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Publisher's Summary

Lancater and York is a riveting account of the Wars of the Roses, from the beloved and best-selling historian Alison Weir. The war between the houses of Lancaster and York was characterised by treachery, deceit, and bloody battles. Alison Weir's lucid and gripping account focuses on the human side of history. At the centre of the book stands Henry VI, the pious king whose mental instability led to political chaos, and his wife Margaret of Anjou, who took up her arms in her husband's cause and battled in a violent man's world.

©1995 Alison Weir (P)2012 W F Howes Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Story

Medieval Murder and Mayhem

The time before the Tudors has always confused me - its a turbulent history of different dynasties deposing kings and restorations, of genealogies and bloody battles. The Tower of London the main prison at that time almost had a revolving door on it!

It intrigued me but remained confused - not so after Alison Weir's book. I was riveted and hung on every sentence as the political ambitions were explained as were why and how thing happened in the sequence they did. Weir obviously did extensive research and it showed but not in a negative learned way but in precise and clear explanations.

My only criticisms were the annoying translation of pounds, shillings and pence into modern pounds and "pees" but leaving Marks and Livres totally untranslated to modern amounts and Maggie Mash's accents grated occasionally.

I recommend this book to those who love old English history and a jolly good tale of medieval murder and mayhem.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Dense, fascinating history...questionable delivery

If you are narrating a brilliant historical tome, and you feel the urge to give the French chroniclers silly French accents, and the Italian ambassador a silly Italian accent, and the Scotsmen a Groundskeeper Willie accent...don’t. Just. Don’t. It’s really distracting.

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great story annoying voices.

really good telling of a fascinating period in English history, the narration is good, however the accents are very off putting.

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  • Stephen
  • Whitstable, United Kingdom
  • 10-20-12

Clear, engaging, and fascinating

Alison Weir has that rare gift of making the convoluted and confusing seem clear and straightforward. She also brings various of the key personalities to life, reminding us that in this violent era,, it was as much people's foibles as glorious leadership, that forged countries.



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  • Alison
  • 11-04-14

Incredible Events - Oddly Dull in Presentation

It is a bit dull, which is odd considering the incredible events that it covers are so dramatic. I like 'academic' presentations and I think AW does a great job in this, and her other non-fiction titles, at making history live, whilst retaining historical integrity.

But in this book, I wonder if part of the problem is the narration. The reader has a nice voice, when she is just reading. A bit querulous, but soothing. But the accents - European and all sorts of growly, British attempts, were really quite annoying. AW always tells us that, for example, the Italian Ambassador is about to speak; I do not need a theatrical Italian accent to drive this point home. If it was a novel, maybe it would be alright, but it's not.

Anyway, I carried on to the end, despite several times thinking I'd pack it in. I learned a lot, I just didn't enjoy it very much.

22 of 22 people found this review helpful

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  • michael
  • 12-23-12

Reasonable effort

The content is interesting but the narrator is annoying when she does the silly voices all the time. It really breaks the pace

31 of 32 people found this review helpful

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  • Anna Raatikainen
  • 07-09-15

Interesting story but poor narrator

I like Alison Weir's books but I truly wish they had chosen another reader. She had a really annoying way to mimic Italian and French accents, old man's voice etc. It's hard to focus in the story when the narrator stands out - and not in a pleasant way.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • eleanor
  • 09-29-13

Nearly excellent

Fascinating story but the bizarre accents in reported speech were infuriating and really spoilt the pleasure of this magnificent book

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • Kirstine
  • 11-26-12

A complex time in history brought to life

The War of the Roses is a complex period of English history, but I felt that this book made it much more interesting and brought the characters to life. There's a lot of historical detail and many characters to keep track of, but I found it an engaging story. I knew the bare bones of the conflict, but learned a lot from this book. If you like history, you'll enjoy the book. The reader is good.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Patabee
  • 08-15-13

Good value for money

Very good book, but spoiled by the narration. Magpie Mash over-does the "quotes'" by trying to act the character's voice. I found this to be very irritating, and it seemed over-indulgent on her part. Apart from this, she reads very well, but someone needs to have a word with her!
Having said that, I have listened to this book time and time again. This period of history is very interesting but, as I listen in bed, I fall asleep so there is always something I have missed!
I would recommend to anyone interested in medieval history.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Steven
  • 12-11-12

Excellent narrative and insights

The only downside with this book is its length - it's a bit of an endurance test, as the author has to reach back to the period of Richard 2nd (near 60 years before the Wars of the Roses started) to set the essential background. But once you get into the central theme of the political intrigues surrounding the reign of Henry 6th you will find yourself wanting to know what happens next (and it's usually another battle of some new act of treachery and betrayal - all great stuff !).

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • 120131
  • 10-08-13

good book peppered with annoying distractions

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

yes, I would. The story is obviously fascinating

Who was your favorite character and why?

all the ones mentioned

Any additional comments?

I do not understand why the author decided to add throughout the whole book annoying and useless interjections related to what the equivalent of shillings would be in pennies but overlooked to actually research and inform us on the value of what that money would be worth today. Therefore the reader is subjected to an endless list of what the court staff was paid such as for example: "100 shillings - the equivalent of £5 - per year" what useless information! Why didn't the author bother to find out what the equivalent of 100 shillings or £5 per year in 1446 would be today?

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Fatmusketeer
  • 12-08-12

Fastinating and gripping history

I bought this book because I am familiar with Shakespeare's history plays and wanted to find out more about the events of the Wars of the Roses. The book is well reasearched, full of detail and covers the period of the plays between Richard II and the end of Henry VI Part 3. It tells very clearly the gripping history of the period and the story of the vivid characters such as Queen Margaret of Anjou and Warwick the Kingmaker.

My one quibble is the same as that of a previous reviewer. The narrator is generally excellent, but I found the use of accents and voices for the quotes overdone (Allo', Allo' sometimes sprang to mind!).

I would particularly recommend this book to anyone with a knowledge of Shakespeare's history plays, particularly the Henry VI trilogy. It will enrich your enjoyment of the plays and the plays add resonance to the events narrated in the book.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • phantom lover
  • 11-16-12

Lots of detail

This is a well researched book.Full of lots of detail which helps to bring it to life.Generally I found it enjoyable,the only little niggle is Maggie Mashs' habit of using accents on every quote and it has 1 or 2 boring bits.But still informative and interesting otherwise.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Simon
  • 04-11-17

Fantastic history

As someone who has always had an interest in this period of English history, this book was fantastic. I always found understanding how all the different families fitted into the story difficult and this book helped make that clear. Was also nice to get more insight into people's motivation for choosing sides.

Like others didn't see the need for the narrator to put on the accents but for me it didn't really distract from the story.

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