The Wars of the Roses and the emergence of the Tudors.
House of York versus the House of Lancaster (Hen IV, Hen V, Hen VI)
The Tudors: A New Dynasty
A new modern government.
England in 1500.


Jasper Ridley,

A Brief History of the Tudor Age,

Robinson Publishing (March 28, 2002),

ISBN 1841194719

The Tudor period of English history has received considerable attention from the historians and therefore you will find the selection of possible reading during our weeks on Henry VII and his family a bit daunting. You may want one book to help you sort through all the many interesting issues of the age and here is that book.

The Ridley book is a total pleasure to read and sensible in its organization. Ridley packs his 303 pages with immense learning and wit.


Dan Jones,

The Wars of the Roses,

Viking 2014,

ISBN ISBN-10: 0670026670

When we begin this week, we will be jumping into English history just at the moment of the triumph of a new royal family: the Tudors. In order to understand how this relatively unimportant family emerged to dominate the whole of the 16th century in England, you need to study the Wars of the Roses. The best book I know on this complicated subject is the very good one by Dan Jones. It will give you the background you need in order to understand the monarchy of the first Tudor King, Henry VII.


“It’s not often that a book manages to be both scholarly and a page-turner, but British historian Jones succeeds on both counts in this entertaining follow-up to his bestselling The Plantagenets. . . . He sets a new high-water mark in the current revisionism of the Tudor era.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Exhilarating, epic, blood-and-roses history. There are battles fought in snowstorms, beheadings, jousts, clandestine marriages, spurious genealogies, flashes of chivalry and streaks of pure malovelence. . . . Jones’s material is thrilling, but it is quite a task to sift, select, structure, and contextualize the information. There is fine scholarly intuition on display here and a mastery of the grand narrative; it is a supremely skilful piece of storytelling.”
—The Sunday Telegraph

“Jones’s greatest skill as a historical writer is to somehow render sprawling, messy epochs such as this one into manageable, easily digestible matter; he is keenly tuned to what should be served up and what should be omitted. And he still finds rooms for the telling anecdote and vivid descriptive passage. It makes for an engrossing read and a thoroughly enjoyable introduction to the Lancastrian-Yorkist struggle.”
—The Spectator

“Jones is a born storyteller, peopling the terrifying uncertainties of each moment with a superbly drawn cast of characters and powerfully evoking the brutal realities of civil war. With gripping urgency he shows this calamitous conflict unfold.”—The Evening Standard (London)“Jones tells a good story. That is a good thing, since storytelling has gone out of favor among so many historians. . . . He admits that the era is at times incomprehensible, yet he manages to impose upon it sufficient order to render this book both edifying and utterly entertaining. His delightful wit is as ferocious as the dreadful violence he describes.”—The Times (London)