I suspect most people would think that the English destroyed highland society, perhaps in retribution for Jacobitism and Coludden, through their prohibitions of highland culture. While that might have played a role, the clearances by the clan chiefs themselves made a far greater contribution to this destruction.
Traditional highland society was based on a system of hereditary clan chiefs who between them owned almost all of the land in the highlands, ruling over their clans with absolute authority. Around the end of the 18th century, there were a number of changes, most notably the introduction of the highly profitable cheviot sheep to the highlands. The chiefs evicted their clanspeople from their ancestral homes casting them around the world.
It is a sad story, and one that has been forgotten in popular history which favours a more anti-English, Scottish underdog narrative. Preble does a great job of describing the plight of the highlanders but also goes into great detail about the personalities, politics, and economics of the clearances. His book is well researched, with plentiful references to contemporary records and accounts. Overall its is a very good book, and well worth a read.
- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Penguin (General UK); 1 edition (25 March 1982)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140028374
- ISBN-13: 978-0140028379
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.8 x 19.7 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 81.6 g
- Customer Reviews:
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 123,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)