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Culloden (1961)

de John Prebble

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

Séries: The Highland Trilogy (2)

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560732,068 (4.09)32
The story of the famous battle - from the acclaimed expert on Scottish history. The book begins in the rain at five o’clock on the morning of Wednesday, 16 April 1746, when the Royal Army marched out of Nairn to fight the clans on Culloden Moor. This is the story of the battle and of what followed, the destruction of a way of life and the persecution of a people. It is the story not of Bonnie Prince Charlie but of ordinary men and women involved in the Rebellion, who were described on the gaol registers and regimental rosters of the time as “Common Men.” The book recalls them by name and action, presenting the battle as it was for them, describing their life as fugitives in the glens or as prisoners in the gaols, their transportation to the Virginias or their deaths on the gallows. From the Trade Paperback edition.… (mais)
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This book was really personal to me. My grandfather came to America in 1926 from the Glencoe region of Scotland. He was so very proud of obtaining his United States citizenship but his heart and soul wandered those beautiful hills and glens of his beloved Scotland until the day he died. This book is well researched but you have to have connections to actually say you enjoyed reading it. There is nothing enjoyable about what happened here on the cold, rainy, foggy April day when the British and the Scots fought the battle known as Culloden on Culloden Moor. Culloden Moor is a tract of moorland in the county of Inverness, Scotland, forming a part of the northeast of Drummossie Moor and lying about 6 miles (10 km) east of Inverness. A great deal of it is bogs and that was one factors that made it the “wrong” choice for a battle…as if there is a ”right” one. Mr. Prebble discusses the battle and its consequences for the Highlands in terms of the “ordinary “men of both sides. There is little ordinary or equal about the men that fought this disaster…but I found out after 16 years of living around my grandfather that nothing is as hard headed or as determined to protect his own and his country as a Scotsman. 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 Scottish clansmen gathered on Drummossie Moor were killed. Trying to define “fault” is about as useless as trying to say who was right and who was wrong in any long ago dispute…everyone has an opinion. I…of course was for the Scots…this was my grandfather after all, and as he pointed out often... “my people’. He was always forgetting that the other half of “my people” were Irish. I know that no matter the outcome or who was right and who was wrong…I will never forget standing in the rain as a 7 year old child beside my grandfather at the Visitor’s Center honoring the Scottish dead that fought in this battle and seeing this strong, but never silent man that I loved more than anything on this Earth…weep for his long lost ( )
1 vote Carol420 | Nov 19, 2020 |
The last formal pitched battle involving British soldiers on British soil – I choose my words carefully to avoid bringing in the brawls between black and white GIs in WW2 which are a whole other story – was a tawdry affair of 1746 that has been elevated to a romanticism that it does not deserve. It was a well-organised force raised by the Hanoverian George II under the command of his son William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, set against a rag-tag army raised, often on pain of loss of land, livestock and home, by Highland chiefs still loyal to the Stuart monarchy. Cannon and musket against broadswords, fought on a foul April day on a boggy moor between Inverness and Nairn with a bitter east wind blowing sleet and snow into the faces of the Highlanders. It was a rout; the moor afterwards littered with bodies of Highlanders many of them broken by grapeshot. It was also the end of serious resistance to the triumphant Whigs, who like all big winners went on to write the history of the times as self-righteous, self-justifying truth. The aftermath of Culloden isn't generally part of that history; it's not much taught in British school history and it's a shameful blot on the nation. What followed the events on Drumossie Moor was an act of genocide.

John Prebble, working in the 1950s and early 1960s (the book was published in 1961, just a year after Macmillan's "Wind of Change" speech) dug up the dirty truth of Culloden and its aftermath from accounts and journals of people who took part on both sides as ordinary soldiers. He is sympathetic those on both sides, they were the hapless pawns of history after all, but not to their leaders. Charles Edward "Bonnie Prince Charlie" Stewart, the hero of the romantic version, is only ever a shadowy presence in the background, flitting from one bolthole to another as the slaughter went on.

