The Hollow Crown
The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses and the Rise of the Tudors, from Dan Jones – the celebrated author of The Plantagenets – is an exciting, fast-paced history of the Wars of the Roses.
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The fifteenth century experienced the longest and bloodiest series of civil wars in British history. The crown of England changed hands violently five times as the great families of England fought to the death for the right to rule.
Some of the greatest heroes and villains in history were thrown together in these chaotic years. Yet efforts were made to maintain some semblance of peace and order, as chivalry was reborn, the printing press arrived, and the Renaissance began to flourish. Following on from Dan Jones’s bestselling The Plantagenets, The Hollow Crown is a vivid and engrossing history of these turbulent times.
The Hollow Crown is exhilarating, epic, blood-and-roses history ... Jones's material is thrilling ... There is fine scholarly intuition on display here and a mastery of the grand narrative; it is a supremely skilful piece of storytelling.
Dan Jones's fine new history [...] locates the conflict not in the tedious familiarity of modern power plays, but in the fascinating strangeness of the attitudes and belief systems of that distant age: a world in which piety and politics converged, and where the outcome of war was nothing less than the manifestation of divine judgement. [...] Tautly structured, elegantly written and finely attuned to the values and sensibilities of the age, The Hollow Crown is probably the best introduction to the Wars of the Roses currently in print.
[Jones] is an extraordinary storyteller whose scene-setting is intensely visual and whose characters spring from the page. He has a gift for an arresting turn of phrase [...] and [...] highlights engaging details: that coronation rituals often bred head lice, and that Henry VI was shocked by, and abhorred, nakedness. Finally, he is comically wry [...] . This is narrative history at its most brilliant. [...] A Milanese ambassador in 1471 likened the task of describing the ever-changing nature of events in England to suffering torture. With history in such skilful hands as these, reading about them is anything but.
Henry VI was a born saint - and that was just the problem as Dan Jones shows in this racy and vigorous new narrative history. Picking up where he left off at the end of his acclaimed The Plantagenets with Henry VI's father, the incomparable warrior-king Henry V, Jones shows that a successful medieval king needed to rule strongly (but not tyrannically), father plenty of healthy sons and keep defeating the French
...the gloriously resonant title title of Dan Jones's brilliant account of the Wars of the Roses - The Hollow Crown - conjures up Shakespeare's influence not just on our language but on the ways in which we think about our past ... Jones is a born storyteller, peopling the terrifying uncertainties of each moment with a superbly drawn cast of characters and powerfully evoking the brutal realities of civil war. With gripping urgency he shows this calamitous conflict unfold.
Jones, though a young man, is a traditional narrative historian in the mould of Starkey, Taylor and Trevelyan. In other words, he tells a good story. That is a good thing, since storytelling has gone out of favour among so many historians.
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