07 May 2009

The Princes in the Tower

I finished this a few weeks back and my posting schedule got interrupted because of that dratted flu and associated panic. Everything got interrupted, let's just put it that way.

The Princes in the Tower differs quite a bit from the previous Weir histories/biographies I read recently. For one thing, Weir is writing with a far more scholarly tone because she is evaluating the veracity and accuracy of historical documents used in reconstructing the history of Richard III and his nephews, Edward V and Richard of York. She backs up several times to go over different events with different contemporary sources. So the intimacy that I felt when reading about Eleanor or Katherine isn't there because the focus isn't on one person but many people involved in a singluar event in history. The book is shorter than the others, too, but that doesn't make it any easier to read. Weir comes down firmly on the side of those who hold Richard III responsible for the deaths of his nephews and she tells you why she thinks that way; however, she does present all the evidence both against Richard and that used to "prove" his innocence although she does debunk the innocent side of the story so you might be persuaded to side with her anyway.

This was an interesting read; Weir actually took time to explain why her interpretation of the historical record differed from the BBC judicial program (which found Richard III innocent) which I found to be very nice because she essentially covered all her bases then. If you're a Richard III "revisionist" you won't like this book; if you like Shakespeare's play then you need to read this book because it gives depth to one of literature's most famous villains.

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