Prebble gives a clear and detailed account of the battle itself but that is less than half of the book and, for me, the least interesting part (although I'm sure those interested mainly in military history would be fascinated) but from the common soldier's perspective. The triumphant Whig soldiers, many Lowland Scots amongst them, marched from the battlefield into Inverness slaughtering any hapless civilian they met on the way, unrestrained by their officers. Inverness was occupied and prisoners crammed into the town's Tollbooth and, when that would take no more, into any available cellar until the stench of death and neglect became unbearable. From Inverness the Whigs spread out over the Highlands and Islands with a scorched earth, slaughtering, burning and pillaging the lands of the clansmen, driving off and selling the cattle into the Lowlands and England, starving the Highlanders, who were regarded as savages much as the Indians in the American colonies were, into submission. Unrepenting Highland chiefs were taken to London to be eviscerated for the entertainment of the Tyburn mob. The wearing of tartan and Highland dress and the speaking of the Gaelic language was proscribed; the law was repealed forty years later but by then it was much too late. The clan system was broken, the clan chiefs who survived were assimilated and their landholdings consolidated so that they could finish the job of clearing the Highland people so the land could be sold to English sheep-farmers. And all was safe for the romanticising of the Highlands, the invention of "clan tartans" made possible by chemical dyes and the Yorkshire woollen industry, and the whole shortbread-tin, tartan-tat Scottish tourism industry.

Culloden isn't an easy read; it's intensely harrowing in places as befits the subject matter. But it really ought to take its proper place in the history syllabus just to teach the point that national history and myth isn't all as glorious as some would have us believe. The winds of change are blowing once again, not through Africa this time but through Scotland itself, a Scotland which is waking up to its own history and regaining its self-confidence. The kilt – the authentic, homespun, vegetable-dyed version – is being worn with pride once again outside the tourist areas. There are Gaelic road signs in the Highlands and Islands and bilingual station names on the railways even in places where Gaelic was never much spoken. The true story of Culloden is not being forgotten. ( )
4 vote enitharmon | Jan 14, 2019 |
The last formal pitched battle involving British soldiers on British soil – I choose my words carefully to avoid bringing in the brawls between black and white GIs in WW2 which are a whole other story – was a tawdry affair of 1746 that has been elevated to a romanticism that it does not deserve. It was a well-organised force raised by the Hanoverian George II under the command of his son William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, set against a rag-tag army raised, often on pain of loss of land, livestock and home, by Highland chiefs still loyal to the Stuart monarchy. Cannon and musket against broadswords, fought on a foul April day on a boggy moor between Inverness and Nairn with a bitter east wind blowing sleet and snow into the faces of the Highlanders. It was a rout; the moor afterwards littered with bodies of Highlanders many of them broken by grapeshot. It was also the end of serious resistance to the triumphant Whigs, who like all big winners went on to write the history of the times as self-righteous, self-justifying truth. The aftermath of Culloden isn't generally part of that history; it's not much taught in British school history and it's a shameful blot on the nation. What followed the events on Drumossie Moor was an act of genocide.

John Prebble, working in the 1950s and early 1960s (the book was published in 1961, just a year after Macmillan's "Wind of Change" speech) dug up the dirty truth of Culloden and its aftermath from accounts and journals of people who took part on both sides as ordinary soldiers. He is sympathetic those on both sides, they were the hapless pawns of history after all, but not to their leaders. Charles Edward "Bonnie Prince Charlie" Stewart, the hero of the romantic version, is only ever a shadowy presence in the background, flitting from one bolthole to another as the slaughter went on.

Prebble gives a clear and detailed account of the battle itself but that is less than half of the book and, for me, the least interesting part (although I'm sure those interested mainly in military history would be fascinated) but from the common soldier's perspective. The triumphant Whig soldiers, many Lowland Scots amongst them, marched from the battlefield into Inverness slaughtering any hapless civilian they met on the way, unrestrained by their officers. Inverness was occupied and prisoners crammed into the town's Tollbooth and, when that would take no more, into any available cellar until the stench of death and neglect became unbearable. From Inverness the Whigs spread out over the Highlands and Islands with a scorched earth, slaughtering, burning and pillaging the lands of the clansmen, driving off and selling the cattle into the Lowlands and England, starving the Highlanders, who were regarded as savages much as the Indians in the American colonies were, into submission. Unrepenting Highland chiefs were taken to London to be eviscerated for the entertainment of the Tyburn mob. The wearing of tartan and Highland dress and the speaking of the Gaelic language was proscribed; the law was repealed forty years later but by then it was much too late. The clan system was broken, the clan chiefs who survived were assimilated and their landholdings consolidated so that they could finish the job of clearing the Highland people so the land could be sold to English sheep-farmers. And all was safe for the romanticising of the Highlands, the invention of "clan tartans" made possible by chemical dyes and the Yorkshire woollen industry, and the whole shortbread-tin, tartan-tat Scottish tourism industry.

