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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

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    68
  • 4 Stars
    36
  • 3 Stars
    16
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    61
  • 4 Stars
    29
  • 3 Stars
    9
  • 2 Stars
    7
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    3

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    65
  • 4 Stars
    27
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

to be listened to more than once.

Maggie Mash is a wonderful narrator. I always find something I missed in the original listen. Alison Weir always manages to write real history and include the juicy bits.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Narration is awful but still a good story

The narrator is awful, and very irritating in that every time she reads a quote from the book she puts on some great affectation with a strange accent. She ends up sounding like a cackling witch from a Shakespearean play. The author does good Job of telling an interesting story about a time. I’m very interested in. This is the second book from this author that I have purchased, and I am looking forward to listening to many more.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Good read

Accents by the narrarator were unnecessary, and pacing was a touch slow for my taste, but overall well delivered.

The book itself is generally unbiased, if clearly critical of York, Lancaster and Tudor. I was a bit annoyed, as I had hoped the book continues farther a few years to include Bosworth, but I still enjoyed the finish.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

New insights into the Cousin's War

I really enjoyed this book about the events leading up to and the early years of the War of the Roses. Most authors start with the reign of Henry VI, however Ms. Weir starts earlier with the reign of Henry IV and the beginning of the Houses of Lancaster and York, all decedents of John of Gaunt. Given this perspective one is allowed to understand the family conflicts that lead to the war. This perspective on the story gives us new insight into why it is indeed the Cousin's War.

Previous reviewers have commented negatively on Ms. Mash's narration due to her use of accents. I do agree that they were grating, especially since they were mostly used for phrases within a sentence. However, we must remember that things such as the use of accents and the placement of these accents falls within the purview of the director not the narrator. The director is responsible for this decision, not the reader. On the whole I have always enjoyed Ms. Mash's narration of books and I will not hold the director's decision against her.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Good but dense

The narrator did a great job and the history was interesting, but it was fairly dense and sometimes hard to keep the Lords straight, especially when they were only referred to by their seats.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Never Could have Gotten Thru this book without Audible

Extremely detailed account of the intrigues, treacheries, murders, and rebellions collectively called the Wars of the Roses. If I had attempted to read this book, I'm sure I would not have finished it. Lots of place names and names of Dukes, Earls, kings, etc. made it challenging, but listening vs. reading made a huge difference. The reader did a marvelous job and was easy to listen to. She used different voices when reading quotes, of which there were many, and this helped a lot in following the narrative. I feel very well informed now, about the second half of the 15th century in England. It must have been a hard life for those who managed to die a natural death. For the many who died in battles, or who were decapitated, drawn and quartered, and had their head stuck in a pike for all the town to see, being on the losing side was to be avoided at all costs.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent overview!

Very enjoyable overview of an oft-overlooked entire slice of English history. While Shakespeare treated this time period well, modern historians have been blasé. Alison Weir takes a fresh look based on contemporary writings gathered from a variety of European sources. My only complaint was with Maggie Mash, who persisted in lapsing into accented English while reading from said sources. While this gave the narration a Monte Python-esque aspect, in general it was fairly annoying. Still giving this a 4 - star rating, based on its 5 - star story!

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

26 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • 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

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • 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

32 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • 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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • 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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • 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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • 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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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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.