QAB Book Review: THE WORLD OF RICHARD III, by Kristie Dean

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Kristie Dean book

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For all English History lovers, especially loyal Ricardians, these are exciting and “controversial” times! With the discovery of King Richard III’s body buried under a Leicester parking lot in September 2012 and subsequent planned reinternment services in Leicester in March 2015, hearty debate over King Richard III’s legacy, as well as where he should be honored and buried and a host of other related topics kept English History lovers, historians, politicians, and Plantagenet descendants debating spiritedly for over two years now.

Whether viewed as a tragic and heroic king or child murderer, King Richard III is “big news”. And why not?  He was the last English monarch killed in battle and the last Plantagenet king, after all. That at least should trump King Henry VIII’s Chief Minister Thomas Cromwell — and come March 2015, Wolf Hall  mini-series or not, King Richard III certainly will. Bend a knee my lord Cromwell, Earl of Essex. His Grace has entered the cathedral. King Richard III rules now.

I confess. Shoot me. I am a Tudorphile and have been for years. My focus of interest has always been the men around the monarchs — Thomas Cranmer, Thomas Cromwell, Thomas Wolsey, Thomas More, Thomas Wyatt, Thomas Boleyn, Thomas Norfolk and Thomas Tallis. Let’s just say I have an unusual attraction to “all things Thomas”. So, when Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall released, I immediately digested the book whole. When she and the novel went viral and Thomas Cromwell’s legacy was reevaluated in a more positive light, I was in “nerd heaven”.

So yes, as hard as it is for me to accept, I get it. There are people out there that love the history of the Plantagenets and the Lancasters as much as I love the Tudors — and people who love the history of the Wars of the Roses as much as I love the history of the Henrican and Protestant Reformations. Now I do think these people are all a bit odd with their endless debating about who killed the Princes in the Tower and where King Richard III’s bones should rest, but it is what it is. They are obsessed. I am obsessed. We are kindred spirits.

Meet Kristie Dean, the obsessed historian. Forget the “car park story”. This woman has loved “all things Wars of the Roses” for as long as most people have loved their favorite sports team, their favorite beverage of choice, their own mothers. We all have a friend like Kristie — you know, the sports fanatic who travels all over the country to see his favorite team, the friend that collects every single piece of “royalty souvenir” she can find, and the friend with 500 dolls or 200 autographed soccer or rugby balls.

What is Kristie’s obsession? In her love for the history of King Richard III, she traveled extensively, following his life story through the places his lived, visited or battled upon. Now that sounds like a pretty expensive hobby to me, but the delightful result is this. Kristie is releasing a book through Amberley Publishing, a mixture of travel guide and historical accounting. Through her “nerd heaven”, we all will have an outstanding resource both for travelers and people like me, people who are interested in an introductory history of England’s last Plantagenet king. After all, I owe it to Thomas More. The Patron Saint of politicians and statesmen never finished his biography, so I was curious.

The World of Richard III is a fantastic book. Why? It is a great “all purpose” read that covers a ton of ground in introducing the life of King Richard III and his family in a highly interesting and engaging way. I must admit that Kristie Dean was downright “sneaky” about it though. By introducing the remarkable historical castles, homes, cathedrals, abbeys, monasteries, ruins and battlefields throughout Great Britain and Europe that King Richard III lived, visited, frequented or literally fought for the York cause or later his very throne, I learned a great deal about the man himself. I will never be able to see the remarkable prose of Saint Thomas More in the same light again — and that is a good thing for both the lawyer and the king he villainized.

In all seriousness, The World of Richard III is an outstanding resource, not only for history lovers, but also for travelers or those interested in castles, cathedrals, monasteries and medieval architecture. Kristie Dean sets out by bringing readers on extensive tour of King Richard III’s life, beginning with his place of birth, the ruins of Fotheringhay Castle all the way to his place of death, Bosworth Battlefield. At each stop along the way, Kristie provides a comprehensive history of the location as well as King Richard III’s relation it it, details related to the present use of the site if applicable, and even admissions prices if such applies. Beyond all this, Kristie seamlessly slips in other points of history unrelated to the Wars of the Roses when the opportunity presents itself.

If you are interested in English history or are just wondering what all the “King Richard III hullabaloo” is about, pick up your copy of The World of Richard III. This fine book releases on February 15, 2015 throughout the United Kingdom and on April 19, 2015 in the United States.

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Kristi Dean
Kristie Dean

Kristie Dean holds a Master’s Degree in History and now enjoys teaching the subject, following a successful career in public relations. She has been published on several online magazines and local newspapers and presented a paper at the International Congress on Medieval Studies. She lives in Tennessee, USA. To learn more about Kristi, visit her website at Kristie Dean.

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Kristie Dean book

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Beth von Staats

is the owner and administrator of QueenAnneBoleyn.com. The author of "Thomas Cranmer in a Nutshell", Beth specializes in writing magazine articles, online historical articles, short stories, and flash fiction.

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