"Here I prophesy: this brawl today,
Grown to this faction in the Temple garden,
Shall send, between the red rose and the white,
A thousand souls to death and deadly night."
- Shakespeare, Henry VI pt 1
Staying in the fifteenth century, today it's the turn of the Wars of the Roses.
Given the aim of selecting books that bring the past to life I have gone for Anthony Goodman's 'The War of the Roses: The Soldier's Experience', a book whose title pretty much exactly sums up its contents, as my non-fiction choice.
A choice of fiction book has proved much harder. I am no fan of the dynastic romance genre to which this period is extremely prone and which concentrate on the carryings-on of the royals and nobility. Nor, for any period at all (*), am I a fan of the adventure tale (more usually series of tales) featuring a more lowly born protagonist, who has an anachronistically progressive attitude to tactics, man-management, and military science in general and always seems to pop up at crucial points in history at which he comes into closer contact than seems likely with the same royals and nobility who star in the previous type of novels. So instead, I have chosen Brian Wainwright's 'The Adventures of Alianore Audley', not because I think it is in any way an accurate representation of life at the time, but because it is very funny. It's also worth noting that the explanations given in it for the historical events of 1483 to 1485 are as plausible as any that you will read in many more serious works.
* With one guilty pleasure exception to which I may return in due course
I agree about the novels: as some low-rent so-called wit said the other day, "One might wonder how Wellington got any battles won at all, with the constant interruptions from all those lone maverick riflemen, hussars etc just back from French lines and pestering him with some vital intelligence.."ReplyDelete