Edward IV and the Wars of the Roses

By David Santiuste

I thoroughly enjoyed David Santiuste’s book on Edward IV. Unlike other books that give an overview of Edward IV’s life, from birth to death and the legacy he left, Santiuste’s book delves in and explores Edward’s life from the deadly Battle of Towton through to his victory at the Battle of Tewkesbury.

The book opens with a brief overview of Edward’s younger years and then moves into exploring the rise of Edward’s father, Richard, Duke of York and his moves to become a claimant of the throne of England. After Richard, Duke of York’s death it is Edward that carried on the claim. At only eighteen years of age Edward was proclaimed King of England after deposing Henry VI. Just weeks later Edward led an army into the famous Battle of Towton. This battle is one of England’s bloodiest with thousands upon thousands of men fighting to their deaths in the freezing snow. Yet Edward IV was able to lead the Yorkist cause to victory.

Santiuste Explore’s Edward’s rule as King of England, the battles he fought against the Lancastrian cause, his capture and also the reinstatement of Henry VI as King which saw Edward flee overseas. The book then moves on to detail Edward’s return to England, the decisions he had to make and how he managed to reclaim the English throne. Towards the end of the book the famous battle of Tewkesbury is detailed and with the tragic death of Henry VI’s son, Edward Prince of Wales, it would seem that Edward’s IV’s throne was secure.

It was fascinating to learn about Edward IV as a King but also a warrior and a leader of men. He is a King often remembered for the latter years of his life, dying young and leaving his son, only twelve years old, as one of the famous Princes in the Tower. Yet in his younger years Edward was a man capable of both forgiveness and anger. He was a leader, able to motivate his men before battle and had the wits and knowledge to lead his army to victory many times. Certainly, he was supported by the famous Earl of Warwick, the Kingmaker, but Santiuste shows that Edward VI was a man of action and bravery. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the fascinating period of the Wars of the Roses.

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