By David Santiuste
Pen and Sword Books, 2010
Indisputably the most effective general of the Wars of the Roses, Edward IV died in his bed, undefeated in battle. Yet Edward has not achieved the martial reputation of other warrior kings such as Henry V – perhaps because he fought his battles against his own people. It has also been suggested that he lacked the personal discipline expected of a truly great commander. But, as David Santiuste shows in this perceptive and highly readable new study, Edward was a formidable military leader whose strengths and subtlety have not been fully recognized.
On the battlefield he was an audacious soldier, fighting like a lion to defend his rights, although he also possessed a cool head that allowed him to withdraw when the odds were against him. His court was a centre of chivalry, but he did not seek military glory for its own sake. For Edward, warfare was always a means to an end – indeed he often preferred to forgive his enemies rather than destroy them. And yet, in 1461 and 1471, he waged two brutal and relentless campaigns, crushing all the opposition in his path.
David Santiuste’s reassessment of Edward’s military role, and of the Wars of the Roses in which he played such a vital part, gives a fascinating insight into Edward the man and into the politics and the fighting. Based on contemporary sources and the latest scholarly research, Edward IV and the Wars of the Roses brings to life an extraordinary period of English history.
“A pleasing and well-informed appraisal of the first Yorkist king. Santiuste provides a clear and cogent survey of the battles that put Edward IV on the throne, and the ones that kept him there” – Michael K. Jones, author of Agincourt 1415 and Bosworth 1485
Barnet 1471: A Battle of the Wars of the Roses – article by David Santiuste
Review by Bob Mardling in HistoryTimes – “a work of very considerable appeal, both to the knowledgeable student of the period and to the amateur.”