Culloden isn't an easy read; it's intensely harrowing in places as befits the subject matter. But it really ought to take its proper place in the history syllabus just to teach the point that national history and myth isn't all as glorious as some would have us believe. The winds of change are blowing once again, not through Africa this time but through Scotland itself, a Scotland which is waking up to its own history and regaining its self-confidence. The kilt – the authentic, homespun, vegetable-dyed version – is being worn with pride once again outside the tourist areas. There are Gaelic road signs in the Highlands and Islands and bilingual station names on the railways even in places where Gaelic was never much spoken. The true story of Culloden is not being forgotten. ( )
  enitharmon | Jan 14, 2019 |
During the late Proterozoic, the Iapetus Ocean began to close as Laurentia and Baltica moved toward each other.


By the end of the Silurian, the ocean was completely closed, to make the supercontinent of Laurasia. Closing created a number of strike-slip faults, as the continents didn’t exactly merge at right angles; the most famous being the Great Glen fault; it also caused the Caledonian Orogeny (the Acadian Orogeny in North America); the worn down remnants of that are the Scottish Highlands.


When the Atlantic began opening in the late Triassic, most of the split took place along the old suture line – but not all of it; hence Scotland and Northern Ireland remained on the European (Baltica) side, while eastern Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and eastern New England remained on the North American (Laurentia) side. The Great Glen fault remained a zone of weakened rock, and as the eons passed it was eroded into a valley – a glen – and Pleistocene glaciation gouged out the Moray Firth, Loch Ness, Loch Lochy, and Loch Linne.


Time passed. The glaciers retreated and people turned up. Petty chiefdoms rose and fell; eventually the Picts and Norse and Britons consolidated into the Kingdom of Scotland, and after a thousand years or so of that, King James VI of Scotland became King James I of England. His descendents faired poorly; Charles I was beheaded by Cromwell, and although Charles II cavorted with a host of mistresses he had no legitimate offspring and his brother became James II of England (and therefore James VII of Scotland). James II had the misfortune to be Catholic, and England was in no mood for a Catholic king; thus he was quickly deposed by his own daughter Mary. Mary was also unlucky in the inheritance department; her sister Anne succeeded her, and when Anne died childless the throne passed to George I, Elector of Hannover, a distant descendant of James I daughter Elizabeth.


Except there was another claimant – the son of James II, James Francis Edward Stuart – the “Old Pretender”. Most of the Catholics of Scotland, many of the Catholics of England, and some of the Protestants preferred him to George, who couldn’t speak English and who was obese, pop-eyed, and not exactly the sort of regal figure people expected the King to be. The Pretender’s partisans became known as Jacobites (presumably because it was more Latin than Jamesites) and their toasts to the King were done with the wine goblet passed discretely over the water tumbler – “the King over the Water”. There was an abortive attempt to put the Old Pretender on the throne in 1715 (The ’15) and then a rather more serious on in 1745, led by the Pretender’s son, Charles – “Bonny Prince Charlie”.


Landing in Scotland, Charles quickly gathered an army of Highland chiefs and the clansmen (with a few Jacobite Englishmen and some French and Irish mingled in.) Most of the English army was away in Europe, fighting the French in The War of the Austrian Succession. Charlie and his Highlanders were initially quite successful, routing an English army at Prestonpans and taking Carlisle, Manchester and Derby – prompting the Royal family (by now headed by George II) to begin preparing for a retreat back to Hannover.


However, by now English troops had been withdrawn from Europe and the Highland army was exhausted. It was the middle of winter and food and forage were hard to come by. The expected Jacobite support in England proper never materialized, and the Jacobite council of war agreed to retreat back to Scotland and try again next spring.


Which, finally, 900 million years later, brings us to the subject of this review –Culloden, by John Prebble – an account of the last large scale battle on British soil.


English forces under William Augustus, son of George II and Duke of Cumberland, gradually pursued the Jacobite army north. The principal weapon of the Highland army was the “Highland charge”; screaming clansmen in kilts running at top speed, target on the left arm and basket-hilted broadsword raised on the right. Cumberland spent the rest of the winter of 1745-46 camped near Aberdeen, training his troops in new bayonet tactics to deal with the Highlanders; instead of trying to deal with the Highlander directly in front, each redcoat was to bayonet the opponent to his right, whose side was unprotected.


