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  1. #1
    MacRob's Avatar
    MacRob is offline Oops, it seems this member needs to update their email address
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    Fight For A Throne - The Jacobite '45 Reconsidered

    An acquaintance recommended that I read this because it was the most detailed account he had ever read of the last Jacobite Rebellion. I have read several books on the subject and thought I was fairly familiar with the events, but after reading the first 350 pages it appeared I had barely scratched the surface. That is both a good thing and a bad thing with this book.

    Mr. Duffy has done a prodigious amount of research to write this book but, quite frankly, wading through all of it and trying to see the overall picture of events from the details is excruciating! While a lot of the detail is interesting and important, much of it is just minutiae. The author also occasionally repeats some things several times in the space of a couple of pages. For example: the Jacobite army, as did all armies in this era, at one point near Macclesfield discharged, nearly in unison, all its firearms so the guns could be cleaned and reloaded. Lengthy quotes by different local residents regarding what they heard or thought they heard when this took place, are inserted three times within two pages. I think once would have been enough. One topic which he examined in detail was the relationship between Lord George Murray and the rest of Prince Charles' staff, especially Lieutenant Colonel O'Sullivan, who was Murray's main target in any dispute. The interaction between them has always been thought to be the downfall of the entire enterprise, although there were many other factors which contributed. But Mr. Duffy manages to thoroughly examine the question of who was at fault in these matters and makes it clear that it was Lord George. I think his treatment of this subject was interesting and illuminating.

    There are quite a few typos. Most of them are obvious as to what the writer meant and the proofreader/editor (if there was one) missed, but having to stop at that point and figure it out is distracting. I found myself going back over the preceding sentences to be sure I had not misinterpreted what Mr. Duffy was saying, rather than there being a typo, which got me bogged down in the book.

    Maps are inserted here and there in the book and the author drew most of them. However, they are not always located where the text discusses the areas mapped and I found myself flipping back and forth in the book. They are useful but could be more so.
    I read a review elsewhere which stated that Mr. Duffy did not cover the political situation at the time of the rebellion sufficiently in his book. I have to disagree. He did a very good job of laying it out in the early stages of the book and did not overburden the reader with unnecessary information, unlike some other parts of the book. It is not neglected elsewhere in the book either. A newcomer to that period of British history will have little difficulty surveying the political landscape using Mr. Duffy’s book.

    I understood, before I began the book, it was going to break new ground regarding the military phase of “The ‘45” and that is what it does best, albeit with a bit too much detail. Even so, it appears that much of the new ground is the detail, carefully researched and related but somewhat inconsequential to the overall story.

    Mr. Duffy added some “afterthoughts” and appendices to the book which contained some useful information, and which was more useful by being segregated from the main body of the book. He also included weather maps of Great Britain and Ireland during the time of the rebellion as Appendix II. I just scanned this one and did not feel it was necessary or added anything to the narrative but it may be useful to someone doing further research.

    Overall this is an impressive work. However, and I have touched on this already, a lot of the detail was unnecessary to an understanding of the events and could have been left out without affecting the narrative. With indexes, appendices and footnotes, the page count ended up at 678. It took me about two months to read it.

  2. #2
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    Dr. Christopher Duffy is sometimes called "the historian's historian" which may account for the excessive academic detail.
    http://blog.helion.co.uk/1745-jacobi...n-reappraisal/

    Alan

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  4. #3
    MacRob's Avatar
    MacRob is offline Oops, it seems this member needs to update their email address
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    That is an apt description of Mr. Duffy, based on this one book, which is the only one of his works I have read. It is worthwhile to read and own and I will refer back to it from time to time, I'm sure.

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