The Best Books On The Wars Of The Roses

The Books I Picked & Why

The Wars of the Roses

By John Gillingham

The Wars of the Roses

Why this book?

Where to start? There are so many books but John Gillingham’s study of the Wars of the Roses, though published many years ago is still in my view the best overall account. Why? Because this is a topic where contradictory views abound yet this author manages to bring some common sense to his analysis. It cuts through many of the current – and older – myths on this subject. It is also a very good read and covers the whole period very well. Anyone starting to explore this subject should try to unearth a copy of this work.


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Edward IV (The English Monarchs Series)

By Charles Ross

Edward IV (The English Monarchs Series)

Why this book?

Like Gillingham’s book, it was published decades ago yet it is still the best overall work on Edward IV. Ross manages to give the reader a clear picture of this king and the tumultuous events in which he played a pivotal role. It is a balanced, thoughtful account which is ideal for a newcomer to the subject.


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The Woodvilles: The Wars of the Roses and England's Most Infamous Family

By Susan Higginbotham

The Woodvilles: The Wars of the Roses and England's Most Infamous Family

Why this book?

Despite the prominence of the Woodville family throughout the Wars of the Roses, there are few books about any of them. Often references to them are lifted from dubious and unsubstantiated sources and repeated on the internet and, I’m afraid, elsewhere too, as fact. Few scholars of the period have really given the family close scrutiny but that is what Susan Higginbotham has done. She has truly lifted a veil from the Woodvilles and her book is essential reading for anyone who wants an unbiased take on this very important group of people.


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Richard III and the Princes in the Tower

By A. J. Pollard

Richard III and the Princes in the Tower

Why this book?

There are so many books about these two boys that one could be forgiven for not reading any of them. But, if you are going to read one make it this one. Pollard knows what he is talking about because he has a background of authoritative historical study second to none. What you’ll find in this book is as near as anyone is going to get to a balanced account. Forget all the dark myths and whitewashes of Richard III and just read this book.


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Bosworth: The Birth of the Tudors

By Chris Skidmore

Bosworth: The Birth of the Tudors

Why this book?

The Battle of Bosworth was a defining point – arguably, the defining point of the period and there have been many books written about it. This is as good as any and better than most. Skidmore gives a comprehensive context for and account of the battle. The book was published in 2013 so it takes into account much of the recent archaeological work which has been done to locate and describe the battlefield itself. It is a very useful guide indeed because, though Skidmore analyses possibilities where evidence is hard to come by, he does not stray into the realms of fantasy.


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