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Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America Paperback – 2 Jul 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Mainstream Publishing (2 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845964977
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845964979
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.7 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 171,975 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"An extraordinary and ambitious book, written with power and perfect clarity" (Scotland Magazine)

"Powerful stuff . . . an absorbing book" (BBC Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine)

"An entertaining and thought-provoking read" (Scottish Field)

"A comprehensive account of the effect the Scots-Irish had on the American people of today . . . a scholarly work" (Scottish Home and Country)

"Certainly provides some illuminating historical perspectives . . . definitely worth a read" (Morning Star)

About the Author

James Webb is the author of six bestselling novels, including Fields of Fire and The Emperor's General. He is also a filmaker (Rules of Engagement), an Emmy Award-winning journalist and has taught literature at university level. A descendant of Scots-Irish immigrants from Ulster who emigrated to the British North American colonies in the eighteenth century, he lives in Virginia.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By The Maven Review on 23 Oct. 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As someone who actually is Scots-Irish or Ulster-Scot, I would happily recommend this book. It is an aspect of history that attracts far too little attention, despite the influence the Scots-Irish have had on the world, especially in North America. An influence that for too long, was virtually forgotten.

"A Yank in Belfast" questions a few aspects of the book, such as their defence of the frontier,"...Webb goes too far in defining this attribute as somehow ethnically unique." I would say that Webb actually has a point. If you properly understand the history, culture and character traits of the average Scots-Irish settler, you would know that they were ideal frontiersmen: Independent; self-reliant and unafraid to fight for what they believed in.

Their religious beliefs, through the generations had also moulded many of them into quite radical political thinkers and they played an influential role in rebellions on both sides of the Atlantic in the 1700s. A German captain fighting on the side of the British during the American War of Independence even said, "Call this war by whatever name you may, only call it not an American rebellion; it is nothing more or less than a Scots-Irish Presbyterian rebellion". George Washington said, "If defeated everywhere else, I will make my last stand for liberty among the Scots-Irish of my native Virginia. All of this, combined with such things as their influence over the Declaration of Independence (which a Scots-Irishman printed) and many other things I could list, I think supports James Webb's comments about the importance / influence of the Scots-Irish in the history of the US. The qualities / culture / history of the people, made this possible.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Raindog on 25 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback
Senator Webb is proud of his roots. I'm proud to belong to the same 'family tree', all be it a branch that stayed on the east side of the Atlantic. I felt the book was a good starting point for drawing to our attention the importance of the Scots Prebyterian contribution to the shaping of America. He makes a strong case for celebrating an ethnic group that hardly recognises itself as such. He has also attempted to grasp the nettle of the less attractive aspects of our culture whilst emphasising it's positive impact.
I am glad I purchased and read the book. It deserves to be widely read, not least by the decendants of those people it celebrates.It has become too easy to vilify the white Prebyterian working class, on both sides of the Atlantic. This book might help in the understanding of the pivotal role their values have played here in Scotland, in Ulster and of course in America.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Knox on 14 Oct. 2011
Format: Paperback
Fantastic book on a history rarely covered. I am an Ulster Scot living in Switzerland and was fascinated by the accounts of the seige of Derry and the long hard journey through the fronteirs of America. I think the author made the book very readable and I didnt want it to end.
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Format: Paperback
James Webb has written an extraordinary book about the culture of the Presbyterian Scots-Irish (Ulster-Scots) people and the profound impact that their culture has had on the core values of America's military, working class, and its concept of democracy. Using a writing style of cultural history, social comment, and family narratives, he tracks the historical journey of the Ulster-Scots, over a two thousand year period, taking them from the lowlands of Scotland, to Northern Ireland (Ulster), and onwards to the Appalachian mountains of the United States of America (USA).

He shows how that historical journey has driven the development of the Ulster-Scots culture. A culture with distinguishing characteristics that include: acute individualism, equality of the common man, a warrior ethos, infinite stubbornness, a code of personal honour, self-reliance, courage, quick to defend against attack, opposition to the abuse of power, and a wanderlust.

Webb's historical journey for the Ulster-Scots describes hardship, disappointment, and conflict.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nicky Moffat on 12 Feb. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I, as a Scotsman, read this book on the recommendation of friend, reading it during my deployment in Afghanistan with the 1st and then 2nd Marine Expeditionary Forces. I found the story compelling and borne out in truth from reflecting on my own culture, spirit and history and more so from my interactions with the Marines of the USMC, many of whom trace their lineage back to their Scots-Irish roots; and who were proud to reveal their stories and their heritage. A well researched and gripping account of these, the best of people.
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