17 von 18 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
- Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Having read many books about the Marquis of Montrose, I have become a fan of his, so my review may reflect that bias. Perhaps that is why I can give this present work only a marginal approval rating. Stuart Reid seems to write this from a distinctly English/Covenanter standpoint.
Before I deal with the negatives, let me say that overall the book is good. The paintings of the battles add greatly to the presentation, and give the reader a good idea of the face of an English Civil War battle. Sketchings of clothing and uniforms as well as weapons and flags are placed throughout the book.
While the entire campaign of 1644-45 is covered, much of the book deals with the central battle of Auldearn. Mr Reid details this battle well, with both maps and photographs. Understanding what happened at Auldearn can enable a person to get a good grasp of the entire period.
The maps are good, although in typical Osprey fashion the middle of each two-page map is obscured by the bookbinding. This is unfortunate, since much of the action in a map occurs in its center, but this is the very part that cannot be clearly seen.
Now the negatives. Mr Reid seems to have a desire to detract from Montrose's fame and achievements. Perhaps this is because he believes that Montrose has benefited from "hero worship" and been raised to nearly mythological status. In this he may be correct, but his efforts to "set the record straight" seem to lead to an over-reaction against Montrose. For instance, Mr Reid seems to consistently underestimate the size of the Covenanter armies. I say this because his figures often disagree with virtually every other account of the battles that I have read. Perhaps Mr Reid is right on some accounts, but I wonder if he may have just wanted to diminish Montrose's accomplishments.
Another, perhaps picky, observation is that Mr Reid refers to Montrose's troops as rebels and Alasdair MacColla's Irishmen as mercenaries. Montrose in fact supported the legitimate government of King Charles and so was not a rebel at all. The Irish were decidedly not mercenaries; they were involved in a blood feud with Clan Campbell, and fought for glory, honor, and plunder. Montrose had no money to pay them, even if he had wanted to. Again, I must wonder at Mr Reid's motive in designating the troops this way. It seems to demean them somewhat.
By the way, in spite of what the back cover says, Montrose did not surrender at Philiphaugh.
Despite my criticisms, I do indeed recommend this book, but only as a companion to other, more thorough accounts of this very interesting campaign.
- Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
The Campaigns waged by the Marquis of Montrose and Alasdair MacColla are a fascinating part of Scottish history, and Stuart Reid has done a service by introducing the Royalist insurrection of 1644 to 45 to Osprey. That said, the other reviews herein make extremely valid points about content. Reid has sometimes received hefty criticism for his work, which sometimes is warranted and sometimes is not, but the best thing about Auldearn 1645 is that is an accessible introduction to the topic. Unfortunately, the casual Osprey reader often does not have the time nor the money to purchase something more detailed if they are simply curious, and yet for that Reid gives you a lot for your investment and a fairly competent overview; I bought this book on a whim, I enjoyed it, and it inspired me to go back to the topic. Granted after making the decision to invest time and money in more detailed studies (Buchan, Wedgewood, Stevenson), it is clear that Reid's work is flawed in some aspects, especially as has already been enumerated by the two other reviews (though I would say we lack portraits for most of the commanders because we simply do not know of any in existence). But I would respectfully disagree with the reviewer who said this work is a waste of time; in my opinion it is a great introduction to a fascinating part of the British Civil Wars. The work covers not just Auldearn (though it receives the most detail in typical Osprey style), but Kilsyth, Inverlochy, Alford, Tippermuir, and Philiphaugh (not in that order, mind). It is an operational history, a true "Campaign" narrative. It has plenty of points which can be argued against, but it is a good overview.
While not decisive in their outcome like the wars to the south, Montrose's Campaigns represent the state of flux of seventeenth century British warfare and culture clash that existed outside the pitched engagements at Edgehill, Marston Moor, and Naseby. Levies of Hebridean Scottish and Irish soldiers mixed with Gordon Lowlanders and Athol Highlanders facing off against similarly diverse Covenanting forces; a world in which the musket still has strong competition from the pike, the sword, and bow in terms of operational use. It seems backward to those who look for dynamic change, but it represents the war on the Celtic fringe, which was for all that no less a part of the Civil Wars as a whole. Likewise, Montrose's Campaigns are wide in their scope, and the maps don't always make it easy to comprehend the distances nor how he got from one to another, but this was a war that reflected smaller mobile "flying column" operations. They didn't much impact the war in England, but they were a thorn in the side of Parliament's Covenanting Allies, to whom Montrose was a real threat. Likewise these were huge events in the cultural history of Scottish Gaeldom; the battle of Inverlochy especially is remembered in scores of Gaelic songs and poems, in the memory of victor and vanquished.
