The Last Days of Richard III

John Ashdown-Hill

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The Last Days of Richard III

The Last Days of Richard III What Richard III did in his last five months what happened to his body and how his DNA was found in Canada A new and uniquely detailed exploration of Richard s last days explores these events fr

  • Title: The Last Days of Richard III
  • Author: John Ashdown-Hill
  • ISBN: 9780752454047
  • Page: 266
  • Format: Hardcover
  • What Richard III did in his last five months, what happened to his body, and how his DNA was found in Canada A new and uniquely detailed exploration of Richard s last 150 days explores these events from the standpoint of Richard himself and his contemporaries By deliberately avoiding the hindsight knowledge that he will lose the Battle of Bosworth Field, this book presentWhat Richard III did in his last five months, what happened to his body, and how his DNA was found in Canada A new and uniquely detailed exploration of Richard s last 150 days explores these events from the standpoint of Richard himself and his contemporaries By deliberately avoiding the hindsight knowledge that he will lose the Battle of Bosworth Field, this book presents a new Richard no passive victim, awaiting defeat and death, but a king actively pursuing his own policies and agenda It also reexamines the aftermath of Bosworth the treatment of Richard s body, his burial, and the construction of his tomb Based on newly discovered evidence and wider insights it explores the motives underlying these events And there is the fascinating story of why and how Richard III s DNA was rediscovered, alive and well, and living in Canada This is a stimulating and thought provoking account of the end of Richard s life even readers very familiar with his short life will discover a new and fascinating picture of him.

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    One thought on “The Last Days of Richard III

    1. Sarah (Presto agitato) on said:

      Richard III was King of England for only two years, but the story of his brief reign is a notorious one. His suspected misdeeds, the most disturbing of which is the accusation that he murdered his young nephews in order to usurp the throne, were immortalized by Shakespeare. He lost his crown and his life to Henry Tudor at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. For obvious reasons, there wasn’t much in the way of a ceremonious funeral, and the location of his gravesite was lost to history.Enter the Ri [...]

    2. Nikki on said:

      The idea of looking at the last days of Richard III's life as if the battle of Bosworth's outcome was unknown seems so obvious to me that I'm wondering why it wasn't done before. It's only a literary text that can plant portents and a sense of fatalism in Richard III's story: as this book shows, he expected to win at Bosworth, and he was a man of considerable piety and courage. The version of Richard III shown in Shakespeare's plays (as elsewhere, of course) is a part of the Tudor myth -- no sur [...]

    3. Margaret Sankey on said:

      Although some of the Richard III Society people can veer off into the nutty, this is a useful corrective to the Shakespearean doomed Richard III, since actual records showed that he not only expected to win against the little Tudor invasion, he was actively pursuing a Portuguese marriage, installing various relatives in positions of authority and carrying on thoroughly non-nefarious royal business as usual.

    4. Joan Szechtman on said:

      I have just started reading the Kindle edition of The Last Days of Richard III and the fate of his DNA by John Ashdown-Hill. I don't often recommend a book until I finish it--but this is a must read. John has a lovely sense of humor and a dry style, but I'm finding this book a page turner, nonetheless.In the case of books published by The History Press (THP), I find the ebooks preferable to the print if for no other reason than THP uses really small type face, especially in their paperbacks. Ano [...]

    5. Elizabeth Ashworth on said:

      An interesting account of the last few months of the life and reign of Richard III. John Ashdown-Hill makes the important point that although this time is generally regarded as unimportant except as the lead up to the battle of Bosworth, King Richard did not know he would be killed. Although Henry Tudor was a threat, he probably didn't see him as a huge threat - more of a minor irritation. Richard expected to defeat him and spent these months busily planning the rest of his life and his reign. N [...]

    6. Ruth on said:

      I have long followed the historical arguments surrounding the life, reign and death of Richard III. I have always felt very uneasy that a, seemingly, competent soldier, pious and generous young prince, and devoted brother could have so changed, on the death of said brother, and turn into the monster portrayed by Shakespeare. So many of the elements of his story, as left to us, have never added up to a whole - there is a huge gap in the extant records which will probably never be filled. John Ash [...]

    7. Éowyn on said:

      This is only a fairly short book with a limited focus, but nevertheless I found it very interesting. It's odd really, because opinion on the subject tends to be so polarised that it's easy to lose sight of a few simple facts and some of what Ashdown-Hill presents here should really be so obvious! For starters, for all the association of Bosworth with Richard III he didn't know it was going to happen and obviously didn't go in 'knowing' that he was going to be defeated - hindsight may be a great [...]

