Bannockburn 1314: Robert Bruce's Great Victory Paperback – Illustrated, 25 Mar 2002
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Armstrong's assured style makes the entire campaign both easy to understand and straightforward to follow. --Military Illustrated
About the Author
Peter Armstrong went to Keswick School after which he travelled widely before taking a degree in Fine Art at Maidstone College of Art. He was an art teacher in Kendal in Cumbria for several years but is now among other things the sculptor behind Border Miniatures, specialising in producing military miniatures from the medieval period. In the course of his model making, Pete has amassed a wealth of research material and his writing is the fruit of these labours. Pete's previous publications include Ancient and Medieval Modelling in the Masterclass Series. Graham Turner is a leading historical artist, specialising in the medieval period. He has illustrated numerous titles for Osprey, covering a wide variety of subjects from the dress of the 10th-century armies of the Caliphates, through the action of bloody medieval battles, to the daily life of the British Redcoat of the late 18th century. The son of the illustrator Michael Turner, Graham lives and works in Buckinghamshire, UK.
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The issue is, with the kinde version, on my tablet, these images are mutilated into multiple parts across multiple pages making the intended use, practically indecipherable, making the entire point of them, moot.
Some visual guides, such as coat of arms, images of castles and Stirling remain on one page unhindered.
The written aspect is very clear cut, jumping back and fourth with a more distanced examination without interpretation of character. In depth detail to events up to, and after Bannockburn itself are light. But, in regard to Bannockburn itself (as per the title of the book) it goes into much greater detail of the topography, failings of the English side, tactics of the Scots and the lessons learned from the battle.
If you are interesting in the War Of Independence - specifically on Bannockburn having read up on information before hand, it probably worth picking up. For information on Robert The Bruce himself, it is very light. As mentioned, the main strength and problem, is that the visual information, in the format of the kindle, is completely ruined.
The most important issuse are:
1. Where was the battle fought? He has no idea. His version is nonsense.
2. Where were the 4 bogs, the streams, the escarpments, ridges and depressions in the ground (Important and revealing here: one is 75ft, the other 54ft both on the Dryfield). He has the Pelstream drawn badly wrong: he has used Barrow's defective work. The strategy is impossible because of this mistake.
3. Where were the woods? He doesn't know much about this.
4. He has not the least idea about the road, the Ford and St Ninians. In 1314 there was only one road, it had to cross the burn at the Ford because there was no bridge till 1516, a mistake made by almost everyone else. This is explained in BR p359-370. The vital additional critical fact is that the Kirk was built in 1242 beside the road (which went along St Ninians Main Street). So that was the road in 1314. He ought to read this at last, 15 years later.
The list of primary sources is disastrous! There are only three! There should be at least ten. The most vital is Brut y Tywysogyon Peniarth MS20 version trans by Prof Thos Jones, published by Univ of Wales Press, 1952, page 123 there tells us that the battle was fought among the pools. Barbour tells us the English camped in the Carse because of the Pools. Bk12 p467 391-395. These quotes are essential! They define the battle site as the Carse.
I attended the book launch of this and knew immediately that this author's interest was only in Heraldry, the real difficulties of strategy, tactics, ground, personnel, training, were a closed world to him.
His best plan, even yet, is to go back and read the books that do solve the problems.
This book is not worth reading but it has some nice images of Heraldry. Osprey continually show a marked absence of intelligence in all that they publish.
Fun to read and captivating throughout.
Neither figure is what could be called controversial or wildly different from other modern accounts, expect maybe for Mel Gibson and fellow travellers.
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