Fatal Colours: Towton, 1461 - England's Most Brutal Battle

Fatal Colours: Towton, 1461 - England's Most Brutal Battle

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By (author) George Goodwin

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The Battle of Towton in 1461 was unique in its ferocity and brutality, as the armies of two kings of England engaged with murderous weaponry and in appalling conditions to conclude the first War of the Roses. Variously described as the largest, longest and bloodiest battle on English soil, Towton was fought with little chance of escape and none of surrender. Fatal Colours includes a cast of strong and compelling characters: a warrior queen, a ruthless king-making earl, even a papal legate who excommunicates an entire army. Combining medieval sources and modern scholarship, George Goodwin colourfully recreates the atmosphere of 15th century England and chronicles the vicious in-fighting as the increasingly embittered royal factions struggle for supremacy.

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Author information

George Goodwin is a history graduate of Cambridge, where he was awarded a Foundation exhibition. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Review quote

Fatal Colours is more thank a book about one battle, vivid, humane and superbly researched though it is. It is an account of a moment of profound crisis in English politics -- David Starkey A fantastic historical account of how one man's incompetence put so many at risk BIG ISSUE IN THE NORTH A sobering, revealing account of a dreadful day and a dreadful war. THE PRESS For a nation that is so fond of a bellicose past, it is astonishing that so little is known about this most bloody day in English history. George Goodwin's emotive account of this half-time mark in the Wars of the Roses is an essential addition to our gory story. -- AA Gill, Hon Patron of Towton Batlefield Society The Wars of the Roses have attracted many historians: some deal in the technicalities of military strategy; some chronicle the lives of the chief protagonists. Much rarer is the ability to combine all three - but Goodwin has pulled it off in this page-turning read. -- Helen Castor SUNDAY TELEGRAPH The story has never been told so well or so excitingly...George Goodwin rightly argues that while Towton can claim to be the biggest, longest and bloodiest English battle, what really marks it out is its brutality, its final casual indifference to the rules of war and humanity. -- Desmond Seward BBC HISTORY MAGAZINE Brilliantly researched and superbly written, Fatal Colours vividly brings to life one of the most dramatic periods of our history. -- Tracey Borman, author of ELIZABETH'S WOMEN Utterly captivating, perfectly balanced between fascinating detail and nail biting narrative. I was particularly struck by the attention given to ordinary soldiers and the way in which George had winnowed out the often poignant stories of their lives from the documentary evidence - it's a subject which is often overlooked and gave a fresh perspective on the battle. -- Lisa Hilton, author of QUEENS CONSORT Goodwin... charts his way through the off-putting complexities of the family tree very nicely, enlivening the minor characters while giving the major characters their proper weight in the story... eloquent and easily digestible account, told with an eye for the salient detail, and I hope this is the first in a series of histories of this fascinating but poorly served period...you close Goodwin's wanting to read more -- Toby Clements DAILY TELEGRAPH Written with clarity of style, accessible and engaging. A significant addition to the literature on the period -- Professor Anthony Goodman A cracking job. A very enjoyable read -- David Cooke, Chairman Yorkshire Battlefields Trust Full of fascinating detail. I enjoyed it immensely. -- Allan Harley, Secretary of the Wars of the Roses Federation Goodwin evokes the poignant details of that calamitous day with remarkable force. -- Benjamin Evans The Daily Telegraph The author has used careful research and written an interesting account of this period. It is well recommended. THE HISTORIAN