Mastodon The Writing Desk: Book Review: Edward IV and the Wars of the Roses, by David Santiuste

14 March 2014

Book Review: Edward IV and the Wars of the Roses, by David Santiuste

Available from Pen and Sword books
and on Amazon UK and Amazon US 

How much do you really know about King Edward IV?  If, like me, you were intrigued to find out more about the strangely two dimensional husband of the BBC’s ‘White Queen,’ then David Santiuste’s book is a great place to start. Fast paced and well researched, this book challenges the established views of Edward Plantagenet. New perspectives are offered by setting the generally accepted accounts of chroniclers firmly in the context of their time.

Everything his predecessor Henry VI had failed to be, Edward was over six foot tall and charismatic, a true warrior knight. He is often portrayed as a womaniser, manipulated by others, yet David reminds us that many of the criticisms of him can be traced to his young brother, Richard III.  I was particularly interested in his complex relationship with the Earl of Warwick which was so central to any understanding of the Wars of the Roses.
His marriage to Elizabeth Woodville is typical of Edward’s very modern way of doing things. There is no mystery - he married for love, fully aware of the consequences. Now being described as one of the most successful medieval kings, Edward IV saw the wisdom of appointing people on merit and, after the Wars of the Roses, presided over twelve years of peace and prosperity.

I highly recommend  Edward IV and the Wars of the Roses  to anyone who would like to understand more about this enigmatic king and this fascinating period of English history.

About the Author

David  Santiuste is a historian of medieval England and Scotland. Edward IV and the Wars of the Roses is his first book. Other publications include contributions to 'Medieval Sexuality: A Casebook' and 'Medieval Warfare'. David's interest in history was first inspired as a child, visiting castles and battlefields with his family. He went on to study at the University of St Andrews, earning a master’s degree with distinction. He currently teaches history at the Office of Lifelong Learning, University of Edinburgh.. David is the creator, with Rae Tan, of the website 'Reflections of the Yorkist Realm' ( This is a project devoted to the history and heritage of Yorkist England, featuring a selection of Rae's photographs with complementary text. 

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