The Brothers York

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This is a very comprehensive and long narrative and at times I was very close to giving up on it as it is told in a series of activities in more or less chronological order.  This felt like ...and then this happened...and then this happened...and then this happened etc. which gets a little wearing after a while.  There are also many, many actors involved and you need to retain a high level of concentration in order to retain the names and relationships between everyone. Having said that, I am glad to have continued to the end and I enjoyed seeing a different side really to the three main characters (the three kings) as usually I have read historic novels covering this period and this can make the characters a little one dimensional.  I need to read something a little more light weight now, but will come back to this author again in the future.
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15th century England must be one of the most dramatic periods of Royal history. It is littered with plots, counter plots, obsession with powers and riches and has more turns than any fiction I have ever read.
Therefore reading the historical account of what happened from the time Edward the IV becomes king to when Richard III dies and Tudor rule is established was as entertaining as if reading fiction itself. 
The amount of research that has gone into this account is thoroughly impressive, captured most brilliantly in a concise manner, with salient explanations netted by referring to the accounts and publications from this time.
Perhaps popularised by modern works of fiction such as the television production of the White Queen, not to mention Shakespeare, it offers an engaging and absorbing read about the three sons of Richard, Duke of York, who together fought, won and lost the Wars of the Roses. 
This book reads as easy as fiction itself. No one can take anything for granted, no one is really safe if seen as a potential threat, no matter how loyal or vital to any political gain. At best you could lose your home and possessions, at worst your life in the most brutal and barbaric way to send a message to others and soothe paranoias.
Given the size of the book and hours’ worth of reading involved, it was never a chore and always a pleasure. Such an engaging account is a credit in itself and if you have any interest in this time period but maybe wouldn’t usually read non-fiction, I would urge you to give it a go, as I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
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I found it odd that other reviewers have likened the book to Wolf Hall or have referred to this work as being “historical fiction”. This is a nonfiction story of the York family and though Penn very cleverly gives us the sense we are there in the time and place described, it is always with a view to giving historical accuracy, rather than narrative. It’s not a taxing read and is a really good book for history fans. Having recently read other accounts of the same story, I found this one to be the most accessible. I would not necessarily however recommend this book to those who were after historical fiction - it’s not that kind of book ... and nor is it trying to be. 
Many thanks to NetGalley, the author and the publishers for a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Thomas Penn has the most deft gift of being able to REALLY teach you history (even if you have studied it yourself) one is taken on such a journey, a true deep-dive through time. All the while Penn is dredging up all manner of detail around you, things others seem to have missed, and masterly weaves them into his narrative with an ease that leaves the reader almost forgetting that they are not actually living in the same time as the York. Book-Lag! , Penn dives so deeply, not into just history, but into his sublime story telling, that whilst reading about the Brothers York, in your minds eye, you can see and feel the patterns of stitching on their tunics! Truly inspiring reality telling, story telling and history telling. Bravo!
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This was a really expansive in-depth look at the rise and fall of both Kind Edward IV and his brother King Richard III, as well as some commentary around the history revolving the 'Princes in the Tower' and what could have happened to them. This book is about 70-80% King Edward IV, and the last 15% is King Richard III and the last 5% if even, looks at King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York with a brief paragraph on King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I.

As someone already very interested in this time period and the York rulers, and I have read historical fiction in the time period before (mainly Philippa Gregory's The White Queen series) and so was aware of some major events and players and this certainly helped. I think this is a very dense, richly packed book and you would need to have a general interest in the subject and the families to get a good enjoyment out of it.

I'm a fast reader but this book slowed my reading down considerably but it wasn't one I wanted to rush. I wanted to take in the history and understand the events and the causes and repercussions of them.

I really enjoyed this and it's very obvious that a lot of time and effort went into this book. It's not written in a way that's inaccessible to those who may not be history buffs but is also quite conversation and pleasant to read as well without losing the poignancy of the historical twists and turns.
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A throughly enjoyable novel that is very well written and researched. Perfect for fans of Wolf Hall!
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I adored this book. The writing was brilliant, and the story kept my gripped until the very end.
A must have for any historical fiction fan.
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I really enjoyed this book. As a history teacher I like reading historical fiction but I am wary as some authors can be slightly hit and miss with factual accuracy which takes away from my enjoyment of the novel. 

