The crown of England changed hands five times over the course of the fifteenth century, as two branches of the Plantagenet dynasty fought to the death for the right to rule. In this riveting follow-up to The Plantagenets, celebrated historian Dan Jones describes how the longest-reigning British royal family tore itself apart until it was finally replaced by the Tudors.
Some of the greatest heroes and villains of history were thrown together in these turbulent times, from Joan of Arc and Henry V, whose victory at Agincourt marked the high point of the medieval monarchy, to Richard III, who murdered his own nephews in a desperate bid to secure his stolen crown. This was a period when headstrong queens and consorts seized power and bent men to their will. With vivid descriptions of the battles of Towton and Bosworth, where the last Plantagenet king was slain, this dramatic narrative history revels in bedlam and intrigue. It also offers a long-overdue corrective to Tudor propaganda, dismantling their self-serving account of what they called the Wars of the Roses.
“He wasn’t an especially charismatic or commanding individual, but what he lacked in personality he emphatically made up for in diligence.”
“If the cycle of violence that had engulfed the English Crown for nearly five decades seemed finally to be coming to an end, it was only because there were so few candidates left to kill.”
“Here was a king who saw his subjects as peers and allies around whom he had grown up rather than semi-alien entities to be suspected and persecuted.”
“In the case of Exeter, York’s superior blood status was explicitly recognized in the first duke of Exeter’s articles of ennoblement. The first duke died in 1447, but his heir, the young Henry Holland, was even more closely tied to York’s family: he was married to York’s daughter Anne, and had been in York’s custody when he was a minor. As recently as 1448 York and the duke of Somerset had been granted lands in joint trusteeship—a sign that there was no division (yet) perceived between those two men.7 Humphrey,”
(The Wars of the Roses Quotes by Dan Jones, 2014)
Praise for The Wars of the Roses
“Exhilarating, epic, blood-and-roses history. There are battles fought in snowstorms, beheadings, jousts, clandestine marriages, spurious genealogies, flashes of chivalry and streaks of pure malevolence. . . .Jones’s material is thrilling, but it is quite a task to sift, select, structure, and contextualize the information. There is fine scholarly intuition on display here and a mastery of the grand narrative; it is a supremely skillful piece of storytelling.”
The Sunday Telegraph
“Jones’s greatest skill as a historical writer is to somehow render sprawling, messy epochs such as this one into manageable, easily digestible matter; he is keenly tuned to what should be served up and what should be omitted. And he still finds rooms for the telling anecdote and vivid descriptive passage. It makes for an engrossing read and a thoroughly enjoyable introduction to the Lancastrian-Yorkist struggle.”
“If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones or The Tudors then Dan Jones’ swashbucklingly entertaining slice of medieval history will be right up your alley… Every bit as entertaining and readable as his previous blockbuster The Plantagenets.”
“Jones is a born storyteller, peopling the terrifying uncertainties of each moment with a superbly drawn cast of characters and powerfully evoking the brutal realities of civil war. With gripping urgency, he shows this calamitous conflict unfold.”
The Evening Standard
“Jones tells a good story. That is a good thing, since storytelling has gone out of favor among so many historians. . . He admits that the era is at times incomprehensible, yet he manages to impose upon it sufficient order to render this book both edifying and utterly entertaining. His delightful wit is as ferocious as the dreadful violence he describes.”
The Times (London)
“A fine new history . . . Tautly structured, elegantly written, and finely attuned to the values and sensibilities of the age, The Wars of the Roses is probably the best introduction to the conflict currently in print.”
The Mail on Sunday
“It’s not often that a book manages to be both scholarly and a page-turner, but Jones succeeds on both counts in this entertaining follow-up to his bestselling The Plantagenets. . . He sets a new high-water mark in the current revisionism of the Tudor era.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Jones authoritatively sets the scene for the 15th-century succession crises . . . valiantly pared down for fluid readability.”
Genre: Non-fiction history
Age Range: Adult
Start Rating: 4 stars
Publication Date: 6th October 2015
Author: Dan Jones
Daniel Gwynne Jones, a British historian, television host, and reporter, was born on July 27th, 1981. He received his education at The Royal Latin School, a grammar school in Buckingham, and later went on to attend Pembroke College at Cambridge University.
Dan Jones’ initial work in the field of history was a well-received account of the English Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, called Summer of Blood: The Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, which was released in 2009.
Jones’ subsequent book, The Plantagenets: The Kings Who Made England, was published in 2012 in the UK and a year later in the US, where it became a best-seller according to the New York Times. The book, which covers the history of the Plantagenet dynasty from Henry II to Richard II, received favorable critiques from reviewers.
Jones’ third historical work, The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses and the Rise of the Tudors, which was released in 2014, continues from where The Plantagenets ended and covers the period from 1420 to 1541, starting with the death of Henry V and ending with the execution of Margaret Pole, who was Henry VIII’s cousin. Jones’ fourth book, also published in 2014, is about the Magna Carta and is titled Magna Carta: The Making and Legacy of the Great Charter.
Jones’ fifth book, The Templars, The Rise and the Spectacular Fall of God’s Holy Warriors, was published in September 2017 and focuses on the Knights Templar. Jones also served as a historical consultant on the 2018 historical drama Knightfall and presented its official podcast.
In August 2018, Jones collaborated with Marina Amaral to release The Colour of Time: A New History of the World, 1850–1960. He worked with Amaral again in 2020 for the publication of The World Aflame. Jones’ Crusaders: The Epic History of the Wars for the Holy Land was released on September 5, 2019 and covers the Crusades starting from 1096. Powers and Thrones: A New History of the Middle Ages was published by Head of Zeus in 2021.
Jones’ first foray into historical fiction was with his 2022 book Essex Dogs, which is part of a planned trilogy. The book details the experiences of a group of archers and men-at-arms during the Hundred Years’ War.
Books from same author
Wikipedia Contributors. (2023, January 1). Dan Jones (writer). Wikipedia; Wikimedia Foundation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Jones_(writer)
License & Copyright
The copyright holder has published this content under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. When republishing on the web a hyperlink back to the original content source URL must be included. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms.
If I have mistakenly misused any of your content, artwork, images or videos, please contact me on email@example.com and I will take the necessary corrective action.