Saturday, May 17, 2008

Pretenders to the English Throne by Jeremy Potter

Pretenders to the English Throne by Jeremy Potter consists of short biographies of the following claimants to the English throne Robert of Normandy, Empress Matilda ,John of Gaunt, Henry Tudor, Lambert Simnel, Perkin Warkbeck, Lady Jane Grey, Mary, Queen of Scots, Edgar Atheling, William Clito, Edward of Warwick, Edmund and Richard de la Pole, Arbella Stuart. The book is only around 230 pages so some of the sections are very short. Some of them are too brief. Even with my knowledge of British history I was occasionally confused. Potter tries to put the various contenders in context. Fortunately family trees are usually provided to help explain the claims to the thrown.

He is at his best when discussing the later pretenders. I'm not sure if this is more his area of study or if it has something to do with the sources. It is actually quite noticeable that the quality of the sections seems to improve the later we go.

A book of this type naturally involves some reference to military campaigns. Unfortunately the descriptions are only narratives without any real explanation as to why victory was achieved or not. The occasional battle plan would have been nice.

Mildly recommended the coverage of the more obscure pretenders is interesting. I will probably try to find more though.

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