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Book reviews

The Brothers York — An English Tragedy

Thomas Penn             Penguin 2020             655pp (paperback)

Subject: The rise and fall of the York dynasty, Edward IV and Richard III, and their interaction with Lancaster and Warwick

Comments: As soon as I discovered that the author had previously written The Winter King about Henry VII I knew I had to buy it, and have not been disappointed. Written in a clear yet detailed style, it narrates and explains the changing relationships between Edward and Warwick, Lancaster and the Woodvilles, against the background of those interactions between England, France and Burgundy, not to mention Scotland and the Papacy. The culmination of the Wars of the Roses. I have learned so much from this book.

September 2022.

The Mercenary River — Private Greed, Public Good: A History of London's Water

Nick Higham             Headline 2022            470pp (hardback)

Subject: Four stages in London's water supply - public, private, public, private

Comments: I cannot praise this book enough. Its aim is in the subtitle and it shows clearly how Londoners were taken to the cleaners by those private companies that had the opportunity to supply our water. The earlier free provision was also fascinating. Although the book strays from the immediate subject from time to time, the information is always revealing and Nick makes you feel you are there at the time. Rather more about the supplies under public ownership 1904 - 1990 would have been useful for balance, but perhaps there was less of interest then.

October 2022.


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