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Richard III in the North (Hardback)

P&S History > British History P&S History > By Century > 15th Century P&S History > Royal History

By M J Trow
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 192
Illustrations: 25 colour and 50 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526777171
Published: 26th October 2020



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Richard III is England’s most controversial king. Forever associated with the murder of his nephews, the Princes in the Tower, he divides the nation. As spectacular as his death at Bosworth in August 1485 – the last king of England to die in battle – the astonishing discovery of his bones under a Leicester car park five centuries later renewed interest in him and re-opened old debates. Is he the world’s most wicked uncle; or is he (in the words of the man who most smeared him) ‘a prince more sinned against than sinning’?

Richard was not born in the North; neither did he die there, but this detailed look at his life, tracing his steps over the thirty-three years that he lived, focuses on the area that he loved and made his own. As Lord of the North, he had castles at Middleham and Sheriff Hutton, Penrith and Sandal. He fought the Scots along the northern border and on their own territory. His son was born at Middleham and was invested as Prince of Wales at York Minster, where Richard planned to set up a college of 100 priests.

His white boar device can be found in obscure corners of churches and castles; his laws, framed in the single parliament of his short reign, gave rights to the people who served him and loved him north of the Trent. And when he felt threatened or outnumbered by his enemies during the turbulent years of the Wars of the Roses, it was to the men of the North that he turned for support and advice. They became his knights of the body; members of the Council of the North which outlived Richard by a 150 years. They died with him at Bosworth.

Although we cannot divorce Richard from the violent politics of the day or from events that happened far to the South, it was in the North that Richard’s heart lay.

The North was his home. It was the place he loved.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

MJ Trow did a excellent job on the writing of this book on Richard III..As we will never ever know for sure if the claim of him being a murderer and a kidnapper of his nephews, it's best to just read all you can of this man and his family and his life and you figure it out for yourself!! I love the way this book was written..It tells a story of such where Richards life is laid out and it's in a way that tells small stories on who was who, what happened to them, how they are related when in time it happened what they did or didn't do and the rest is up to you!! You so understand the events as they happened where for me I will remember better and understand who was who and what and why!!! It's a fact finding story as I said where you can understand the long history of all of the Kings and Queens, when they reign and the order... As you read you will see what I mean ...I would so have anyone that's interested in this period of England's history to read and you can see how much time was spent in the research of this historical time!!! They did finally find Richard his body..I remember hearing this on the news..his body had been lost for so long...now as you read you will find out where and why he was lost and as they say. Now was found to put him where he has always belonged!! Received from Net Gallery..didn't get it read and reviewed in the time period I was asked to do but I did finally...Fantastic Historical Read as you can understand!!

NetGalley, Trick Wiley

There is no doubt that M.J. Trow gives us a biography of Richard which analyzes facts and not rumors or Shakespearean propaganda, and which certainly gives us a central north in the life and politics of the last Plantagenet king. York, the city that in 1461 saw the heads of his father Richard of York and brother Edmund affixed to the battlements of Micklegate's Bar, was the city he loved and was loved in return, so much so that on his death, the aldermen of the city defied Henry Tudor, new king, in mourning the passing of Richard. This biography, although perhaps not to please the partisans of the Tudor dynasty, will be appreciated by all those who love the story of the War of the Roses, the north of England and Richard himself, the unfortunate and maligned king.

Read the full Italian review here

Omne Ignotum Pro Magnifico

This book is a good start if you want to know more about Richard III. It stayed very true to what we know of the person behind the crown. It take you on the historical ride and goes all the way to the edge of the cliff. There is not much we know about the man but this book puts a light on things you many not know yet. I would recommend this to any historical nut.

NetGalley, Dawn Killian

An wonderfully written and informative biography of an English monarch who lived in troubled times, "Richard III in the North" is an especially recommended addition to personal, community, college, and university library Medieval British History & Biography collections, and is a compelling read that is further enhanced for academia with the inclusion of two Appendices (Richard's Places in the North; The Murders of Richard III), a two page Selected Biography, and a four page Index.

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Midwest Book Review

Enjoyable, detailed and informative.

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Life and Tea Blog

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Easy to read and loved all the illustrations, it helped familiarize with the locales and happenings of the times. I was happy with the history starting with Richard's parents and his childhood having a good background to build on.

NetGalley, Kim Reid

It makes for terrific reading, just as I suspected.

Books Monthly

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Move aside Prince Harry. Shove over Prince Andrew. If there ever was a Royal in desperate need of a public relations specialist, it was Richard III. In an attempt to blacken his reputation and validate their usurpation of power, the Tudors did everything in their power to paint him as an evil deformed devil. They had lots of help from toadying writers who knew on which side their bread was buttered. In fact, one such hatchet job by Shakespeare has been the definition of how history viewed him.

