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Recommended books on the Jacobites

A list of the best reading on the Jacobite risings and the wider Jacobite period

There are many books covering the Jacobite period and this list shares the most essential reading for those interested in the period from the Revolution of 1688 to the battle of Culloden and beyond.


Fight for a Throne: The Jacobite ’45 Reconsidered by Christopher Duffy

The bid of Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Jacobites for the throne of Britain has never lost its grip on the popular imagination. In July 1745 he and a tiny group of companions arrived in Scotland. They came unannounced and unsupported, and yet within less than five months Charles was able to lead an army to within marching distance of London and make King George II fear for this throne. Afterwards the Highland Army continued to out-fight the redcoats in every encounter, except its very last. These were not the achievements of a backward-looking cause, and this ground-breaking study is the first to explain exactly why.


Jacobites: A New History of the ’45 Rebellion by Jacqueline Riding

The 1745 Jacobite Rebellion was a turning point in British history. When Charles Edward Stuart, commonly known as the Young Pretender, sailed from France to Scotland in July 1745, and with only a handful of supporters to claim the throne for his exiled father, few people within Britain were alarmed. But after he raised the Stuart standard at Glenfinnan in the Western Highlands, destroyed a contingent of the British army at Prestonpans near Edinburgh, and then marched south into England, swiftly reaching Derby, the rising threatened to destabilise the British state, dethrone King George and the Hanoverian dynasty, while disrupting Britain’s military capability in Europe and colonial activities in America and beyond. Less than four decades after the controversial Act of Union between Scotland and England, arrogance and incompetence on the part of government ministers had allowed the small danger Charles and his Jacobite army had initially posed to escalate into a full-scale civil war: part of the on-going dynastic, political and ideological struggle for the heart and soul of this new nation. 


Battles of the Jacobite Rebellions: Killiecrankie to Culloden by Jonathan Oates

Many books have been written about the Jacobite rebellions – the armed attempts made by the Stuarts to regain the British throne between 1689 and 1746 – and in particular about the risings of 1689, 1715, 1719, and 1745. The key battles have been described in graphic detail. Yet no previous book has given a comprehensive military account of the campaigns in their entirety – and that is the purpose of Jonathan Oates’s new history. For over fifty years the Jacobites posed a serious threat to the governments of William and Mary, Queen Anne, and George I and II. But they were unable to follow up their victories at Killiecrankie, Prestonpans, and Falkirk, and the overwhelming defeat suffered by Bonnie Prince Charlie’s army when it confronted the Duke of Cumberland’s forces at Culloden in 1746 was decisive. 


I am Minded to Rise: The clothing, weapons and accoutrements of the Jacobites from 1689 to 1719 by Jenn Scott

This book throws new light on the men who fought for the Stuarts in Scotland from the beginning of the Jacobite cause in 1689 to Glenshiel in 1719 by drawing on the work of historians and a wide range of primary sources and therefore presenting a picture based on the evidence available. I am minded to rise looks at the variety of clothing and weapons used by the different Jacobite armies in this time period as well as their material culture used by them to show their allegiance to the Stuarts and the Jacobite cause.


The Jacobite Wars: Scotland and the Military Campaigns of 1715 and 1745 by John L. Roberts

The Jacobite Wars is a detailed exploration of the Jacobite military campaigns of 1715 and 1745, set against the background of Scottish political, religious and constitutional history. The author has written a clear and demythologised account of the military campaigns waged by the Jacobites against the Hanoverian monarchs. He draws on the work of recent historians who have come to emphasise the political significance of the rebellions (which had been dismissed by earlier historians), showing the danger faced by the Hanoverian regime during those years of political and religious turbulence. 


1715: The Great Jacobite Rebellion by Daniel Szechi

Lacking the romantic imagery of the 1745 uprising of supporters of Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Jacobite rebellion of 1715 has received far less attention from scholars. Yet the ’15, just eight years after the union of England and Scotland, was in fact a more significant threat to the British state. This book is the first thorough account of the Jacobite rebellion that might have killed the Act of Union in its infancy. Drawing on a substantial range of fresh primary resources in England, Scotland and France, Daniel Szechi analyses not only large and dramatic moments of the rebellion but also the smaller risings that took place throughout Scotland and northern England. He examines the complex reasons that led some men to rebel and others to stay at home, and he reappraises the economic, religious, social and political circumstances that precipitated a Jacobite rising. Shedding new light on the inner world of the Jacobites, Szechi reveals the surprising significance of their widely supported but ultimately doomed rebellion.


Crucible of the Jacobite ’15: The Battle of Sheriffmuir 1715 by Jonathan Oates

Just over three centuries ago, there was a major battle in Scotland that was to decide the fate of the newly established – and bitterly contested – union of England and Scotland. On one hand there was a numerically superior army, trained and armed but officered by men of varying experience. Facing them was a small, but better experienced and officered British Army. Both armies; one entirely Scottish and the other a mixture of Scots, English and Irish were led by Scottish noblemen. Victory to either side meant control of the gateway from the Highlands to the Lowlands and then England, where the political prize awaited.


The Jacobites: Britain and Europe, 1688-1788 by Daniel Szechi

The product of forty years of research by one of the foremost historians of Jacobitism, this book is a comprehensive revision of Professor Szechi’s popular 1994 survey of the Jacobite movement in the British Isles and Europe. Like the first edition, it is undergraduate-friendly, providing an enhanced chronology, a convenient introduction to the historiography and a narrative of the history of Jacobitism, alongside topics specifically designed to engage student interest. This includes Jacobitism as a uniting force among the pirates of the Caribbean and as a key element in sustaining Irish peasant resistance to English colonial rule. As the only comprehensive introduction to the field, the book will be essential reading for all those interested in early modern British and European politics.


The Battle of Glenshiel: The Jacobite Rising in 1719 by Jonathan Worton

With Scots fighting on both sides, the 1719 rising was on one hand a civil war, a continuation of the Jacobite wars, a protracted period of intermittent political and armed conflict affecting the British Isles from the late seventeenth to the mid-eighteenth centuries; and on the other hand was an extension of the wider European war of the Quadruple Alliance, ranging the powers of Great Britain, France, the Netherlands and Imperial Austria against Spain. For these reasons a battalion of white-coated Spanish infantry fought beside Jacobite clansmen at Glenshiel, while there were Dutch infantrymen in the opposing ranks of the government army.


The Battle of Killiecrankie: The First Jacobite Campaign, 1689-1691 by Jonathan D. Oates

There has not been an account of the first attempt made in Scotland to restore the exiled Stuarts at the end of the seventeenth century for three decades; most accounts stop with the death of the movement’s first leader, ‘Bonnie Dundee’. This book is the first full-length account of the military struggle between forces loyal to the newly established Scottish government and the Jacobite cause. It does this by first considering the political and religious situation in Scotland and to a lesser extent its southern neighbour, from the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 to the revolution of 1688-1689, which was far more radical in Scotland than it was in England, and which produced a constituency with a grievance which a new restoration might solve.


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Editorial
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