Highlander: The History of the Legendary Highland Soldier

Tim Newark, Author . Skyhorse/Herman Graf $24.95 (306p) ISBN 978-1-60239-951-8

The famed kilted regiments with their pipes and drums march forth in this appealing history. A British military historian and consultant to several BBC documentaries, Newark (The Mafia at War ) opens on the stark landscape of geographical isolation: the Scottish Highland settlements. The first Highlanders—unemployed farmers, enforcers, mercenaries, bandits, rebels—had a fierce reputation, and by the early 16th century, the Highlanders' image “was already set... as an untamed tartan-clad warrior who rushed upon his enemy like a wild animal.” Newark takes the reader directly onto the battlefields, from the 1746 Battle of Culloden and the New York Highlanders' 1861 baptism of fire at Bull Run to fighting in France and Burma during WWII. A closing chapter surveys the Highlander as depicted in ads, novels, films, and toy soldiers. The book benefits from exhaustive research, unpublished manuscripts, memoirs, and letters: “I clove a piece out of one of their heads just as one does an egg for breakfast and saw his white brain exposed.” Such statements by the Highlanders themselves, which Newark unearthed, make for a powerful portrait of ferocity and courage. 8 pages of b&w photos. (Apr. 6)

Reviewed on: 02/15/2010
Release date: 04/01/2010
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