However, this book is well researched and accurate as well as extremely engaging. A winning combination!  I usually confine my historical fiction to authors like Hilary Mantel, CJ Sansom and the like as they take pride in their research and it extends my knowledge and understanding of the period/person under scrutiny. I learned a great deal from this book and it will enhance my teaching of this period. Most importantly, Penn manages to make us feel like we are actually there and part of that turbulent period o history. 

As a historian I had high hopes and I’m glad I tried a book by Thomas Penn who will now be added to my list of reliable historical fiction writers! I look forward to reading Winter King.
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I came to this book with a good deal of prior knowledge on the subject, but what Penn does brilliantly here is condense the cold hard facts into a readable volume. The brothers of York, are of course the ‘3 Sonnes in splendour’ of Richard Duke of York, Edward, George and Richard. 2 fated to became king of England, one to die a traitors death of the orders of his own brother. 
This book is immaculately researched, beginning with Edwards initial rise to the throne at the expense on a Henry VI and ending of course at Bosworth. The treachery of these 3 men almost beggars belief but there is no sensationalism here, the facts are recorded and left to shock and astonish on their own merit. The absence of hyperbole indeed makes a refreshing change from other recent volumes who have sought to sensationalise what in reality was a hideous and brutal period of English history. 
If I have any complaint it is that for the historian there is little new here and certainly the wars with France could maybe have been dealt with in less detail....these sections seemed to interrupt the flow of the narrative somewhat, but all in all this book is excellent.
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readable and excellent on the self-destructive drive of these brothers who could not lead well without thuggery and personal dissipation that lead to ruin. there's no weird psychology babble but hard fact in stories of this history which we think we know well, but don't really - influenced as I am by Shakespeare's readings. really a refreshing new take on this pre-history of England - I could not put parts of it, especially on RIchard, it has to be said .. highly recommend as a great and informative read.
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Penn's narrative begins with the rise and Edward IV and his ascendancy over Henry VI in claiming the throne of England (1461), first sought by Edward's father Richard, Duke of York (1460). For those who are unfamiliar with this period, Penn's book provides a springboard from which to launch your own journey. All the major players and events are covered off in a detailed history that is neither dry nor sleep inducing. 

I am in two minds with this book. On the one hand, it is a very well researched and engaging history of the Wars of the Roses, that was fascinating and dramatic. However, to me, it was more of a chronicle of the rise and fall of a prominent family, with a heavy focus of Edward, his court and courtiers, contemporary politics, peppered with quite a few side journeys into other areas which I found to be both distracting, unnecessary, and of no real interest to me. 

I came into this with an already sound knowledge of the Wars of the Roses, so what I was hoping for was more of an analytical approach to the three brothers and their inter-personal relationships; I felt that there should have been more focus on this aspect to explain why the dynasty imploded ".. within a generation.." I guess I wanted a more psycho-analytical approach to explain the family dynamic - Edward (the sunne in splendour), George (the petulant middle child), Richard (the broody dark horse) - these explorations were few and far between.  Edward's nepotism on a grand scale was hardly a secret and that this would have created bitterness and tension amongst his brothers and his supporters is not surprising but this is hardly unique as history is, quite frankly, full of similar stories.

I hugely enjoyed Penn's Winter King: The Dawn of Tudor England (bio on Henry Tudor) so was looking forward to this - but left feeling just a little disappointed in that it was not structured how I thought it would have been and really, for me personally, there was nothing that I had not already read in various other tomes.  

