The Wars of the Roses

  • by Dan Jones
  • Narrated by John Curless
  • 15 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The author of the New York Times best-seller The Plantagenets chronicles the next chapter in British history - the actual historical backdrop for Game of Thrones. The 15th century saw the longest and bloodiest series of civil wars in British history. The crown of England changed hands five times as two branches of the Plantagenet dynasty fought to the death for the right to rule. Now, celebrated historian Dan Jones describes how the longest reigning British royal family tore itself apart until it was finally replaced by the Tudors. Some of the greatest heroes and villains in history were thrown together in these turbulent times - from Joan of Arc and Henry V, whose victory at Agincourt and prudent rule marked the high point of the medieval English monarchy, to Richard III, who stole the throne and murdered his own nephews, the princes in the Tower. It is also a period of headstrong and resilient women - Margaret of Anjou, Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort - who were not afraid to seize power and bend men to their will. With vivid descriptions of the battles of Towton and Bosworth, where the last Plantagenet king was slain, this is a bold and dramatic narrative history that will delight listeners who like their history with a healthy dose of bedlam, romance, and intrigue.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A Little Difficult in Audiobook Format

This is a great book that really helps with an understanding of the incredibly important Wars of the Roses. The Wars of the Roses led to the foundations of modern England. This is a two-part series by the same author along with The Plantagenets. I liked The Plantagenets better because it was easier to follow in an audiobook format just listening on my daily commute. The history gets much more convoluted in the Wars of the Roses, making it harder to follow in short intervals. It also would have been easier to follow with a chart in front of me to know who was who. The history of the Wars of the Roses is a mess of interwoven families and opponents who often switched sides, sometimes with no warning. Also, people sometimes changed names after inheriting titles, further complicating the task of following along. Despite this small complaint, it is still an excellent history book worthy of the time to listen to it.
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- Ark1836

No Need for a Score Card

Following up on the story and success of The Plantagenets, Dan Jones now offers a book that I consider to be a public service for those just dipping into this subject. The Wars of the Roses is an era of great turmoil and upheaval, which means the players involved are many, and some of them switch sides as opportunity or desperation strikes. Most history books I've read on this subject either keeps it simplistic (in accordance with the propaganda of the Tudor era) or would have you believe it's so overly complex that only an expert can wade into it with any amount of confidence, and even they might need a score card to keep up. Most people I talk to who know anything about the era have learned from historical fiction. Fine and well as a stepping stone, but no novel can ever compete with the real story. The challenge is to find a book that presents it in such a way as to build the layers of intrigue and still keep it simple enough to read like a novel.

Like The Plantagenents before it, this book fits this bill. The scope and depth of this era are extended out even farther than many other books I've read on this, seeing this entire era as fallout from events in the Hundred Years War. Henry V's victory at Agincourt leads to Joan of Arc's rally of her people, and Henry V's weak and childlike successor to the English throne leads to... this story. Where other books drop the reader right in and let us fend for ourselves, Jones gives us the context and guides us expertly through this time to what will become the reign of the Tudors. The result is a fascinating and satisfying read for those inclined to read a story like this one. While this book stands alone, I personally found it to be a wonderful companion tome to The Plantagenents. I'm hoping Jones is working on a similar project for the Tudors next, being the logical next part of the story.

On a side note, for fantasy enthusiasts, this is the era that provides much of the historical inspiration for George R. R. Martin's series A Song of Ice and Fire (i.e., Game of Thrones). While there are no dragons or whitewalkers to be found here, the fact that people keep coming back to this well speaks volumes of how interesting this story can be given even a halfway decent presentation. For even the remotely curious, this is an excellent book.
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- Troy

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-14-2014
  • Publisher: Recorded Books