The Rash Adventurer - The Rise and Fall of Charles Edward Stuart

Forster, Margaret

This book tells of 'Bonnie Prince Charlie's' life, from start to finish. Well, it actually starts with King James II's flight into exile. What excited me about this book, after reading 'Culloden' was that I was about to get the full background to the terrible events of that infamous battle. What struck me most about the book was Charles Edward Stuart's fallibility.

Whilst he was incredibly brave, launching a campaign without the backing of the French or the Spanish, and won over many people to his cause by speaking to them directly, he also made great errors and preferred to listen to sycophants than honest judgement.

Still, shortcomings aside, this book is very much 'Boy's Own' type stuff. Landing in a country with no definite support for a full scale campaign; winning over a few clans to fight the establishment; marching on foot across country with his faithful clansmen - this Prince, regardless of his faults, cannot but be admired for striking fear into the Hanovarians and their allies.

As this book covers the whole '45 campaign it has even more 'what ifs' in it than Culloden. The victories that could have been more professionally taken advantage of, the battles that were avoided which may have been won and so on.

Yet again, a very interesting read.

(Book Club Associates)

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