Author(s): 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.
Yet the reality of the '45 continues to be obscured by fiction and myth, as personified by the heroic, gallant but doomed 'Bonnie Prince Charlie' versus the heartless victor, 'Butcher' Cumberland. In the years 1745-6 nothing was certain. While utilising past and recent scholarship, this magnificent account draws extensively on a wealth of contemporary sources, revealing the thoughts and feelings of the key players and local eyewitnesses as these extraordinary events played out. What emerges is a story more complex, paradoxical and even tragic than the myth suggests. From the exiled Stuart court in Rome to the palaces of Versailles and Holyroodhouse, from the battlefields of Flanders to Falkirk and Culloden, Jacobites brilliantly sets the '45 in its full and proper context on the stage of European history. And in our own time of seismic shift for the Union, the British political system, constitution and monarchy, Jacobites offers a timely re-telling of this critical episode in our island's shared past.
The extraordinary and dramatic history of Prince Charles Edward Stuart's 1745 campaign to seize the throne of Great Britain
A gripping, panoramic and timely account of the greatest eighteenth-century crisis to menace the Union of Great Britain -- Tom Holland Substantial, deeply researched and fast-moving, it mingles the thrill of revolt with a careful analysis of international contexts and motives Literary Review A fresh and historically convincing perspective ... An enthralling narrative [and] and a work of penetrating insight and dispassionate balance, which is captivating from start to finish -- Guardian Colin Kidd Page-turning, impeccably researched ... weaves a more complex tale than is taught in schools either side of the border Tribune A lively read, combining a good and succinct military account within wider and political social context ... I enjoyed and recommend -- Book of the Month Military History Magazine Her specialism in fine art, heritage and architecture means the book has an unusually acute sense of person and place ... It is both scholarly and readable, with 60 bite-sized chapters each presenting a detailed, vivid part of a complex rebellion BBC History Magazine Jacqueline Riding's Jacobites brilliantly captures the extraordinary daring of Bonnie Prince Charlie's '45, and takes us step-by-step to the final disaster at Culloden. This is the definitive modern account of the Jacobite Rising -- George Goodwin, author of 'Benjamin Franklin in London' and 'Fatal Rivalry: Henry VIII, James IV and the Battle for Renaissance Britain' Riding will expand even specialists' knowledge of the '45 because of her use of new source material, but her vivid storytelling and lively characterisation will also attract the general reader ... She provides fascinating biographical details of the Jacobite leaders and skilfully uncovers their mutual suspicions and divisions. This is a well-researched and honourable attempt at an impartial history. Tablet For those who know nothing about the rebellion, Jacobites is an excellent place to begin. For those who know much about the subject, Jacqueline Riding provides a comprehensive, fair-minded and well-researched account. She will lead every reader, whatever their expertise, on an exciting and highly entertaining journey -- Paul Monod Court Historian One of the most incisive accounts of the second Jacobite uprising under Bonnie Prince Charlie succeeds by putting hard-headed analysis before hindsight ... A forensic and accomplished account .. It is an immensely rigorous and meticulous book, but the narrative momentum never flags ... Riding has done sterling service in providing one of the most nuanced and sophisticated histories of the '45. Time and again, it offers fresh perspectives and interesting angles -- Stuart Kelly Scotland on Sunday Jacqueline Riding achieves a remarkable feat in producing a history which is both compulsively readable and factually packed. Having brilliantly toured the political situation of mid eighteenth-century Western Europe, she takes us along on the political (and then military) campaign trail with the Young Pretender. But the triumph of Riding's new account of the 1745 rebellion is that, as we move from Rome, through Paris, to Scotland and England, we are taken grippingly from romance to comedy, and even high farce, before the eventual tragedy Catholic Herald The use of contemporary accounts, especially from women, offers a different and compelling perspective to events ... Even-handed, refreshingly free of jargon ...[it reads] like a thoroughly researched adventure story Library Journal A meticulously researched work of great scholarship. The author writes with flow and panache and the book is immensely readable. -- Maggie Craig, author of 'Damn' Rebel Bitches: The Women of the '45' goodreads Witty and psychologically astute ... impeccably researched yet vigorously paced ... Riding has mined the archives to retrieve lost voices and her panoramic vision lets us hear the evolution of a national discourse Country Life
Dr Jacqueline Riding specialises in eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century British history and art. She read History and Art History at the universities of Leicester, London and York, and has over twenty-five years' experience working as a curator and consultant within a broad range of museums, galleries and historic buildings, including the Guards Museum, Tate Britain and Historic Royal Palaces. From 1993-1999 she was Assistant Curator at the Palace of Westminster and later founding Director of the Handel House Museum, London. Her publications include Houses of Parliament: History, Art, Architecture (2000). She was the consultant historian and art historian on Mike Leigh's award-winning Mr. Turner (2014) and is the consultant historian on his next feature film, Peterloo. Jacqueline Riding is an Associate Research Fellow in the School of Arts, Birkbeck College, University of London and lives in South London.