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Soldier, Rebel, Traitor (Kindle)

John, Lord Wenlock and the Wars of the Roses

British History Medieval History Photographic eBooks Colour eBooks Medieval Biographies Military

By Dr Alexander Brondarbit
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
File Size: 23.0 MB (.mobi)
Pages: 224
ISBN: 9781399003490
eBook Released: 14th June 2022


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John Wenlock, first Lord Wenlock, was a leading diplomat, courtier and soldier during the Wars of the Roses whose remarkable career offers us a fascinating insight into one of the most turbulent periods in English medieval history. And yet he has hitherto been overshadowed by his more illustrious contemporaries. Alexander Brondarbit’s meticulously researched and perceptive biography is overdue. It establishes Wenlock as a major figure in his own right and records in vivid detail how this shrewd nobleman found his way through the brutal conflicts of his times.

Wenlock served in Henry V’s military campaigns in France in the 1420s before moving on to a career in the royal households of Henry VI, Margaret of Anjou and Edward IV. As a diplomat, he led multiple embassies to Burgundy and France and, in addition to the kings he served, he was closely connected with other notable figures of the age such as Richard Neville, earl of Warwick. But Wenlock’s speciality was on the battlefield – he took part in many raids, skirmishes and sieges and in three major battles including the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471 where he lost his life.

Using primary sources as well as contemporary assessments in chronicles and letters, Alexander Brondarbit gives a nuanced description of the main episodes in Wenlock’s long career and throws new light on the motivation of a man who has been labelled a ‘Prince of Turncoats’ because of his frequent changes of allegiance.

In all, a very good read for anyone interested in one of the periods important figures.

Read the full review here

Medieval Sword School

I am always on the look out for books putting the spotlight onto some of the lesser know, though oft times more interesting, historical personages; so was rather keen to have a read of this book on John Wenlock.

Brondarbit says of Wenlock that his "... career was long, complex and colourful as he engaged in military venture and political intrigue ..." Brondarbit's book is "... meant to reassess one of the more maligned aristocrats ... and present a more nuanced picture of his life .. to understand rather than to rehabilitate ...".

In "Soldier, Rebel, Traitor: John, Lord Wenlock and the Wars of the Roses", Brondarbit does his due diligence in bringing to the fore, the life of a man so remarkable, and yet unremarked. So unremarked he was that I could not find another single tome on the man - well, maybe one - "The Mystery of Lord Wenlock and His Glastonbury Treasure" by Adrian Fray (which I have not read). But no real biography with any substance. Brondarbit's book amply and ably fills that vacuum, and is one I would gladly find space for on my "Wars of the Roses" shelves of my personal library.

NetGalley, Melisende d'Outremer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book was very insightful and enlightening considering which I really enjoyed reading.
I'd definitely recommend this book to the historians or lover of history wanting to know more about the War of Roses.

NetGalley, Dee A.

About Dr Alexander Brondarbit

Dr Alexander Brondarbit is a medieval historian and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society whose research is focused on late medieval English politics and the Wars of the Roses. In addition to a number of academic papers and magazine articles on these subjects, he is the author of Power-Brokers and the Yorkist State, 1461-1485. His previous appointments include lecturing on medieval history at Oregon State University and the University of Winchester. He is currently an Academic Planning Analyst at UC Santa Cruz.

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