The Mythology of Richard III
By John Ashdown-Hill
John Ashdown-Hill’s book is not another account of Richard III’s rule, rather it is a new look at a man who is shrouded in mystery and myth. Ashdown-Hill’s book sets out to present the fables and myths that have built up around Richard III from the moment of his death until now. Over the last five hundred years Richard III has been slated as a usurper, a tyrant, a man responsible for the death of his wife (not to mention both of his nephews the famous ‘Princes in the Tower’). He’s been reported to have a vicious temper as well as a hunched back and a withered arm. Ashdown-Hill addresses all of these myths and many more and provides evidence to challenge them.
John Ashdown-Hill was involved with the discovery of Richard III’s skeleton in 2012. Unfortunately from his writing it is clear that he held an issue with the University of Leicester and although sometimes justified, this does come out throughout his book in some of the comments that he makes. However putting this aside the book is thoroughly researched, drawing upon contemporary or as near as possible evidence to bust many of the myths that have built up around Richard III. It is clear that Ashdown-Hill has a strong understanding of not just who Richard III was as a man and a King but also about the wider world in which he lived.
I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone that is interested in English history or Richard III. Although I would suggest that as his is not a biography of Richard III’s life it may pay to read a little on the man before delving into the myths that surround him.