As I mentioned, nothing should be taken away from this book as it is a quite good re-telling of the Wars of the Roses.
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A fascinating, and well-written book.  I thought I knew a fair amount about this period of history, but I was very wrong.  I found this a very easy read, however, so it was a real pleasure to immerse myself in such an interesting, and scholarly book.
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If ever a book provided a better perspective on a period of history I have yet to read it. Not only is The Brothers York scholarly, historically accurate and brilliantly researched, it is incredibly readable. Thomas Penn is to be congratulated on compiling such an impressive tome. Make no bones about it ,this isn't a book to read over a couple of days. It will hold you rivetted for a couple of weeks. It is almost impossible to believe what Edward, Clarence and Richard got up to. Two of these brothers became Kings of England  Clarence was the only one not to become King. He was put to death by Edward using ""embracery"- a wonderful 15th century word that meant to rig justice.   You couldn't make up the treachery and double-dealing that these brothers got up to. The worst example was when ,on Edward's death, in order to become King himself, Richard locked Edward's sons in the Tower and subsequently murdered them. And that's not the half of it!  They stole taxes levied on the citizenry for their own benefit, they were happy to betroth their children if it meant potential territorial gain, they raised taxes for Rome only to then add them to their own coffers, and they did trade deals with the Pope in exchange for Papal dispensations allowing inter-familial marriages. The research required  into all the documentation, covering the period 1450 to 1535, required to compile this book is simply mind-boggling. Thomas Penn's ability to order it into such a compelling and readable tale is truly exceptional. Great books shouldn't only engage their reader,the best are able to transport them to another era. Penn does this effortlessly with The Brothers York. My book of the year.
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This is such a lively and accessible version of the history of the House of York. Luckily I didnt realise what a weighty tome it was before I downloaded it or I might have been put off and missed such a fascinating read.
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As a history nerd I found this fascinating. It isn't a quick read, nor a simple one, but it had me gripped. I had to keep taking short breaks to absorb what I wrote but the writing is in the form of a novel, rather than a dry history textbook, so I found myself going back and back for more. The work is well researched - about 15% of the book is the reference list alone - and I found out so much more about this period than I had learned at school. Recommended for fellow history nerds.
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Not being British, but having a great interest in all things British, including their long history, I was very happy to receive a digital review copy of this book. 
It is not the kind of book you finish within a few days. On the contrary, it took me a few weeks because there is so much going on I had to think about what I've read (and occasionally consult Wikipedia for more comprehensive details of this part of history). 
This book is beautifully written and very entertaining. Not just for lovers of history though; it's well worth reading if you enjoy thick volumes full of interesting characters. 

Thanks to Netgalley for this digital review copy.
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History tomes can be hard to read but this has a certain air of a novel or drama about it. Written with more flair than you often find in the dusty world of History, new interpretations, new discoveries, and all the wealth of information that came with the discovery of Richard himself excuses yet another book on a well worn topic.

What mostly comes out of this new look at the Wars of the Roses is that firstly, history never stands still and what we thought we know is always up for revision - one discovery can change everything.

And secondly, the vast importance of carparks. Had this particular carpark been built on, like so many others across the country, what treasure we would have lost forever.
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Blame it all on the game of light on snow. Three suns, three sons of York and everything they've done to themselves and England.
The Brothers York by Thomas Penn is a very fresh and detailed account of the end of War of Roses in England. It is not as much about York versus Lancaster then it is about York against York. We are humans, the worst animals there. Things we can do to each other are endless in their cruelty and cunning. There is nothing that can last forever. Games of politics, money, lust and everything in between are played on the scenes of battlefields, palaces' halls and country roads.
A very useful and interesting read to those who are interested in the British history of the period and those of us who are interested in the history of human nature. Crown on your head does not mean a thing... there is nothing sacred in this world.
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This is a well-researched and thorough book but, my goodness, it does go on a bit. I found that I put the book down to read something a bit lighter and wasn't compelled to pick it up again. This is as much a reflection (probably more so) on my attention span than the skill of the author. If you like heavy tomes about history then you'll probably love this book, but it just wasn't for me.
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For those interested in the pre Tudor period this book is a must. It cuts through the myth and gives the historical facts. I am not able to read this as a novel but keep going back to it. I recently read Sunne In Splendour which is a well researched novel of the same period and this is a good companion to that.
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