CULLODEN by John Prebble


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Culloden was the climatic (and for the Scots, disastrous) military encounter of the 1745 Rebellion, the last attempt by the Jacobite Scottish highlanders to overthrow the Hanoverians in favour of the Stuart pretenders to the British throne. Ignoring the romantic nonsense surrounding the figure of ""Bonnie Prince Charlie"", Mr. Prebble discusses the battle and its consequences for the Highlands in terms of the ordinary men of both sides. Only about a third of the book is devoted to the actual battle, although a clear account is given of the slaughter in which nearly half the 5,000 clansmen gathered on Drummossie Moor were killed. A preliminary section describes the clan system then prevailing, the pressures put upon the clansmen to join the rebellion, and, on the other hand, the composition and character of the English army. The greater part of the book tells what came after the terrible defeat of the Scots: how the brutalities and atrocities of the English cavalry against the populace in the countryside were part of the deliberate policy of the British government as punishment for a ""savage"" people, how Jacobite prisoners were cruelly treated; transported to penal servitude or executed. Anyone who has trudged through Scottish museums and wondered what the Forty-Five was all about will find the human -- as opposed to the dynastic or sentimental -- answer in this sobering, sometimes horrifying account.

Pub Date: Feb. 8th, 1961
Publisher: Atheneum