One should perhaps take some of Reid's statements with a pinch of salt (as both reviewers have very well said "Irish Mercenaries" is taking a rather antiquated view that MacColla's men were all veterans of the Spanish Army of Flanders), and sometimes his troop numbers can be inconsistent with other works, but this is a great intro to the topic, and I would recommend it to those new to the subject.
11 von 30 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
R. A Forczyk
- Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
It is difficult to see how Stuart Reid's volume on the Auldearn Campaign in Scotland in 1645 made it into Osprey's Campaign series. For a series that claims to provide "accounts of history's greatest conflicts," this obscure sideshow to the English Civil War clearly does not rank as a "great conflict." Indeed, since Osprey has yet to produce volumes on significant battles like Friedland, Stalingrad, El Alamein, Tannenberg, , Blenheim or Actium, it is amazing that they would stoop to devoting an entire volume to a campaign that hold so little historical or military value (surely a section in the upcoming Essential Histories volume on the English Civil War could have sufficed). Nor is Reid, who wrote admirably about the Georgian-era British Army and the Culloden campaigns, up to snuff in this volume. He does not so much narrate this campaign as inflict it upon the reader, making it about as pleasurable as a root canal. With Auldearn 1645 Reid has accomplished the unthinkable - he has displaced Bosworth 1485 as the worst volume in the Osprey Campaign series.
The introductory sections on background, opposing commanders, plans and armies occupy a mere 11 pages - well below the series average. Noticeably, there is a portrait of only a single commander, the Marquis of Montrose. Reid provides only the faintest detail on other commanders, such as noting that MacColla was a professional soldier, but doesn't even mention the age of 3 of 4 leaders. The section on opposing armies is skeletal. The actual campaign narrative is an interminable 73 pages long (seemed like 900). Normally, I detail the maps and graphics that support the author's text, but there seems little point in this case, since Auldearn 1645 is so meandering. Readers should also note the very large number of current photographs of the various "battlefields" in this volume - Reid had a lot of void to fill. The rest of the artwork varies from fair to mediocre to irrelevant (lots of crude sketches of Highlanders).
First and foremost, the Auldearn Campaign simply didn't matter because the English Civil War was decided by Englishmen in England, not small bands of Irish mercenaries and Scottish tribal levies in the boondocks of Scotland. Montrose's plan to attract Parliamentary forces away from the main fighting in England was an early and conspicuous failure, since his forces - while elusive - were just too small to matter. Furthermore, Royalist forces lacked the popular support necessary to control large population areas, which was necessary for decisive results in a civil war. Another important factor, noted by Reid, is that many of the Scottish levies used by both sides had local agendas that had nothing to do with Royal authority (e.g. Clan Donald). Thus, win or lose, Montrose's wanderings in Scotland had negligible effect upon the outcome of the English Civil War. Even the authoritative Encyclopedia of Military History by Dupuy & Dupuy devotes only three short sentences to this entire campaign. Yet Reid, who seems hell-bent upon detailing every miniscule tactical movement, ignores this essential lack of strategic relevancy.
Another reason why this volume is a complete waste of time is the lack of sufficient reliable data to support Reid's narrative. Reid's paragraphs are so riddled with expressions like, "assuming," "it is likely," "this could mean," "this can be read to mean," "not quite so clear," "is uncertain," "is unknown," "was not explained" that the reader will quickly tire of all this vague guessing and wonder just what the author actually knows for a fact. It is particularly unsettling when Reid has to cite "local ballads," "local traditions," and "a pretty widespread rumor." Auldearn 1645 has the feel of poorly written historical fiction, not military history.
Finally, the Auldearn Campaign is simply not worthy of serious military study, since the forces involved were such primitive tactical throwbacks. At a time when real tactical development was occurring in England and on the continent, Reid bores the reader with detailing a battle where neither side had artillery, where perhaps 50% of the troops fought with pikes or swords, and where cavalry was used in only tiny amounts. Indeed, the recurrent lack of pre-battle reconnaissance by most of the combatants, and the preference for simple, frontal assaults mark the Auldearn Campaign as an affair of merely armed mobs. It is also significant that despite Reid's numerous photographs of modern cow fields in Scotland, there is only a single photograph of one small plaque marking one of the actions in the campaign; that should demonstrate to the reader just how well-remembered the Auldearn Campaign is in Scotland today. When I visited the Inverness-Nairn area years ago, I found plenty of mention of the Battle of Culloden, but not a word of Auldearn.