Lancaster Against York: The Wars of the Roses and the Foundation of Modern Britain

Written by Trevor Royle
Review by Susan Higginbotham

Lancaster Against York has a somewhat misleading subtitle: this is a study of the Wars of the Roses, certainly, but not an assessment of their influence on modern Britain. Subtitle aside, this is a well written and engrossing history of this turbulent time by an author without an axe to grind on behalf of either side.

There are a few irritating errors here—Richard III did not imprison the young Earl of Warwick in the Tower, for instance. Occasionally, too, Royle seems unaware of recent research, such as the discovery of a dispensation for the marriage of the Duke of Gloucester and Anne Neville. There are no annotations, which I found frustrating when I wanted to check a source, but there’s a useful bibliography and a helpful section listing the key players of the time.

On the positive side, Royle packs a great deal of information from a wide range of sources into a relatively short space, and his assessments are fair and balanced. For those wanting an introduction to the Wars of the Roses, as well as for those wanting to refresh their general knowledge, this will be a useful book.