Cover image for The Wars of the Roses
The Wars of the Roses
Weir, Alison.
Personal Author:
First American trade paperback edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Ballantine Books, 1996.

Physical Description:
xv, 462 pages, 12 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, portraits ; 21 cm
General Note:
Originally published under the title: Lancaster and York. London : J. Cape, 1995.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DA250 .W44 1995 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Lancaster and York. For much of the fifteenth century, these two families were locked in battle for control of the English throne. Kings were murdered and deposed. Armies marched on London. Old noble names were ruined while rising dynasties seized power and lands. The war between the royal houses of Lancaster and York, the most complex in English history, profoundly altered the course of the monarchy. Alison Weir, one of the foremost authorities on British history, brings brilliantly to life both the war itself and the larger-tha-life figures who fought it on the great stage of England. The Wars of the Roses is history at its very best--swift and compelling, rich in character, pageantry, and drama, and vivid in its re-creation of an astonishing period of history.

Author Notes

Alison Weir was born in London, England on July 8, 1951. She received training to be a teacher with a concentration in history from the North Western Polytechnic. Before becoming a full-time writer, she worked as a civil servant and ran her own school for children with learning difficulties from 1991 to 1997. Her first book, Britain's Royal Families, was published in 1989. Her other books include The Six Wives of Henry VIII; Children of England; Eleanor of Aquitaine; Henry VIII: King and Court; Mary, Queen of Scots; and Isabella.

Her first novel, Innocent Traitor, was published in 2006. Her other novels include The Lady Elizabeth, The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn, The Captive Queen, A Dangerous Inheritance, and Katherine of Aragon, the True Queen.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

On one side of the bloody dynastic struggle that plagued England between 1455 and 1487 stood the House of Lancaster, headed by the inept King Henry VI. The opposing team was led by King Henry's cousin, the duke of York, whose lineage gave him a better claim to the throne than his ineffectual relative. This period of conflict between royal cousins is known as the Wars of the Roses (tradition has it that for an emblem the Lancaster side of the family adopted a red rose, the Yorks a white). Weir, author of the perceptive and engaging Princes in the Tower (1993), again presents popular history at its finest in an account of the Wars of the Roses and its complicated antecedents. Weir goes back to the heart of the trouble, the disastrous reign of the childless Richard II, and gives witness to the Lancaster family toppling his administration; she then follows the course of the Lancaster dynasty as wearers of the crown through the reigns of three kings, to find out why and how their York relatives, after decades of sitting in the shadow of the throne they by strict rights of inheritance should have occupied, eventually and successfully evicted the House of Lancaster and ruled as the House of York. No history collection should do without this perfectly focused and beautifully unfolded account. --Brad Hooper

Library Journal Review

Popular British historian Weir (The Princes in the Tower, LJ 1/94) examines England's version of the Hatfields vs. the McCoys: the 15th-century battle between the Lancaster and York families. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

YA‘This book reaffirms Weir's mastery of English history. Like The Six Wives of Henry VIII and The Princes in the Tower (both Ballantine, 1993), this title is jam-packed with information. The narrative begins with a short history of the House of Plantaganet, more specifically the disastrous rule of Richard II, which is seen as sowing the seeds of the conflict, and ends with the Battle of Tewkesbury and the murder of King Henry VI. The author weaves the story of the magnate families involved in the politics and rivalries of the era, and makes it understandable, interesting, and readable. Included are the simplified genealogical tables of the families involved as well as extensive primary- and secondary-source bibliographies. Any student of English history will appreciate the ease with which the period is unveiled and the detailed information on the people and places of England from 1399 to 1500.‘Debbie Hyman, R. E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.