    8. Juliet Waldron on said:

      John Ashdown-Hill is a historian and member of the Royal Historical Society and the Richard III society. With several non-fiction books already to his credit, he brings close attention to bear upon the last eight months of the King’s life. As a Ricardian since my '60's teens, I felt the author’s insights as important as his research . For instance, we know how the king’s story ends, but it’s wrong to let that knowledge color how we imagine his last months. We are given permission to “f [...]

    9. Claire on said:

      Già prima che il caro estinto venisse ritrovato sotto un parcheggio di Leicester a settembre dell'anno scorso, John Ashdown-Hill aveva fatto una serie di importanti ricerche: da tempo aveva iniziato una ricostruzione della linea di ascendenza e discendenza della madre di Riccardo III, Cecily Neville, partendo da Catherine Swynford e arrivando fino alla signora Joy Ibsen in Canada. Aveva anche identificato il luogo preciso in cui doveva trovarsi il coro (considerato il punto più probabile) dell [...]

    10. Amy on said:

      I was disappointed in this book. It came out shorty after the confirmation of the find of Richard III 's body so I assumed it was about his final days and the search for and confirmation of his body. It is really a poorly written time line of his last days and the tedious account with many sidetracks about how the DNA that could be used to confirm the body of Richard III's body if it was discovered was tracked down. If you want to know about Richard's last days, I would actually recommend the mu [...]

    11. Melisende d'Outremer on said:

      Interesting take on the final days of a rather intriguing king. Not a one sided affair as most studies on Richard III tend to be but a more balanced tome. My only gripe - how does modern DNA studies enalble us to "discern the real Richard III" considering he left no heirs. The DNA chapter woukd have been better left for another study rather than "the last days" of Richard III.

    12. Jena on said:

      Esta biografía de Ricardo III tiene como única novedad la investigación que se hizo luego de encontrarse sus restos en un estacionamiento en Leicester a principios de este siglo. Mediante pruebas de ADN mitocondrial se encontró en Canadá la única superviviente de la línea de los Plantagenet de York.Respecto a la muerte de los hijos de su hermano el rey Eduardo IV, cuya desaparición y muerte se le achaca al "Tío Maldito" , parece que fue una historia inventada por su primo y usurpador de [...]

    13. Hurricanekerrie on said:

      "The attitudes adopted by historians tend to reflect the personal preferences of the writer." -author John Ashdown-Hill. In a refreshing show of candor, Ashdown-Hill prefaces this book by admitting that he tends to side with the Yorkists in this dispute about the Crown during the Wars of the Roses. He also categorically states that he believes that Richard III has a superior claim to the throne than his missing nephew, Edward V (Edward IV's son and one of the 'princes in the Tower'), as he and h [...]

    14. Ellen Ekstrom on said:

      Who hasn't seen a production of Shakespeare's "The Tragedy of King Richard III" and thought, 'whoa, no one could be that bad, well, 'cept King John" That's what I thought when I first saw Olivier's devilishly wicked and wonderful portrayal of Richard and started me on a lifetime of interest and research into the life and times of the last Yorkist/Plantagenet king. Mr. Ashdown-Hill does the continuing debate over this much-maligned king a service by setting forth a chronology of what Richard's la [...]

    15. Norman Revill on said:

      If you're a Ricardian, you'll give this 5 stars. If not, you'll enjoy the first half and then be bored by the detail. This is serious stuff, but then the author has a very serious point to make - that the remains found in that Leicester car park are indeed those of King Richard III - and he makes it with a rigour that should satisfy the most stringent examining board, or jury. Of course, establishing that long-dead remains are indeed those of a King of England tells us little of the man's person [...]

    16. Noah Goats on said:

      If I started reading this short book in April and am just finishing it today (June 2), clearly, it was not a page turner. The first half was a scattershot assembly of details about how Richard lived on a day to day basis and what he did in his last hours (including boring digressions on subjects such as what happened to the last bed he slept in). The last half was about his DNA and how his body could be definitively identified. In particular the role of mitochondrial DNA, which I hadn't previous [...]

    17. Amy on said:

      I picked up this book after reading a reference to it in an archaeological article about recent excavations to locate the remains of Richard III. In that context, the book read much like justification for a research grant and excavation permit.The writing is accessible to a non-Ricardian scholar, though the Latin and Middle English could have used translation in the footnotes. I'm not always up for reading out loud in public which is the easiest way for me to read and interpret Middle English. T [...]

    18. Neeuqdrazil on said:

      This was REALLY well done. Ashdown-Hill explicitly and consciously went back to source material, and re-examined the last 150 days of Richard III's reign (from just after Anne's death to his own death at Bosworth) almost day by day. One interesting point was that his interpretation/reading of the famous letter from Elizabeth of York to the Duke of Norfolk (which has traditionally been understood to refer to Richard's plans to marry Elizabeth himself) was very different. His reading is that it's [...]

