Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Wars of the Roses, 1377-1471

Robert Balmain Mowat - The Wars of the Roses, 1377-1471 (1914) direct link
Open Library main page

Discussion about Game of Thrones has brought up the Wars of the Roses as one of its obvious inspirations (well, actually inspiration for A Song of Ice and Fire) though it doesn't seem that many people bother even to look at the Wars entry on Wikipedia.  Here at Discoveries & Oddities we don't need no stinkin' Wikipedia - we have the largest library in history at our disposal.  Which is why I was a bit surprised at how few books about this subject have been scanned.  Not sure if that's because there actually aren't many public domain titles on this particular topic or if it's because the scanning so far has been mainly American libraries.

Oh, and some guy named Shakspere wrote about the Wars as well.

In any case this seemed the best choice from few options.  The positive side is that it seems quite readable and thorough.  The negative side, at least for people who just want an overview, is that it seems quite thorough.  (I particularly like that the relevant year is specified at the top of each page, something I often wish histories and biographies did.)  Still, it's shorter than the Alison Weir book that's probably what most people read today.

Robert Balmain Mowat (1883-1941) was a British historian who published on a variety of subjects including diplomacy, Napoleon, treaties, the idea of kingship, Rousseau and most periods of British history.  (His A History of the English-Speaking Peoples pre-dated Churchill's.)  His book that seemed to attract most attention from contemporaries was a biography of Lord Pauncefote, first British ambassador to the US.  Mowat attended Corpus Christi, taught at the University of Bristol and died in a wartime plane crash.  His son Charles Loch Mowat (1913-1970) was also a historian