Prebble, John

Culloden

I'd heard a lot about the Jacobites, about Bonnie Prince Charlie and William of Orange before him, so when I happened upon this book I bought it straight away. I was not disappointed.

The book deals with the battle and its aftermath. It does not deal with Bonnie Prince Charlie (see next review) hardly at all, but with the common man's experiences of the battle and the various events within it and around Scotland following it.

I won't cover actual events as that will spoil the reading of the book, but what shocked me was the brutality of the red coats following the battle. Everyone knows who won the battle, this book shows why but doesn't place it in the context of what happened throughout the '45. What's clear is that, like so many other determining battles throughout history this is very much a 'what if' situation. What if the men hadn't been starving. What if so many hadn't deserted to look for food. What if their ruse to attack Cumberland's forces the previous night had come off - and so on ad infinitum.

But to go back to the aftermath of the battle - I think most Final Conflict readers would be shocked to think that the King's forces could treat the Scottish people as they did; beating, raping, pillaging, murdering, starving etc. etc. You get the feeling that the author is no Jacobite ("This is the story of what ordinary men and women suffered in the Rebellion for a cause that was never theirs") - but tells the facts as they happened. Many who suffered weren't Jacobites either, some were even 'loyal' or 'neutral' Scots. What's clear is that the ruling establishment looked down on the Scots as barbarians needing to be beaten into submission.

This book is a corker. Whilst Braveheart gets you cheering, this book will get you sobbing.

(Penguin Books. ISBN 0 14 00.2576 6)


Return to the Index of reviews

Final Conflict
The Nationalist Fanzine

Email: finalconflict@dial.pipex.com

Home Page
About FC
Subscriptions
Back Issues
Email Newsletter
Reviews
Merchandise