The Last Days of Richard III

Written by John Ashdown-Hill
Review by Juliet Waldron

John Ashdown-Hill is a historian and member of the Royal Historical Society and the Richard III Society. With several nonfiction books already to his credit, he brings close attention to bear upon the last eight months of the king’s life. I found the author’s insights to be as important as his research. For instance, we know how the king’s story ends, but it’s wrong to let that knowledge color how we imagine his last months. Here we are given permission to “forget Bosworth,” and that leaves us free to see a man of action deeply involved in life and in his plans for England’s future. There are chapters about the king’s death, about his last battle and the aftermath, about his reburial and lost tomb, and about the fate of his family under Tudor rule. A section about recent mtDNA studies made by the author is a human interest piece, tracing fugitive Plantagenet genes through 15 generations. The Last Days of Richard III should prove of interest to anyone who wants to go deeper into this watershed moment in English history.