Books: The Average Brute

RICHARD THE THIRD (602 pp.)—Paul Murray Kendall—Norton ($5.95).

Thou elvish-mark'd, abortive, rooting

hog . . .

The slave of nature and the son of hell! Thou slander of thy mother's heavy

womb ! Thou loathed issue of thy father's loins!

Shakespeare is throwing this mud at Britain's Richard of Gloucester, alias "Richard Crookback," better known as Richard III. Generations of students have gasped with horror at the monstrous doings of Britain's basest king, notorious for the murder of his young nephews ("The Little Princes in the Tower''). Not for three centuries did historians begin to wonder whether Crookback could possibly have been quite so crooked. Now....

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