15 August 2019

Book Review: Richard II: A True King's Fall, by Kathryn Warner


Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Where the famous portrait on Henry VIII makes him seem powerful, the familiar image of Richard II in Westminster Abbey (see book cover) achieves quite the opposite. I'd always thought he looks sad - and was unsurprised to discover a contemporary chronicler described him as 'pensive'.

Kathryn Warner, as an acknowledged expert on Richard II, has crammed her book with a wealth of fascinating details, yet the image of Richard which emerges is one of an unhappy life. Her choice of ' A True King's Fall' as her title is significant.

He inherited a kingdom ravaged by the plague and simmering with rebellion. The Scots tested his borders to the north and the old noble families of England jockeyed for power and influence, making it impossible to Richard to be certain who he could trust.

This book reveals more truth than I expected in Shakespeare's unflattering portrayal of Richard. Many accounts hint at his mental health problems, and he proved an ineffective king, yet undeserving of his lonely death by starvation - or responsibility for the Wars of the Roses.

Tony Riches

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About the Author

Kathryn Warner grew up in the Lake District in the north-west of England, and gained a BA and an MA with Distinction in medieval history and literature from the University of Manchester. She is a specialist in the history of the fourteenth century and has been researching and writing about Edward II's reign since 2004, and have run a blog about him since December 2005. Future projects include biographies of Edward III's queen Philippa of Hainault, their son John of Gaunt, Edward I's five daughters, and a joint biography of the medieval Despenser family. Find out more at Kathryn's blog and find her on Twitter @RoyneAlianore

See Also:

Blood Roses: The Houses of Lancaster and York before the Wars of the Roses, by Kathryn Warner

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