Jasper Tudor, Dynasty Maker, by Terry Breverton
Although in general I am not the biggest fan of the Tudor family, the opportunity to read about one of the more obscure figures in history related to that family was too interesting to pass up, given my love for learning about obscure but important areas of history and scholarship in general. As this is the first book I have heard of to be a detailed biography of the battlefield leader of the armies of Lancaster that eventually became known as the Tudor armies that ended up winning the throne of England at Bosworth Field, and that fought on other, more obscure battlefields in both Wales and England. Jasper Tudor has an interesting claim to fame, including the rare and impressive feat of being a veteran of the entire 30 year conflict, fighting from start to finish on the same side, something few can claim. Since few people are likely to know anything about the man, except for his extremely famous last name, I thought it would be worthwhile at least to comment a bit briefly about the book I am reviewing on his life for the De Re Militari, in case others became familiar with his work.
In flipping through this work, it appears to have a mostly chronological approach that also manages to ask obvious questions, such as the reasons for the Wars of the Roses, an obvious question for a man whose life revolved around their course, for the most part. The book appears to discuss such issues as family unity, experiences in battle in 1460 and 1471, the experience of exile, finally, and appropriately, closing with a look at Jasper Tudor as elder statesman for his nephew, Henry VII. The book has all of what one would expect for a work dealing with that time, including family trees detailing the Tudor claim and the relationship of Jasper and other major figures of the time. I look forward to reading this book, to be sure. Although there is a lot that is intriguing about the disloyalty and dissension within England that took place during the Wars of the Roses, I hope this book manages to deal with the strange fact that the Tudor claim to the throne only held because the were simultaneously close to the throne in terms of having a connection to the Plantagenet line via a second marriage, but also benefited from not being too close to the incompetence of the main Lancaster base of support, with a king who was far better at being captured over and over again than actually reigning. In an age of great turmoil and conflict, this book looks like a good read.