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Famously depicted as `Crookback Dick', and as Shakespeare's `bunch-back'd toad', the murderer of the Princes in the Tower and the warrior vanquished at the Battle of Bosworth Field, Richard III is one of England's most enigmatic monarchs. Now, with the discovery of Richard's bones under a car park in Leicester in 2012 and their reburial in early 2015, the obsession with this mysterious king has been further ignited. Historian David Horspool tells the story of Richard, Duke of Gloucester's birth and upbringing and his part as a young man in the closing years of the Wars of the Roses, describes what really happened to the Princes in the Tower, and explains why this character has become one of the most compelling and divisive rulers in the history of the British Isles. In his final chapter, with a ringside seat to the pomp and circumstance of Richard's reburial in Leicester in 2015, Horspool explains why the public fascination with this flawed king has been so enduring. Richard III: A Ruler and his Reputation is concerned to examine the legend as well as the man. Have we bought in to the myth of Richard III as the personification of evil, a view maintained by his Tudor successors and publicised by Raphael Holinshed and William Shakespeare? Or should we believe the Ricardian narrative of a much maligned monarch, warrior and statesman made popular by the Richard III Society and conceded in part by some historians and archaeologists? These questions and more are discussed in this fascinating insight into one of England's most elusive kings.
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A riveting biography of Richard III, one of England's most enigmatic and elusive kings

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About the Author

David Horspool is History Editor of the Times Literary Supplement. He is the author of The English Rebel (Viking/Penguin), King Alfred the Great (Amberley) and, with Colin Firth and Anthony Arnove, The People Speak (Canongate).

Reviews

David Horspool's measured and fluent account of Richard's life sets a new standard among biographies of medieval rulers aimed at a wide readership. * Times Literary Supplement * David Horspool, the history editor of the Times Literary Supplement, has written a new life of a monarch whose character and deeds have attracted extremes of loathing and admiration. He is the master of his often sparse sources and has woven them into a refreshing, incisive and fluent biography that is laced with that scepticism demanded by his subject. This is an intelligent person's life of Richard, strong in ascertainable fact. * The Times * Richard III's villainy owes much to Shakespeare. Modern histories are more understanding, and this includes this thoughtful biography by Times Literary Supplement history editor Horspool, who stresses that Richard (1452-1485) was a man of his times, although they were nasty times ... "The Richard effect may simply be a version of the British love affair with royalty," writes the author. "He was king once, and that is all that counts." Among the better histories on this subject, this book ... deliver[s] a densely detailed account of a man who was no more villainous than the average 15th-century baron. * Kirkus Reviews * Readers have a great guide to the issues [surrounding Richard III] in historian Horspool. Steeped in the sources, he handicaps hostile ones, such as Shakespeare's theatrical vilification, and circumspectly weighs the knowable evidence about Richard to shape a plausible portrait of his character ... [an] intelligent, judicious examination of Richard III. * Booklist * Absorbing and authoritative -- Sinclair McKay * Daily Telegraph * At once a fine work of scholarship while remaining an engaging and illuminating read ... Anyone with an interest in the period would do well to have this in their library. * Armchair General * [A] careful analysis of Richard ... well worth waiting for ... impeccably objective, its conclusions are all the more damning * Spectator * David Horspool's book is a model of balanced judgement, with a commendable facility of style ... An intelligent person's guide to the enigma that is Richard, duke of Gloucester, later King Richard III ... Horspool has produced an important addition to any Ricardian's shelves. * Ricardian Bulletin *

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