(Review) The Wars of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors by Dan Jones

Publisher: Viking, October 14, 2014.
Genre: Non-fiction, The Wars of the Roses, Plantagenets, Tudors, British History Reading Challenge 2014.
Format: Hardcover.
Pages: 416.
Rating: 3 1/2 stars for very good/good.
Source: Free copy from Viking in exchange for a review.

Link for the book at Viking-Penguin.

Link for the book at Amazon. 

Catherine de Valois, married to Henry V

The Plantagenets is the first book in the series. The theme of The Wars of the Roses is aptly noted in the subtitle: The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors.
The introduction and epilogue holds the story of the Pole family. They were the last of the York family, the White Rose. The execution of Margaret Pole was a gruesome and horrifying end to a niece of two kings, Edward IV and Richard III.
The time period for The Wars of the Roses is 1420 to 1541.
Less emphasis is given to the actual battles of the Wars of the Roses. More emphasis is given on the individuals who were apart of the political factions.
Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury

My Thoughts:
I loved The Plantagenets. It is a heavy but enjoyable study of the Plantagenet lineage and history.
The Wars of the Roses (I'm sad to say) is less remarkable. I have read so many other books about this period in British history, I was hoping to read something new. I'm not stating this is a bad book. It is an engaging book. There were a few brief stories I'd not read before (see below points). But I do not feel it is a 5 star review.

What I enjoyed about the book:
  • Dan Jones writing style is sharp with description for the characters.
  • Owen Tudor, "...lover, husband and secret companion of Catherine de Valois, queen dowager of England." The Tudor family (before Henry VII) is of strong interest to me because I love Welsh history. 
  • The best pictorial description of Henry VI, I've read than any other book. 
  • A macabre story of a mistress caring for a lover's severed head. 
  • Brief stories of the impostors during Henry VII's reign. 
What I wanted to see more of in the book:
  • A detailed and descriptive Battle of Bosworth. 
  • Lengthier study of the two imprisoned princes in the tower. 
  • A dimensional Richard III.
My review of The Plantagenets. 


  1. I agree with you for the most part :) A dimensional Richard III would have been great. It was a good, broad introduction to the subject perhaps. But I *wanted* more personally.


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