Sunday, March 13, 2016

Richard III: The Search for the King's Grave

"Oh, enough about Richard - let's talk about me!"  That's how Philippa Langley's chapters came across.   A writer who organized the search for Richard III's remains (found under a Leicester car park in 2012 and confirmed as Richard's in 2013), she makes Richard almost an afterthought to her search, and her navel-gazing.  I am interested in the archaeology involved in finding the grave, but Langley glosses over that and keeps coming back to the "feeling" she had when she stood over the R painted on the tarmac and under which Richard was eventually found.  (My cynical side kept thinking about how plastic memory is and how easily one can implant false memories in one's own mind.)  Langley's writing style didn't help; I can't remember the last time an author irritated me so much.

Historian Michael Jones's chapters were much more enlightening and enjoyable.  His straightforward exploration of Richard's actions and motivations segued neatly into how Tudor libel turned Richard III  into a historical monster.  His style is a bit dry, though.  I wanted to enjoy Richard III: The Search for the King's Grave but unfortunately the authors made it difficult to do so.

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