OVER THE SEA TO SKYE: The Forty-Five by John Selby


Email this review


A handsome companion to Daiches' fine The Last Stuart (KR, p. 540) by the British military historian whose Balaclava (1970) was such a happy blend of scholarship and insight into the dominant personalities. Here, undoubtedly in an attempt to avoid the lingering traditional romantic aura surrounding the Bonnie Prince, et al., Selby concentrates on the march and planning (or lack of it) from the bumptious beginnings at Loch-nan-Uamh to Derby, Stifling, and Culloden and back again. Selby sidesteps any firm position on the wisdom of the Derby retreat decision, but he has reconstructed from contemporary sources that stormy council of war in which one view comes through clearly: ""With no French landing and little English support, a force of 5,000 was too small to match the 12,000. . . in front and. . . the 9,000 behind."" Selby does venture one statement concerning the result of the about-face: the spirit of the Highlanders, so large a part of the Prince's military and moral support, was never the same again. The major battles are given meticulous attention and there are frae reproductions and maps (some in color) -- for battle buffs and Scottish nationalists, two clans unto themselves.

Pub Date: Aug. 27th, 1973
Publisher: St. Martin's Press