Richard III by Matthew Lewis
Another biography on Richard III I hear you say? Well I can tell you that this is not just any other book on Richard III! While books in the past have focused primarily on the last few years of Richard’s life, specifically during his Kingship and ultimate death, Matthew Lewis focuses on Richard’s whole life, from birth, through his formative years to the events leading up to his time as King.
Lewis focuses a great deal of attention on Richard’s youth and time growing up during the turbulent Wars of the Roses. It is often assumed that Richard, Duke of Gloucester, the future Richard III, was a man during the period of the famous Wars of the Roses – however Lewis points out that this is clearly not the case. Born in 1452 Richard was a boy and then a teenager when Henry VI lost control of his rule and Richard’s father, Richard Duke of York, became protector. Throughout this period Richard saw his father and older brother killed and then another brother fight to become Edward IV. It is clear that for Richard this was an extremely impressionable time, growing up in the image of his heroic father and mighty older brother.
Lewis details the trials and tragedies that Richard faced as well as the great pressures put upon his young shoulders. It was fascinating to read and learn just how Richard was formed as a man and the influences that affected his life and ultimately his decisions. It is through these valuable years that Lewis creates a picture of who the real Richard III was. Not a hungry blood thirsty old tyrant hell bent on taking the English throne, but a man who had weathered much during his early years and who through this formed a strong moral compass based upon what he believed to be wrong and right.
At the foundation of Lewis’ book is a wealth of research. Gone are the myths and legends that have been built up around Richard III over the last five hundred years, instead Lewis pulls upon primary sources and contemporary evidence to detail the intricate life of Richard III. There are no assumptions within this book, no sweeping statements or grand illusions, only thorough research based on facts. Where the evidence is lacking, as is in some years in Richard’s life, Lewis openly admits to the lack of evidence and simply details what is known.
At a whopping 464 pages Lewis’ book may appear intimidating but I promise you that once you pick it up you will not be able to put it down! The length and depth of research within this book only serves to give credit to how dedicated Matthew Lewis is to accurately covering Richard’s life. This is a new and refreshing look at the life of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, King Richard III. Thoroughly researched and written in an engaging and captivating style Lewis’ book is an absolute must read!