In recent years, that description of the man and his endeavours has been called into question. Research into whatever material remains has been studied and a picture of the man emerges far different from the evil being. In fact, when his remains were discovered under a parking lot, he was reburied with the honours denied him at the time... which coincidentally, he gave to those whom he bested but was not given by the Tudors. It turns out he was a capable and caring man who managed well and wisely. He had no need to murder his nephews, a crime for which he has been pilloried for centuries. He was already King, not through any machinations of his own. Someone else had done the research to eliminate his nephew.

This is a well research book that treats Richard with respect and tells his story, putting to bed some outrageous claims that by geography or age he could not have done. He is not put on such a pedestal that he becomes something he never was. But he is given his fair due and that is probably all he would ask.

Five purrs and two paws up.

NetGalley, Susan Johnston

Richard III is one of history’s most divisive monarch’s primarily because he has always been viewed with suspicion due to the murder of his nephews in the tower of London. Is the story true or false, we shall probably never know without forensically testing their bones, but that won’t happen because you might just change the course of history. Richard III would end up spend a lot of time in the north until ultimately he died at the Battle of Bosworth. Richard would turn to support from the north and took a good number of his knights from the north too.

This book takes a look really at the life of Richard III mainly from his time living in the north and what he would get up to, including living and through battle. This book also covers his relationships with older brothers and his father and goes through the significant events he faced running through his life. This book was a really interesting read, a book that I would think suit most readers unless you were a particularly avid fan. The author, Trow has written a very good book that is easy to read and follow and it is very well researched. I loved the fact that he had put the plans to his castles in the book as they give another dimension to the book. A very good 4.5 indeed. I enjoyed this book.

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UK Historian

This is an excellent look at Richard III. History books can be rather hard going, however the author’s writing style makes this a very interesting and an easy read.

If you are interested at all in Richard III and the Plantagenets, then this is a must read. This is a very balanced view of his time as King.

NetGalley, Sharon Anderson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This was a great book: well-written, well-researched, and well-planned. It covers Richard III, his elder brothers Edward IV and George, his father Richard, and all the main battles, people, and politics of the time. Trow does an excellent job of placing people and events within historical context and encouraging us not to look at history with twenty-first century views. Trow also does an excellent job assessing contemporary resources: who should be trusted, who had what agenda, and how should that color what we read? While Richard and the rest of his family don't come across as martyrs, they are placed firmly in context and given much of the credit that later Tudor historians tried to deny them. An excellent book for newcomers to the Wars of the Roses and those who are looking for an excellent, in-depth assessment of the time period and people.

NetGalley, Anne Morgan

Very well written fact based account of the life and lineage of Richard III. It was clearly very well researched... A definite read for history buffs, especially for those with a love for the Wars of the Roses.

NetGalley, Sarah Haugh

I hadn't read much about Richards childhood, where he was brought up and how he spent his childhood so I was very interested in this. Trow discusses Richard's early life, the events leading to his fathers death, his relationship with his siblings and the events following the death of his brother, King Edward IV.

There's a lot of rumours about Richard which Trow discusses, in particular the individual portrayed by Shakespeare many years later. Many of these rumours were quashed upon the discovery of Richard's body but Trow discusses where the rumours may have originated from and gives an opinion on the largely discussed Princes in the Tower mystery. I'm not a Ricardian but I do have a great interest in the Plantagenets. Trow appears sympathetic to Richard throughout the book referring to contemporary evidence where possible and providing explanations for where this evidence has been incorrectly interpreted previously.

As a northerner I found the North/South divide something I could relate to as it remains evident even now and applaud Richard for the Council in the North.

Trow provides plans of the castles which were an interesting addition to help imagine where Richard spent his life especially those that are now ruins.

Now I am biased and can say I am not surprised Richard fell in love with the North, it's a beautiful place but it's also the place that provided a home and loyalty to Richard throughout his life.

For those interested in reading more about Richard I really recommend this book. Trow has a very easy to read writing style that comes across almost conversational.

NetGalley, Amy McElroy

Mr. Trow has an easy flowing style of writing that makes this book easy to read and remember who was who in the Plantagenet family war. I appreciate the effort he makes to be fair to Richard III and his enemies, while also calling out out the medieval and later writers when they are obviously biased either way. Mr Trow also uses humor when it is possible in discussing Richards life, death, and reburial. The end notes and illustrations are helpful for readers who are not as familiar with the landscape as someone in the north of England might be.

NetGalley, Tracie Antonuk

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Despite having lived near several of the places mentioned in this book for more than 20 years, "Richard III in the North" provided a lot of information that was new to me. It's an absolutely brilliant book, and I will never look at those places in the same way again. The writing is very good, and I would like to read more of this author's work. The plans of the castles are a welcome addition which helps the imagination.

NetGalley, Dawn Lewis

This may seem like yet another book about Richard III, but I think Trow’s focus on the relationship between the last Plantagenet king and the North makes this stand out from all of the rest. Trow has a very casual writing style but you can tell he has obviously done his research. I think if you are a Ricardian or if you want to look at a new aspect of the Wars of the Roses, I would recommend you read, “Richard III in the North” by M.J. Trow.

