Review: Richard III by David Baldwin

Title: Richard III
Author: David Baldwin
Publisher: Amberley, February 28, 2013
This book was republished to add the recent DNA findings
Genre: Non-Fiction
Labels: Richard III, England, British Monarchy, British History, The War of the Roses, House of York, House of Plantagenet, House of Lancaster, House of Neville, House of Tudor
Format: Paperback
Age: Adult
Pages: 272
Rating: 4 Stars

Royal Arms of England (1198-1340).svg
House of Plantagenet's Armoral

David Baldwin quickly states in the first sentence of his introduction, that previous books about Richard III have either painted him as "very good or very bad". Baldwin's aim in his book, was to portray Richard III as accurately as possible---to have Richard III come to life through its pages, showing a dimensional personality. Baldwin wants to put to rest myths about Richard III, and instead show what in fact we do know about him.
Richard III was the youngest child in a large family. An older brother Edmund, and their father, died when Richard was age 8. His early life was marked by death and grief. His mother sent him and brother George away to be hidden. Then, the family's life dramatically changed, when the eldest brother became Edward IV. George and Richard gained titles, prestige, and a hope for future security and establishment.
At this point, no one envisioned that Richard would one day become king. 

My Thoughts:
  • This is the first biography of Richard III that has the results of DNA testing done recently, as well as the history of finding his grave, and the archeology work involved in it. I'm sure there will be other books to follow.
  • David Baldwin is a medieval historian and is knowledgeable about Richard III.
  • I appreciated David Baldwin's goal in focusing on the facts, and not build on any myths surrounding Richard III. This was my main aim in reading Baldwin's book, I wanted history, not fantasy.
  • Baldwin began at the beginning of what is known about Richard III early life, as well as his siblings, and parents. Baldwin did not just begin at The War of the Roses key battle.
  • There are 81 photographs in the book, 57 are in color!
  • Geography and culture is described during this time period of 1400's. 
  • The story of the 2 nephews of Richard III who were placed in the tower for "safe keeping" by Richard III is examined. 
  • A list of books Richard III owned (of course only another bibliophile would love this information).
  • Richard III accomplishments listed.
  • Richard III had key people he could rely on, as well as those he mistrusted. Baldwin factors in these people, as well as how the kingdom felt when Richard III seized the throne.
I enjoyed reading this book! The added material about the newest findings on Richard III added sparkle to it.

Thank you to Amberley for my free review copy!
War of Roses in art. By Henry Arthur Payne.

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  1. This sounds like a great read. It's wonderful when an author can make a historical figure seem like a real person with strengths and weaknesses.


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