Recent purchases 4 – Keith Dockray ‘Edward IV: A source book’

Posted: July 27, 2010 in Dockray

This is such a cool little book! I got it through Alibris and bought it because it looked interesting and it was cheap! (And because the Ned end of my library is seriously sparse.)

The book is divided into 12 sections, roughly chronological and each dealing with a different phase of Edward’s life and reign. Sections include: the Nevilles and the New Yorkists; Clarence and the Court; Gloucester and Scotland.  For each, there is a brief overview, contextualising the sources, followed by a comprehensive collection of snippets from contemporary and near contemporary writing. These range from obvious propaganda (the Arivall, various proclamations and newsletters), through some important chronicles to private letters. While I was disappointed at first at the size of the book – 147 pages – and the incompleteness of the snippets, as I read I began to see this as a strength – there’s a lot in it and each short passage can be followed up if a more in depth reading is required or desired.

One quibble I have (and I have it with a lot of books) is that Dockray almost inevitably follows any mention of Warwick with ‘the Kingmaker’. This starts to get a bit irritating after a while, but it really is a minor quibble. He very much lets the source material speak for itself, resisting the need to editorialise over much, though his sympathies clearly lie with the king.

I’ve been dipping into it, reading a few entries and putting it down, rather than ploughing through from cover to cover. Its greatest value to me lies in its structure and the wealth of material it contains – I don’t have to keep a series of scrawled lists (that I’m constantly losing) in order to keep track of source material. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this as a useful and interesting addition to any historical, particular WoR, library.

  1. He has similar books on Richard III and on Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou. Very handy.

  2. anevillfeast says:

    I’ll have to keep an eye out for them, Susan, thanks. If I can get them for a similar price (+ about 1,000% for postage!) I’ll snap them up.

  3. anevillfeast says:

    Susan, I’ve just seen the price of the Richard III and Henry/Margaret books on Amazon and am now even more impressed with Alibris’s price on Edward IV. I can get Richard much much cheaper on Alibris, but Henry and Margaret are still a bit pricey. I shall have to save my pennies!

  4. Keep checking! I’m fairly sure mine were bought used, and were pretty cheap. Sometimes eBay has bargains, but of course postage isn’t as big a factor for me.

  5. anevillfeast says:

    I will, Susan. I think the Richard one on Alibris is within budget (should I ever be in a position to budget again), but I’ll need to get a better price on the other one.

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