Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Two Princes

No, this post isn't about the Spin Doctors song. Although I do really enjoy that song. This is a little more depressing. It's about the two princes who were (supposedly anyway) killed in the Tower of London. I finished The Princes in the Tower by Alison Weir last week. I LOVE her books. I know I say this every time I write about a history book, but why isn't history taught this way? It's full of scandals, interesting tidbits, murder mysteries, love stories. But what you usually get in history class is a memorization test on a string of dates. I know that's primarily the fault of our education system and not necessarily the teachers, and I did have a few really great history teachers, but I just wish things were different. I suppose that's why homeschooling is growing so much these days.

Anyway, that's not the point of this post. This book was awesome. It reads like a murder mystery even though you know who she thinks did it from the beginning. But the fact that no one knows for sure what happened makes you evaluate each piece of evidence she provides to see what you believe. It was interesting to read this, which so strongly points to Richard III as the mastermind behind the murder, when I had read several books that were sympathetic to him and blamed Henry VII. Tradition says it was Richard III, and Weir does a very thorough job of proving that. One of the most interesting bits of evidence she uses is Sir Thomas More's research into what happened. Of course, he did work for Henry VIII, son of Henry VII, but he never seemed to be a afraid of standing up to him (even though that eventually cost him his head), and he appears to have been an honest Christian focused on finding out the truth. He talked to eyewitnesses and the confessed murderer himself and apparently believed his story. I also thought the information on the skeletons that were found nearly 200 years later and are believed to be the two princes. It's also just odd that no one knows for certain what happened. That's crazy, especially since one of the princes was technically a king! Had Richard not stolen the throne, then the Tudors might never have taken control. We may have had no Henry VIII, no Elizabeth I, and who knows how everything else after that would have changed. Maybe England wouldn't have become a superpower and Americans would be speaking French or Dutch or something. Anyway, I highly recommend Weir's books to anyone interested in British history. I have a few more of hers that I'll be reading soon.

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