Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-07-06
- Reviewer: Staff
British historian Jones (The King’s Grave) draws on the discovery of King Richard III’s bones and other archeological finds to provide new information on the Bosworth site in this update to his study of the battle that ended the Plantagenet dynasty in England. Jones’s goal is to “turn Shakespeare’s text on its head,” and to do this he revisits the known facts of Richard’s life, interpreting them according to his own view of medieval values. The result is a classic example of psycho-history, a form popular in the 1970s but long ago discarded. Jones sees Richard as a man scarred by the battle deaths of his father and brother, and he portrays Richard as devoted to his powerful mother, Cecily Neville. Taking as fact the rumor that Neville’s elder son, King Edward IV, was the product of an affair, Jones concludes that Richard believed himself to be upholding dynastic honor and that his army shared that belief. But many of Jones’s conclusions have no citations, as he claims the book is intended for the “general reader” and that academic truth “is not ultimately important.” General readers may feel patronized by the author’s comparison of contemporary and “medieval” attitudes; those seeking a clear study of Richard and Bosworth may simply feel annoyed. Agent: Jason Bartholomew, Hodder (U.K.). (Sept.)