Brother, Protector, King
By Chris Skidmore
A study in power - a fresh biography of Richard III by 'one of our brightest young historians' (David Starkey)
SHORTLISTED FOR THE BEST NON-FICTION BOOK AT THE PARLIAMENTARY BOOK AWARDS
'Fresh, gripping and vivid' Simon Sebag Montefiore
'Exhaustively researched and scrupulously even-handed' David Starkey
'A portrait that chills you to the bone' Leanda de Lisle, The Times
The last Plantagenet king remains one of England's most famous and controversial monarchs. There are few parallels in English history that can match the drama of Richard III's reign, witnessed in its full bloody intensity.
A dedicated brother and loyal stalwart to the Yorkist dynasty for most of his early life, Richard's personality was forged in the tribulation of exile and the brutality of combat. An ambitious nobleman and successful general with a loyal following, Richard was a man who could claim to have achieved every ambition in life, except one.
Within months of his brother Edward IV's early death, Richard stunned the nation when he seized the throne and disinherited his nephews. Having put to death his rivals, Richard's two-year reign would become one of the most tumultuous in English history, ending in treachery and with his death on the battlefield at Bosworth.
By stripping back the legends that surround Richard's life and reign, and returning to original manuscript evidence, Chris Skidmore rediscovers the man as contemporaries saw him. His compelling study presents every facet of Richard's personality as it deserves to be seen: as one of the most significant figures in medieval history, whose actions and behaviour underline the true nature of power in an age of great upheaval and instability.
Chris Skidmore is the author of four books on medieval and Tudor history: Richard III, Bosworth, Edward VI and Death and the Virgin. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He is also the Member of Parliament for Kingswood and in July 2016 was appointed as Minister for the Constitution in the Cabinet Office.
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- Publication date:
21 Sep 2017
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A portrait that chills you to the bone ... Skidmore describes Richard's death in horrifying detail ... It marks the bloody climax to a biography in which the unfolding horror comes from the slow burn of detail drawn from manuscript sources and recent scholarship judiciously presented, and in a story well told — Leanda de Lisle, THE TIMES
Exhaustively researched, scrupulously even-handed and a genuinely fresh approach to one of the most ploughed-over and controversial reigns in English history. Skidmore neatly sidesteps the by-now sterile controversy about Richard's character and draws instead on the unusually full documentation of the reign to offer a detailed and persuasive narrative of what Richard actually did - and, at least as importantly, what he was thought to have done — David Starkey
A fresh, gripping and vivid portrait of a Richard III who is not just chilling, ruthless and terrifying but also a practical politician in a brutal age - a man of his time — Simon Sebag Montefiore
Skidmore's new biography of Richard is a full and measured account of his subject ... [He] tells the story with style and the empathy of a well-trained historian ... Skidmore has given us an eminently readable account of Richard's life and reign, firmly anchored in fifteenth-century politics and culture — David Grummitt, Times Literary Supplement
It is all but impossible to write either something fresh, or something fair, about Richard III, yet Chris Skidmore has pulled off both feats. Wide-ranging research brings out a Richard who is neither the crookbacked villain nor the victim, but a man for all political seasons, whose fall illumines his violent, complex age — Sarah Gristwood, author of Game of Queens
This first-rate book ... will be read with great profit and pleasure by fellow historians, and by all those who simply enjoy learning about dramatic episodes in the past from a fine writer — Alistair Lexden, The London Magazine
Richard III, of all the English monarchs, deserves a fair hearing and Chris Skidmore's meticulous account does justice to this vilified king. With forensic detail, Skidmore looks at sources as well as rumours to build a picture of the last Plantagenet monarch. What shines out from this modern biography is the author's attempt to be fair to the last English king to ride in battle, who took murderous decisions in life; but died a hero — Philippa Gregory
King Richard III is one of the most divisive figures in history, but this new biography aims to ignore the controversy and return to the facts: his personality, motivations and allegiances. How single-minded was his pursuit of power, and what role did he really play in the deaths of his young nephews? — History Revealed
Skidmore successfully creates a balanced biography of the famously complicated last king of the Yorkist line ... [T]his carefully researched biography effectively captures Richard's turbulent reign and intense personality up to the violent end — Publishers Weekly