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The author of this scholarly study, a Scottish medievalist, writes that ""Robert Bruce, the ruler of a small kingdom, is one of the great figures in history""; his book verifies the statement. Dealing not with myths and spiders but with harsh historical fact, he writes of the many claimants for the Scottish throne after the death of Alexander III in 1286, and of the conquest of Scotland by Edward I of England, who disrupted the country and claimed the crown for himself. Out of this welter of wars and politics Robert Bruce, born 1274, Lord of Annandale and a claimant for the throne, rose from exile, imprisonment and the ruin of his country to make himself king. In 1314, by routing Edward II and his invading army at Bannockburn, one of the great battles of all time, he established Scotland's independence and rid the country of the English. The book is a study of an idea as well as of a man. An enduring hero, Bruce, ""a mixture of patience, sagacity and daring,"" by his undeviating devotion to Scotland made himself one of the best of medieval kings. The idea he personified, new at the time, was that of ""the community of the realm of Scotland"" as a political entity comprehending both the king's free subjects and the king himself. A legendary man, with the virtues and faults of his time, Bruce died in 1329 at the age of 55. Carefully documented and annotated, this biography of a man and his era will appeal primarily to students of medieval Scottish and English history; readers searching for romance rather than fact will be disappointed. Frontispiece

Publisher: Univ. of California