Charlie may have been bonny, but he wasn’t a general, and neither were most of his retinue. While Cumberland’s army was well supplied by sea, the Highlanders had gradually eaten everything they could lay their hands on in the vicinity of Inverness. Charles attempted a night attack, but his troops got lost before ever encountering Cumberland, and then stood on the defensive at Culloden – Highland tactics being singularly unsuited to defense.


The Highlanders waited in line; apparently Charles was expecting Cumberland’s army to advance. Instead, Cumberland’s cannon simply pounded the clans with shot. Eventually the Highlanders could stand no more and they charged; local topography made most swerve toward Cumberland’s left.


There was some local success; two English regiments were beat up pretty badly. But the Highlanders were now flanked on both sides, and the charge was spent. Survivors turned and fled.


Cumberland’s dragoons road down and sabered anybody they could catch, including a lot of bystanders who had come to watch the battle. The infantry marched across the moor, bayoneting or shooting everybody left alive. Casualties were about 2000 on the Jacobite side and about 200 of Cumberland’s men.


The aftermath was as grim as the battle – just slower. Anybody who had the slightest link to the Jacobite side – who had been heard giving a toast to Charles, who had provided food or shelter, or who just was in the wrong place at the wrong time, was killed or imprisoned. That summer, Cumberland set up “Cumberland’s Chain” – a string of fortifications along the Great Glen. Thus we finally get to all that stuff that started in the Neoproterozoic. The string of lochs and rivers made it easy for Cumberland to supply his troops and fortification by small boats from Inverness or Fort William, and the fortifications made it impossible for Highlanders to travel cross country. All the cattle within 50 miles of the forts were rounded up and driven south; all the houses were looted and burned. The Royal Navy patrolled the coast and did its own looting and burning everywhere within reach of a landing party. Charlie got away to France.


All weapons had to be turned in, down to knives and daggers. Kilts and plaids were banned. One prisoner in 20 was selected by lot, tried, hanged, drawn and quartered (there were one or two “Not Guilty” verdicts, much to everybody’s surprise). The remainder – those who didn’t die in prison or on the hulks – were transported to the North American or West Indies colonies. The Highland clan system was permanently destroyed; most of the chiefs were dead and even those clans who had remained loyal to the House of Hannover were viewed with suspicion (in most cases, it wasn’t really because of loyalty to George II; it was because a long term rival clan had signed on with Charlie).


Prebble’s account is gripping (although he doesn’t provide that much background information, starting with the battle itself). One note that doubtless caused a lot of controversy – and Prebble admits it – is his claim that most of the “clan lore” of Scotland, particularly tartan patterns, dates to after Culloden and is something like the “Lost Cause” myths of the American South.


I was inspired to read this by the adventures of Claire and Jamie in the Outlander series. Good maps, and well indexed. All the references are pretty old. This book started a sort of Culloden revival, with a number of other works disputing or confirming Prebble. Of particular interest is an excellent movie, Culloden, based on Prebble’s book and done in a “documentary” style, as if the battle was being covered by news camera teams. The film used amateurs from Inverness and the Lowlands, as director Peter Watkins wanted to avoid the appearance of too many healthy and fit people on screen. ( )
  setnahkt | Dec 6, 2017 |
Prebble gets around to the last battle of the Jacobite Rebellion in good detail. Though there's a tone of Hagiography the account is colourful and well researched. Those who like this sort of battle study will find this a worthy addition. The book was first published in 1961. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Oct 31, 2015 |
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Prebble, JohnAutorautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Brockway, HarryIlustradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Porter, DavinaNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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The story of the famous battle - from the acclaimed expert on Scottish history. The book begins in the rain at five o’clock on the morning of Wednesday, 16 April 1746, when the Royal Army marched out of Nairn to fight the clans on Culloden Moor. This is the story of the battle and of what followed, the destruction of a way of life and the persecution of a people. It is the story not of Bonnie Prince Charlie but of ordinary men and women involved in the Rebellion, who were described on the gaol registers and regimental rosters of the time as “Common Men.” The book recalls them by name and action, presenting the battle as it was for them, describing their life as fugitives in the glens or as prisoners in the gaols, their transportation to the Virginias or their deaths on the gallows. From the Trade Paperback edition.

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