    19. Louise on said:

      The Last Days + Burial + DNA Research Regarding, April 19, 2011This book is all three of the above. The last days parts cover the events, the daily life and the political situation of Richard III at the end of his life. A third of the text covers the burial, aftermath and a discussion of DNA.There is an analysis of the disputed theories regarding the night before the Battle of Bosworth, Richard III's Burial, Henry Tudor's claim to the throne and other issues. There is a lot of ready reference in [...]

    20. Nathan Albright on said:

      One of the more entertaining controversies about English history and its contemporary relevance is the fight that goes on over the life and behavior of Richard III.  Some of the facts involved are easy to determine.  Richard III took power after the death of his older brother Edward IV, he put the princes in the Tower of London where they were never seen again and soon were thought to have been killed, he was unable to secure the legitimacy of his line after the death of his wife and his only [...]

    21. AvidReader on said:

      It is interesting how history changes depending on perspective. The historical propaganda regarding Richard III is incredibly tenaciousbut Shakespeare’s plays are influential and wellknown throughout the world!This well researched book provides new and compelling information that creates an entirely different view of Richard than most believe. I highly recommend this book for Anglophile’s that are interested in the British monarchy, War of the Roses and/or the Tudor-Stuart dynasty. The book [...]

    22. Kaye on said:

      Interesting subject, but painfully academic writing. Apparently the first edition of this book provided the information to locate Richard's grave, resulting in the funding that led to digging up the parking lot. A-H also traced the genealogy the find a sample of mitochondrial DNA that was used to identify the remains.

    23. Helen on said:

      A fascinating look into the life and death of Richard Isi including a hundred plus pages of appendices packed full of corroborating information The author has sleuthed his way through 500 years of history and his research into Dna is mind boggling. Well done for a very interesting subject and read.

    24. Madmam on said:

      John Ashdown-Hill's book is an interesting and uncomplicated attempt to repair years of poor scholarship and embellished accounts of Richard III. Covering the last 150 days of Richard III's life, the book re-examines aspects of the king's character, his reign, and his reputation and treatment in the hands of his successor, Henry VII, and what that tells us about Rich himself.For people interested in this area of scholarship, JAH's book surely will provide troves of new and largely uncontentious [...]

    25. Mark Maguire on said:

      This was an entertaining, and intriguing read, concerned primarily with the incredible demise of Plantagenet King Richard III. At the time of writing, interest in Richard III is on a steady ascendancy following the remarkable discovery of the former King's mortal remains in Leicester. Having watched a number of documentaries on the discovery, and prior to this, a stipped-down performance of Richard III at the Lichfield Garrick. It felt like a suitable moment to "learn more" about the man behind [...]

    26. S.C. Skillman on said:

      The story of Richard III to me illustrates how nothing in this life can guarantee any particular outcome. And as I read "the book that inspired the dig": The Last Days of Richard III and the fate of his DNA by John Ashdown-Hill, this was brought vividly alive to me.According to Ashdown-Hill, historian, genealogist, and member of the Richard III Society, Richard III was a young man probably too kind, too naive and too forgiving. If anything sewed the seeds of his downfall at the Battle of Boswort [...]

    27. Phil Syphe on said:

      I read the 2013 revised version of this tome, which is updated to include the discovery of Richard III's body in Leicester in 2012. Info from the first edition led to the car park being dug up and ultimately discovering the last of England's Plantagenet kings situated where the author of this book predicted it to be.The first half of the book does as the title suggests, namely covering the last Yorkist king's final days. Primarily, it's the final 150 days of Richard's life that's discussed, thou [...]

    28. Kara on said:

      Ashdown-Hill presents the radical thesis that Richard III did not know that the last year of his life was the last year of his life.At first glance the reaction is ’well, duh’. (Fun fact, this was my boyfriend’s reaction when I told him what I was reading.) Unless one has a terminal diagnosis, it’s rare to know when, exactly, your sands are about to run out.But Ashdown-Hill (rightfully) points out that historians have tended to let hindsight color histories of the last of the Plantagenet [...]

    29. Damaskcat on said:

      This is a truly fascinating book for anyone who is interested in history and how modern discoveries can change or confirm what we know about history. The book focuses on the last one hundred and fifty days of Richard III’s short reign. The author painstakingly tracks down all the references he can find in contemporary documents and shows the way Richard might have led his life during those days and what sort of surroundings he lived in.It is all too easy to get bogged down in the controversy a [...]

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