Spectator Books: the tragic self-destruction of the House of York

Oct 30, 2019, 12:47 PM
In this week’s Spectator Books, Sam talks to the award-winning historian Thomas Penn about his new book The Brothers York: An English Tragedy — in which he argues that the 'Wars of the Roses' weren’t determined by a struggle between the houses of York and Lancaster so much as by the catastrophic white-on-white conflict that cause the House of York to implode. He tells the story of three brothers — Edward IV; George, Duke of Clarence; and Richard III — and their extraordinary and ultimately disastrous relationship. How did Tudor history — including, of course, Shakespeare — distort the real story of those years? Who really drowned the Duke of Clarence in that butt of wine? And did anyone, like Sam, have their sense of this vital period in history shaped by, er, playing the board game Kingmaker?

Spectator Books is a series of literary interviews and discussions on the latest releases in the world of publishing, from poetry through to physics. Presented by Sam Leith, The Spectator's Literary Editor. Hear past episodes of Spectator Books here.