Tower
Author: Alison Weir
Genre: History
Book Type: Paperback
reviewed 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.