The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses
By Sarah Gristwood
(Basic Books, Hardcover, 9780465018314, 384pp.)
Publication Date: February 2013
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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To contemporaries, the Wars of the Roses were known collectively as a cousins' war.” The series of dynastic conflicts that tore apart the ruling Plantagenet family in fifteenth-century England was truly a domestic drama, as fraught and intimate as any family feud before or since. While the battles themselves were fought by men, a handful of powerful women would prove just as decisive as the clashing armies. As historian Sarah Gristwood reveals in Blood Sisters, these mothers, wives, and daughters were locked in a web of loyalty and betrayal that would ultimately bring down the Plantagenets and replace them with an obscure group of claimants: the Tudors.
In an epic narrative spanning generations and regimes, Gristwood offers a provocative reassessment of the Wars of the Roses, unveiling the courageous women who paved the way for a new English dynasty.
Biographer and journalist Sarah Gristwood attended Oxford University and is a regular contributor to the London Times, Guardian, Independent, and Evening Standard. The author of seven previous books, including the best-selling Arbella: England’s Lost Queen and Elizabeth and Leicester: Power, Passion, Politics, she lives in London and Kent.
Sunday Times (London)
Most of the leading players in the Wars of the Roses have traditionally been thought to be the men. Historian Sarah Gristwood stands this on its head. She examines seven women, whose lives were bound together across the best part of a century, and tries to see the wars from their points of view . Gristwood successfully evokes the lives of all these women, and in doing so brings a new and welcome perspective on the Wars of the Roses.”
Entertaining and vividly drawn . This is the true story of the most important women of the period, their travails and suffering; but also of the links between them, their friendships and ambitions, their cooperation, their courage and pragmatism. It is a different way of looking at this complex period, and Gristwood weaves the story with considerable skill. The battles and bloodshed that led to the loss of so many of the old nobility of England form a backdrop to the narrative, but the real emphasis is on half-a-dozen women whose extraordinary experiences of triumph and disaster, often in a bewilderingly short period of time, brought them to the edge of despair but did not, in the end, lessen their commitment to their families. They provided continuity as the world fell apart around them . Gristwood is to be congratulated for her highly readable account of their lives”