by John Prebble
This is the story of ordinary men and women involved in the Rebellion, who were described on the gaol registers and regimental rosters of the time as 'Common Men'.
There is little in this book about Bonnie Prince Charlie and other principals of the last Jacobite Rising of 1745.
Culloden recalls them by name and action, presenting the battle as it was for them, describing their life as fugitives in the glens or as prisoners in the gaols and hulks, their transportation to the Virginias or their deaths on the gallows at Kennington Common.
The book begins in the rain at five o'clock on the morning of Wednesday, 16 April 1746, when the Royal Army marched out of Nairn to fight the clans on Culloden Moor.
It is not a partisan book, its feeling is for the 'Common Men' on both sides - John Grant charging with Clan Chatten and seeing the white gaiters of the British infantry suddenly as the east wind lifted the cannon smoke, and Private Andrew Taylor in a red coat waiting for Clan Chatten to reach him, likening them to 'a troop of hungry wolves'.
Culloden reminds us, too, that many of the men who harried the glens as ruthlessly as the Nazis in Occupied Europe were in fact Scots themselves. It recalls the fact that many men in Prince Charles' army had been forced to join him.
It shows that a British foot-soldier's wish for a sup of brandy on a cold morning before battle is as much a reality as a Prince's pretensions to a throne.
The detail for the story told in Culloden has come from regimental Order Books and manuals, from contemporary newspapers and magazines, from the letters and memoirs of soldiers and officers, eye-witness accounts of atrocity and persecution, and the personal stories of the victims themselves.
Culloden is the story not of a Prince, but of a people.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 368 pages, 8pp b/w halftones
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 02/05/2002
- Category: British & Irish history
- ISBN: 9780712668200
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by FloridaWriter
John Prebble's "Culloden" is a history, gleaned from official documents, letters, diaries and other sources, but it reads more like a novel. It holds the reader's interest while sharing little-known information about a tragic and turbulent time in Scottish history.
Review by sirfurboy
This is a meticulously researched narrative hostory of the events leading up to Culloden and that fateful battle itself. The author does an amazing job of describing the situation in the Scottish highlands of the time, and exploring the various threads and political intrigues that led up to this rebellion. He describes the conditions in the British army and amongst the highlanders, and no holds are barred in his description of the bloody aftermarth either.This is no romantic fairy tale history. This is the story of what happeend at Culloden, and why. The author considers all points of view, without bias, in his presentation. If you only read one book about Culloden ever, this should be the one you read.