In 2012 Annette Carson formed part of the team that discovered King Richard III's mortal remains, verified in 2013 by forensics including DNA matching.
In response to the recent upsurge of interest, her 2009 paperback has been updated with details of the discovery plus new illustrations, and a larger typeface for easier readability.
Carson's premise is that for centuries the vision of Richard III has been dominated by the fictional creations of Thomas More and Shakespeare.
Many voices, some of them eminent and scholarly, have urged a more reasoned view to replace the traditional black portrait.
This book seeks to redress the balance by examining the events of his reign as they actually happened, based on reports in the original sources.
Eschewing the overlay of assumptions so beloved by historians, she instead traces actions and activities of the principal characters, using facts and time-lines revealed in documentary evidence.
In the process Carson dares to investigate areas where historians fear to tread, and raises many controversial questions.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 320 pages, Illustrations (chiefly col.)
- Publisher: The History Press Ltd
- Publication Date: 01/07/2009
- Category: British & Irish history
- ISBN: 9780752452081
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Review by unohoo
If I had to summarize this book in one word, it would be provocative. From the opening chapter where Annette Carson analyzes Richard Collins's theory that Edward IV may have died of poisoning, to the closing chapter depicting Richard's personal tragedies--son dies suddenly and wife dies after a long illness--and how they affected his security, to his miscalculations of how to manage the powerful lords upon whose support he depended, we not only learn how history has maligned this medieval monarch, but also how certain key events have several valid interpretations.The chapters are arranged chronologically, starting just before Edward IV's death to Richard's defeat and death on Bosworth Field--a period extending just under two and a half years--and of the Tudor aftermath where Richard's good name was maligned. While Carson clearly sides with the "good king Richard" view, she does not ignore detracting theories for each point she examines. Throughout all the tumultuous events of this short historical span, Carson analyzes the primary (where available) and secondary sources--sometimes supporting and sometimes contradicting the conclusions that are drawn. Notably she doesn't shirk from citing and examining controversial references such as that of Thomas More's 'History of King Richard III'.Carson's work is well balanced, logical, and witty. I believe this text is readily understandable by someone just embarking on learning about this era as well as an important addition to the more knowledgeable reader. The selected bibliography lists over a hundred references that she cites throughout the text. Despite the weight of the research, the book is highly readable and accessible to the non-historian.The one negative for me was the small type face. I found it a strain to read. Admittedly, I'm of an age where I need reading glasses, but haven't graduated to large print yet.In the spirit of full disclosure, the author and I traded books when we met for the first and only time last August. Neither of us had any expectations of receiving or giving a review. I am writing this review because I think this book is a valuable addition for anyone interested in Richard III and that period of history.