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Richard III

The Great Debate

By (author) Paul Murray Kendall
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, Sydney, Australia
Published: 30th Nov 1955
Dimensions: w 150mm h 240mm
ISBN-10: 0049420488
ISBN-13: 9780049420489
Barcode No: 9780049420489

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Kirkus US
There is nothing devilish about Richard here, in a illiantly written biography comes at a time when its subject is being cast up before the public eye in a different form. A professor at the University of Ohio, Paul Murray Kendall has shown himself as a writer-historian fully able to regard the panoply of 15th century England in all its trappings and to describe them with a tremendous capacity for relating events in perspective and in a fresh, imaginative style. Form the start, he makes no bones about his partisanship; he is definitely on Richard's side, not to build him up as a hero but to make him a man of his times who did the best he could within the limits of background, social mores and his own character. And, like monarchs before and after him, Richard had much to deal with. The traits that come over forcefully to us are described from nearly youth on: his childhood as a weakling dominated by the brightnesses of his brothers, George and Edward, his determination, in later residence with Warwick the Kingmaker, to become physically strong; his growing regard for Edward and the action he took when only in his teens to help him break the baronial power over the crown which so dramatically ended at Barnet, and left Richard, at 19, the prop of the throne. Presumably happily for them both, Richard married Warwick's daughter, Anne, and the next decade was spent as Lord of the North, aiding his brother in the maintenance of a steady kingdom. Yet there was the irony of history in the plotting of the Woodvilles, the family into which Edward had married, and Richard, continually aware of the threat, they presented, grew in his conviction that the single stroke of violence could well prevent widespread disorder. However wrong or right he was in this becomes secondary to the duties he took rightfully upon himself at Edward's death. The plots and counterplots that made him king in a bloody morass (the murder of the two princes is discussed clinically in an appendix) seemed tragic strokes of fortune which deterred Richard's puritanism, his wish to hold the hearts of the people and establish a kingdom orderly in the sight of God. His efforts ended with the return of Henry Tudor but grief and disloyalties at home had taken their toll. If it is partiean, this is nevertheless splendid history, and should find its place among the inspired biographies. (Kirkus Reviews)