NetGalley, Heidi Malagisi

This book was excellent. It's a good close look at Richard III's life and involvement in the north of England. I enjoyed how much Trow dispelled common myths about Richard along the way, as well as was honest about things that we can't prove or disprove. That made this a really good read, as well as a close look through Richard's life of how operated in the north. Overall, a fantastic nonfiction book I'd love to add to my growing collection of books about him!

NetGalley, Caidyn Young

This was a riveting addition to Ricardian history, well-worth reading. I really enjoyed it. If only I could see Richard's tomb!

NetGalley, Lisa Sanderson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Starting with the author's relationship with Shakespeare's Richard III as a young boy, Trow draws reference to the affection and affinity this king had with the North of England.

NetGalley, Jazzy Lemon

A great read with lots of little known facts and details about king Richard III. Perfect for any fan of the war of the roses.

NetGalley, Shelly Myers

Trow's book will appeal to many - it is an accessible, uncomplicated history of the period and the man.

NetGalley, Melisende d'Outremer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

M J Trow’s Richard III in the North depicts the real-life and times of this short-lived, English king, portrayed by Tudor historians and Shakespeare as a malevolent hunchback with a withered arm who murdered his nephews (the princes in the tower) to seize the throne.

Current studies and the evidence of his skeleton found in 2012 underneath a parking lot in Leicester, shed new light on Richard’s hunchback, and villainous character, while ascertained facts demonstrate he has been unfairly maligned. History buffs and those interested in the brief reign and accomplishments of Richard III will appreciate this well-researched book.

NetGalley, Mercedes Bourgaize

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Richard III has spellbound for centuries, mostly for one reason...child murder. But then that's what controversy does; historically, many people prefer good juicy gossip and conjecture over facts. In this book Trow takes a refreshing approach by questioning established "facts" and disproving "fake news" rather than building on commonly-held beliefs. It's done engagingly, too, and with loads of research and common sense.

This book begins by chronicling Richard III's ancestry then moves on to detail his life and death, including information on how and why he got where he did, bloody battles, fortified castles, enemies, festivities, horrible deaths and his passion for the North. Illustrations show castle/fortress outlines as well as battle plans and movements. Prefacing each chapter is a different coat of arms which is interesting. We see snippets of what Richard III's personality must have been like which really opened my eyes. Before reading this he seemed aloof and unknowable but now he seems like a man who genuinely loved his God, family and country. He took his various roles seriously. He and his wife, Anne, were involved in Northern affairs and he established the Council of the North. Even with all his land and wealth he chose to live in the North where he provided jobs and grants. He excelled at intercession between Neville family members. He experienced intense sorrow when his young son died. He was very human.

Trow also analyzes Shakespeare's portrayal of Richard III and shatters his ill-concocted ideas. You will see the princes in the Tower story differently.

Read this book whether you are new to Richard III or not. His character and personality came alive for me. The author challenged me to really think. I love that in a book.

The princes in the Brackenbury Tower photo is pure gold!

NetGalley, Brenda Carleton

Richard III is one of the most controversial kings in English history. You either love him or you hate him. There really is zero in between. As I was reading through this book, there was quite a bit of history that, of course, you need where it sets up what happens, and what we are focusing on for this book. I kept thinking, “come on, get to Richard... “ but that history is needed - because if you do not understand the events that lead up the event in question - well, the book will not make much sense.

Richard III was a magnate of the North, long before he became the king of England. There was distrust among many over the marriage of Edward IV to Elizabeth Woodville - and rightly so. Her family did not bring anything to the country, but they sure knew how to get what they needed out of it (including marrying one brother to a woman who was 60 years older than he was - in order to gain control of her fortune). Anyway, back to Richard. His time in the North not only solidified many things, but he showed himself to be fair, concerned about everyone who lived within his bounds, and willing to help those who needed it.

I really enjoyed reading this book! I love anything Richard III, and so this was a fun, informative read. I highly recommend it!

NetGalley, Rebecca Hill

In offering new insights on a person whose life has already been dissected minutely, the author presents an accessible and entertaining account which gives new colour to known facts. The balance between presenting facts and offering analysis was perfect, while the quality of writing was also high. Even if you know all there is to know about this fascinating historical figure, you will get a lot out of this new perspective.

NetGalley, Louise Gray

Absolutely worth reading, naturally, as pretty much anything to do with Richard III is. It's impeccably researched and lively, and is a fantastic dip-inable book for those just getting their teeth into this most fascinating period in British history.

NetGalley, Ophelia Sings

The book is well written and chronologically set out. It is easily accessible for any reader who would like to learn more about Richard. In this book, Richard is more human, more understandable than in some other works I have read. There are also extensive notes and a bibliography for those who would like to explore Richard's story further.

NetGalley, Joyce Fox

About M J Trow

M.J. Trow is the author of nearly 100 books covering crime fiction, true crime and historical biography. He is a military historian by training, lectures extensively in the UK and overseas, and has appeared regularly on the History and Discovery Channels. He can be heard in podcasts on all the usual platforms, both as a guest and the main presenter on both historical and true crime subjects. He lives in the Isle of Wight.

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