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This review is from: 1745: A Military History of the Last Jacobite Rising (Paperback)There have been many histories of the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion and many more continue to be published. The question is, why should the reader bother with this one?
Well, it provides a wholly new perspective on the rising. Though the writer claims that he is not biassed, this is not the case, and this is not necessarily a bad thing. This book sees the rising as much from the viewpoint of the British Army (which the author once served in) as it does with the Jacobite rebels. Most histories are vice versa.
The Dyke of Cumberland and General Hawley, often and uncritically labelled 'The Butcher' and 'Hangman' are given a fairer assessment. Likewise, Lord George Murray, often praised as the genius of the rebel army, and O'Sullivan, another leading rebel, are reappraised. Far from being a genius, Murray is portrayed as a military novice who often made tactical errors. Sullivan comes off rather better - an experienced soldier, not a buffoon.
Reid is good on military details; many authors are not. Thus he rightly points out that cannonfire against the rebels at Culloden was not hugely effective until the rebels reached close quarters. He also squashes the myth that the defenders of London were an ill trained rabble of amateurs.
Of course, the book is not perfect. Concentrating wholly on military factors, we do not see any of the crucial political, religious and economic factors which were also of importance.
This is a long overdue revisionist treatment of the rebellion and should act as an antidote to the majority of pro-Jacobite histories in this field.
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