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Blood on the Thistle - The heartbreaking story of the Cranston family and their remarkable sacrifice

Blood on the Thistle - The heartbreaking story of the Cranston family and their remarkable sacrifice [Kindle Edition]

Stuart Pearson , Robert G Mitchell
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £17.99
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Product Description


'An impossibly sad story' - THE SCOTSMAN 'A movingly re-imagined history' - FAMILY TREE

Product Description

Blood on the Thistle is an examination of the life and times of a remarkable Scottish family, the Cranstons of Haddington, East Lothian. It focuses on a period from about 1880, when the young, hard-working parents, Alec and Lizzie Cranston, arrived in Haddington, through to 1920, when the family they had produced, torn apart by the effects of the Great War, broke up as its surviving members pursued separate lives around the globe.

Out of seven sons who served in the First World War, four died and two more were horrifically wounded; only one, the youngest, returned home physically unscathed. This book explores the effects of this extreme sacrifice on the sons themselves as well as the loved ones they left behind, particularly their mother, Lizzie, who mourned them for the rest of her days.

This is the tale of how a once proud and aspirational Scottish family was devastated by war, and how the effects continued to ripple through time and generations. Until, a century later, the threads of this remarkable family finally begin to be drawn together again, in a book that is at once a superb documentary account and a moving tribute to a generation.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2795 KB
  • Print Length: 314 pages
  • Publisher: John Blake (5 Jun 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00KEW862S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #169,281 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You won't be disappointed 19 July 2014
First off, let me say that I did some research for this book. However, this review is completely objective. If I hadn't liked the book I simply wouldn't have written a review.

This true story is a heartbreaking one, with four sons from a single family perishing during the First World War. The focus is on the lives of all the family members and the impact it had on the surviving members, especially the mother. The story is woven around a fictional narrative, much like Thomas Keneally's Schindler's Ark. And it is done well - the characters are engaging, and the story flows incredibly well. I read it on the bus to and from work each day and a few times nearly missed my stop. Much of the time the Scots dialect that the family would have spoken is used, but where it may be confusing to non-Scottish readers it is well footnoted.

What interested me most when I picked up this book was the research. I'm a researcher by trade and an expert (if I may say so myself) in East Lothian history (I worked for eight years as the Local History Officer in the county). To say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement. Stuart and Bob have researched the history of the town of Haddington, where the family hailed from, incredibly well. There were so many little facts thrown in that the level of research they did must have been immense. And if they've researched the town to such a depth, it goes without saying that they've researched every aspect of the book. The resources used back up this assertion, with archives from across the world contributing to the story. But Stuart did not simply rely on the dry words of a history book or a military diary, he got out into the real world and contacted the descendants of the family - from Australia, Scotland, Canada, and probably even further afield.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Having got a hardback copy and signed by both author's.
The book was very sad at times, uplifting and thoroughly thought provoking.
It shows the human cost of World War One and all the sacrifices the Cranston family especially endured.
Although other families suffered mightily too.
Values of and to the family and to God, country each other.
Today these values mean less.
I recommend this book.
Well written with good research.
I Hume.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tragic WW1 family 3 Aug 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have bought literally hundreds of WW1 books and this is in my top 10. The fact Haddington where the family came from is only 10 miles from me really brought events home to me.

I even checked out the inscription on Abbey bridge and it's clear as a bell still after 106 yrs.

This has been a labour of love for the author but excellent book
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As a scot I had never heard of this book but I found it very interesting and sometimes very sad.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 27 Aug 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A great read and a heartbreaking story which gives great insight into the tragedies of WW1
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