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The Last Plantagenets Hardcover – December 1, 1994

4.5 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
Book 4 of 4 in the Plantagenets Series

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Buccaneer Books (December 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568493738
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568493732
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I have an old dog eared paperback of this book. I thought
it was long out of print. This and the other three books
about the Plantagenets by the same author contain some of
the most stirring history of the english speaking peoples.
It is hard to believe that a history book could be a page
turner, but it's true. They should be required reading in
high school, for then our young citizens can gain a proper
appreciation of the magnificent beginnings of democracy in
England and how our own freedoms, now taken for granted,
were won by boody struggles and the wisdom of far-seeing
men. This series on the Plantagenets begins with Henry II
and his consort, Eleanor of Aquitaine (a wise lady far ahead
of her time), and ends with the death of Richard III on
Bosworth Field at the hands of the future Henry VII. At the
end of this volume the author muses on the mingling of the
Saxon and Norman cultures and how they together created
an England that brought back the beacon of democracy and
respect for human rights for a dark and oppressed world.
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Format: Hardcover
The last installment of the "A History of the Plantagenents" succeeds admirably. Costain has a way of transferring is love and excitement of a subject onto his pages. It's a method that has yet to be rivaled. He gives each character a distinct personality no matter how trivial. William Caxton being a prime example. About half the book is concentrated on Richard II, which is fine because most historians either concentrate on the Black Prince or Henry V and skip over him. Here we see a sympathetic monarch who was easily bullied and who made some bad decisions early in his reign. After Richard II, he continues on through the kings until Richard III. Here he breaks protocol and gives evidence in defense of Shakespeare hunchback, citing Tudor propaganda as the catalyst. Normally, Costain is careful to present detailed accounts of both sides to an arguement, but here he takes a stance. It is quite refreshing and readers will eat it up. Highly recommended as well as the others in the series. My uncle gave me these books and I plan on returning the favor when the next generation comes my way. Treasure these.
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Format: Hardcover
Mr. Costain is a very good historian. His scholarship is thorough and his conclusions are always logically wrought and sometimes surprising. His sensibilities are surprisingly contemporary, although I would not term him a "revisionist," (he wrote this history in the 1950s). For example, in his defense of Richard III (in this, the final book in this four-volume history) he travails against conventional opinion to demonstrate why King Richard was, indeed, not the Richard III of Thomas More as popularized by Shakespeare and held true to this day. And in the first volume, the author dashes myth and idle folklore to side with those historians who portray Eleanor of Aquitaine as the wise and effective check on Henry II and her sons that, she no doubt was. In so doing he disperses, through well-reasoned argument, the rumors and "Entertainment-Tonight" kind of fluff (History-Lite) that many still believe. I had been told these four volumes were classics. After reading them, but without being a scholar of history, I think those critical readers might be right. Certainly, Mr. Costain opened my eyes to a different kind of history telling, one in which an historian does not hesitate to conjecture or opine openly and to honestly make his case and then leave it for a reader's judgement. From front to back, from first through fourth volumes, this is a valuable and pleasurable experience. Mr Costain, presents, argues, harangues convention and, always entertains with a use of the language that is as sharp as his reasoning and as precise as his scholarship. Mr. Costain is a very good story-teller.
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Format: Paperback
There are four books in this series, The Conquering Family, The Magnificant Century, The Three Edwards, and The Last Plantagents. This series covers English history from William the Conquerer to Richard the third. Costain writes history like a novel which I personally love. I know that some people object to his approach but I personally feel that the characters of the past come alive and the history is accurate.

The Last Plantegents covers the reign of Richard the second through Richard the third and ends with an examination of the case against Richard the third. Costain is firmly in the apologists camp and makes a pretty good case for the defense.
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Format: Paperback
Remember that Costain was a novelist, NOT a historian. What Costain did with these books was to write a series of novels that were based on history but are bad history. Costain writes with purple prose that prejudges his subjects. You cannot do that with history. He constantly says how "bad" King John was. Was he? He had his failings but for a self-styled "historian" to call him "bad" or "evil" at every turn is ridiculous. After all, some base their opinions of King Richard III on Shakespeare's play - which was written to set Richard in a bad light and Edward VII, the first of the Tudors (of which his patron, Elizabeth I, was one) in a good light. History has since shown that Richard III was a fine monarch nor was the deformed hunchback depicted by Shakespeare. Again, bad history, great play. In Costain's books nothing is footnoted, conversations are fabricated, and history is disregarded. For example, he says that King John signed the Magna Carta (which he misspells) and that there was one. Wrong! There were 41 copies and each was sealed by the King, not signed. A small error? No! If he gets that wrong, what about the rest? Again, good novel, bad history so read these as novels but do NOT take them as history.
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