Clan Donald Hardcover – 18 Jan 2008
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Based on the three volumes also entitled "Clan Donald", first published between 1896 and 1904 by Rev. Drs. Archibald Macdonald of Kiltarlity and Angus Macdonald of Killearnan, "Clan Donald" covers a period of six hundred years, from the foundation of the Lordship of the Isles until 1746, when the clans ceased to exist as separate organised entities. "Clan Donald" is the history of several important clans that descend from the old Kingdom of Macdonald. Each of these clans played its part in the history of Scotland until the final disaster of Culloden. Beginning with Somerled and culminating in an overview of how the Celtic and Roman Churches were influenced by Clan Donald, this book is an all-encompassing reference book of interest not only to members of the Clan, but also to students of the Western Highlands and Isles. Illustrations of the arms of clans, photographs of the Scottish landscape and genealogical charts, maps and plans make "Clan Donald" an invaluable guide.
From the Inside Flap
THE LAST COMPREHENSIVE HISTORY OF Clan Donald was published in three volumes between 1896 and 1904. It was a monumental work written by the Rev. Drs A. and A. Macdonald, the seanachies of the Clan to whom the author of the present volume freely acknowledges his indebtedness for the liberal use he has been able to make of the results of their labours in order to make accessible a history of the Clan modified only in certain respects by the lessons of more recent research.
The book covers the lives and times of the Lords of the Isles from Somerled, Rex Insularum, down to the fall of the Lordship in 1493, and tells the story of the branches which thereafter rose to prominence down to the time of the 'Forty-five when the operation of powerful political and economic forces sped the final decay of an already declining clan system.
At the zenith of their power the Clan Donald Lords of the Isles held sway over vast territories stretching from the Butt of Lewis to the Glens of Antrim, including the western mainland of Scotland from Lochalsh to Kintyre, and for half a century also dominated the north by their possession of the great earldom of Ross. Proud of their descent from Conn of the Hundred Battles through a thousand years to the great Somerled, they bore themselves as independent princes pledged to guard the political and cultural heritage of the Gael against the encroachment of alien influences which threatened its survival. From Somerled's treaty with Malcolm IV of Scodand to the last Lord's fatal treaty with Edward IV of England, the Lords of the Isles asserted their separate authority against the central power of the State, provided order and good rule within their own domain, and left a tradition of wise government borne out in sharp relief by the widespread anarchy which for more than a century succeeded their fall.
With the removal of their patriarchal head, the branches of the Clan were left exposed to the machinations of powerful families whom an unwise royal policy favoured with the opportunity to enrich themselves with the spoils of the defunct Lordship. Foremost among them was the Campbell House of Argyll whose adroit, dissension-provoking policies led to the ruin of two great families and to a fierce hatred among the rest which, more than any sense of loyalty to the Stewarts, inspired them to become the victims of successive lost causes up to the culminating tragedy of Culloden and its aftermath.
DONALD J. MACDONALD, 12th of Castleton, was born in Edinburgh in May 1897. He was educated at the Royal High School where he came under the influence of Dr. W. J. Watson (later Professor of Celtic at Edinburgh University) by whom he was encouraged to take up the study of Highland history and the Gaelic language. The Great War interrupted his studies at the University and, commissioned into the Royal Artillery, he served in Egypt and Salonika until his demobilisation in 1919.
After a period spent at his father's home in the Manse of Arisaig, he decided that the prospects of pursuing a successful career in Britain were somewhat uninviting at the time, and he accordingly joined his elder brother in taking up land in British East Africa under the Soldier Settlement scheme offered by the government for the development of the colony. There he worked and prospered until his great love for Scotland brought him back to this country to settle eventually in Edinburgh and provide the benefits of a Scottish education for his family.
For over thirty years he was associated with the Clan Donald Society of Edinburgh, serving for many years as Secretary and for nine as President, during which he established a close, continuing contact with fellow-clansmen all over the world, fostering their interest in the history and traditions of the Clan and encouraging the formation of their own Societies whose growth and development he viewed with great pride.See all Product description
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It is full of fascinating historical episodes but in my opinion shows more grasp of genealogy than history. The text is lucid and readable but does not sparkle. In fact a harsh critic might call it rather dry.
It rarely involves itself in controversies about the clan, either as to origins, actions or ultimate decline, and I was myself disappointed with the parts concerning its role in the conflicts between Montrose's campaign and Culloden. For a much more gripping book on some of that history try John Prebble.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This book is broken down into chapters on all of the Kings and Lords of the Isles from Somerled down through Lord John, Earl of Ross with a subsequent chapter on the final downfall of the Lordship as John son and Grandson and a few other notables of the clan try to reclaim it. Then there are chapters of each of the major branches of Clan Donald including; the MacAlisters of Loop, Alexanders of Menstrie, Maciains of Ardnamurchan, Macdonalds of Glencoe, Macdonalds of Dunnyveg and the Glens, Macdonnell of Antrim, Macdonalds of Clanranald, Macdonalds of Glengarry, Macdonalds of Keppoch and the Macdonalds of Sleat. In each of these chapters is explained the beginnings of the clan as it broke away from the main Lordship line and its history up until it either ended or to Culloden and the dispersal of the clan system. Each chapter tells the tale of each of the Chiefs of the Clan and some of the more famous members who stood out in history and even founded further Cadet branches of the Clan. The history and stories are amazing. Each carefully told to show the individual clan but also how each was interwoven with the Lordship and how all these Clans and their Cadets were still part of the greater Clan Donald.
The final two chapters are on the Chiefship and the story behind the current High Chief of Clan Donald and true heir to the Lordship of the Isles, plus the story of the Church and how it grew and supported the Lordship and Clan Donald through its rich history.
The book is also sprinkled with nice Black and White photos of Castles or landmarks important to the history of Clan Donald, easy family trees to help follow the Chiefs of the different clans and finally beautiful color plates showing the extent of the lands of the Lordship, a representative of the Lords of the Isles and where each of the major Clans broke off and finally color plates of each of the Chiefs and High Chief of Clan Donald today.
My Grandmother was a McDonald and she was proud of her history. This book captures it all and then some. I had a hard time putting it down and continue to return to it for research and for entertainment in stories. The history is so varied and intense. I recommend this book to all my family members and anyone else with an interest in Clan Donald.
A book this thorough and complete is a gem and Clan Donald should be the number one source for each proud member of Clan Donald. This book is worth every dollar paid and more. A true treasure of family and Scottish history.