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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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The Princes in the Tower Paperback – July 10, 1995

3.7 out of 5 stars 211 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Weir examines the 1483 disappearance of Richard III's two young nephews and determines that he was to blame for their murders.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Proponents of Richard III will not be pleased by this book. Weir ( The Six Wives of Henry VIII , LJ 2/15/92) explores documentary evidence and various theories about the fate of the famous princes (Edward V and his brother, ages 12 and 10) in the Tower of London. Relying on contemporary accounts, Weir assesses credibility and compares details. Her sound research and rational arguments make a convincing case for Richard's direct involvement in the murder of his two young nephews. While she admits that there is no convincing evidence that Richard was hunchbacked or more evil than his contemporaries, Weir does show that he was supremely unpopular, largely because of the murder of the children. This is an excellent and persuasive book, one that belongs in all collections covering the history of Great Britain.
- Katharine Galloway Garstka, Intergraph Corp., Huntsville, Ala.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 287 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (July 10, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345391780
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345391780
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (211 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #167,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I'm of two minds on Alison Weir's The Princes in the Tower. On the one hand, it is an immensely readable history of Richard III, king of England, and the mystery of what happened to his nephews who he had confined to the Tower of London. Weir comes down strongly on the side that Richard had his nephews killed. Weir writes well, and the reader is sucked in to the story. On the other hand, though, Weir's research and conclusions are atrocious and beneath what a proper historian should be. She makes many suppositions and then treats them as fact. Some of her timelines are wildly inaccurate, and since she uses these to support her theory, that puts the entire theory in doubt. Thus, while it's an enjoyable read, I can't really recommend the book unless the reader is aware of this and willing to read further on the subject without taking Weir's view as indisputable fact.

Where to begin? Weir starts out by discussing the various sources of information on the controversy. Many of these sources weren't contemporary at all, being written after Henry VII had taken the throne. The one she bases most of her theories on, an unfinished history by Sir Thomas More, she claims is contemporary. However, Thomas was eight years old at the time these events occurred and didn't start his book until much later. He supposedly had access to many people "in the know," and Weir takes this as proof that what he says is, for the most part, accurate. What she fails to take into account, however, is More's history was written during the Tudor reign, when it wasn't exactly safe to be extolling Richard's virtues. Sure, More's sources may have been there, but do you really think they're going to risk their head by telling the truth?
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Format: Paperback
As usual, Weir has written a lively, readable book, but I think it is a very poor history. Weir makes some insightful remarks when the facts suit her, but I would only recommend the book to readers who know enough about the subject to carefully weigh her claims. Others have talked about the reliability of Weir's sources, but I'll just stick to the problems that are internal to the book, even if the reader knows nothing else about the topic.

Weir constantly contradicts herself and her logic is often bizarre. On a general level, she tries to argue that the facts surrounding the death of the princes were at one and the same time, a closely guarded secret and known to everyone in Europe, depending on which is most convenient to her at any given point. At a more detailed level:

She spends several pages arguing that the story that Edward IV's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville was bigamous is completely ludicrous and that no contemporary writer believed it. She then describes it as "well-conceived and plausible".

Citing More, she claims that Margaret Beaufort was able to prove to Elizabeth Woodville that her sons (the princes in the tower) were dead. Later, Weir claims that Henry VII (Beaufort's son) didn't know whether or not they were dead. What happened to the evidence provided to Woodville?

Weir claims that Louis XI knew that Richard III murdered the princes, in spite of the fact that she believes they were alive when Louis died.

She claims that More got otherwise unknown information from knowledgeable people of his acquaintance. If it is obvious to Weir that these people might have known something, wouldn't it have been even more obvious to Henry VII and his advisors? Wouldn't he have questioned them?
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By A Customer on March 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
I've read a bunch of Weir's other works and I've liked them all, but after having read this I began doubting her other works. Having read nearly a dozen accounts of Richard III's life and his relationship to the princes, I can say that this is more or less a rehashing of Sir Thomas More's UNFINISHED biography of RIII. Her whole case rests on the work of More, whose work has been questioned, most notbably and effectively by Horace Walpole.
Weir questions her own sources and then uses them to prove her point the "Richard did it". An earthshattering conclusion? Not by any means, but the way she gets there is somewhat lazy and ignores some pretty decent scholarship on the subject. Most of what we "know" about RIII comes from Shakespeare's play, which is based on More. Weir didn't seem to stray any further than Shakespeare (the Oliver Stone of the Elizabethian age) to come to her conclusion.
Again, not her best work. She does a much better job with the Tudors.
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Format: Paperback
Another book on Richard III, Alison Weir's The Princes in the Tower is almost a whodunit? that uses the history of the ambitious activities of Richard of Gloucester as a run up to the discussion of who committed the murders. By providing the reader with an understanding of the socio-political background to the disappearances of the two boys, she allows us to determine for ourselves the likely suspect. As the author herself points out, numerous writers have taken up the same evidence to both convict and exonerate Richard of the crimes. Apparently there has even been a mock trial held on television in the late 1980s that failed to convict him on the basis of "lack of evidence." Probably the most interesting fictional account occurs in the 1950s novel by Josephine Tey, The Daughter of Time. Here a modern homicide detective Alan Grant, bored by a prolonged hospitalization. undertakes the resolution of the crime as a mental game and comes up with Henry VII as the most likely perpetrator. In fact, as the author herself points out, the modern fad in history has been to rehabilitate Richard's reputation by proving him innocent. Probably the most beautifully written fictional accounts with a "guilty" verdict, is Shakespeare's Richard III (Folger Shakespeare Library); who is not moved by the opening speech, "Now is the winter of our discontent...." In the end and most tellingly I think,those writing during his own lifetime, some placed where they were likely to have known, believed he had committed the atrocities. Certainly the average man-in-the-street believed him at least capable of it.Read more ›
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