Skidmore does a fine job of telling a complicated story that ends happily as Henry, now Henry VII, founded the Tudor dynasty...




An engrossing, probably definitive background to one of the most powerful dynasties in British history.

Americans vaguely remember the 1485 Battle of Bosworth Field—with Richard III crying “My kingdom for a horse!” as Henry Tudor’s army closed in—but in England, it occupies the place of our Gettysburg. Richard III’s cry is Shakespeare, not reality, and British historian and Member of Parliament Skidmore (Death and the Virgin Queen: Elizabeth I and the Dark Scandal that Rocked the Throne, 2011, etc.) delves into the archives to tease out the facts. Emphasizing the Tudor family, this is a history of 15th-century English kings, which began brilliantly with Henry V’s 1415 defeat of the French at Agincourt but descended into civil war after the 1422 accession of his son, Henry VI, who was weak, probably insane and long-lived. For more than 50 years, two parties, the Lancasters and the Yorks, fought for the power the king was incapable of wielding. Owen Tudor (1400–1461), a minor Welsh noble, married Henry V’s widow. This gave his grandson a distant claim to the throne, but the deaths of so many royal Lancasters made him the leading claimant when he defeated Richard III at Bosworth, and his marriage to Elizabeth of York united the families, bringing relative peace. Even educated readers will flinch at the relentless deceit, betrayal, treason and bloodshed that characterized 15th-century English politics, and they may have difficulty distinguishing the cast of characters since nobles passed the identical title to their heirs and women tended to be named Margaret or Elizabeth.

Skidmore does a fine job of telling a complicated story that ends happily as Henry, now Henry VII, founded the Tudor dynasty that included his son, Henry VIII, and granddaughter, Elizabeth.

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-312-54139-2

Page Count: 464

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2013

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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