Richard III

Richard III

England's Black Legend

Book - 2014
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With the recent discovery of Richard III's remains, a newly-revised edition of the celebrated biography of England's most notorious king.
Publisher: New York : Pegasus Books, 2014, ©1983.
Edition: First Pegasus Books hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781605985756
Characteristics: 220 pages, [32] pages of plates :,illustrations ;,25 cm


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Jan 27, 2015

(Written originally for Goodreads) One annoying thing kept this book from earning an additional rating star, and it had nothing to do with the book's contents nor the author's presentation. The font style and the line spacing gave a compressed feeling to every page and made it hard to read. Seward tends to give lots of details about the personages connected to Richard, and the layout did nothing to alleviate what might be regarded by some readers as tedium. With that complaint aside, I will now address the book itself. I think that a lot of people who might read this book will do so because they have read Shakespeare's Richard III, and they want to know more about one of the bard's greatest villains. Having taught this play and having a keen interest in English history, I could not resist this read. Some of the other commentaries on Goodreads may not be wholly fair, but then some of the readers might have read older editions written before the discovery of Richard's remains in a parking lot. That latter fact is only briefly addressed in the beginning of the 2014 edition, but the fact that the skeleton is that of a grossly deformed man (which some recent historians tried to negate) gives credence to Seward's contention that Richard was, indeed, the villain that popular history portrayed him to be. Seward relies on Thomas More, Polydore Vergil, and other sources as contemporary to the events as possible to build his claim, and though they take the more negative slant, Seward also recognizes the opposition found among some modern historians who have tried to vindicate Richard. In the end, I felt that Seward did well in making his claim that Richard III was every bit the weasel that Shakespeare presented.

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