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The Highland Clearances

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  140 ratings  ·  14 reviews
In the terrible aftermath of the moorland battle of Culloden, the Highlanders suffered at the hands of their own clan chiefs. Following his magnificent reconstruction of Culloden, John Prebble recounts how the Highlanders were deserted and then betrayed into famine and poverty. While their chiefs grew rich on meat and wool, the people died of cholera and starvation or, evi ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 31st 1969 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published 1963)
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In the sixty or so years between 1790 and 1850 the tenant-farming population of the Scottish Highlands were evicted - often brutally so - from their ancient homelands, forming a diaspora across the world and denuding the already barren landscape of the north of Scotland of such settlements as existed. This is a story little known south of the border but forms an important and tragic part of Scotland's history. John Prebble's classic book on the clearances shows passion, poetry and a good deal of ...more
The first 50-75 pages are a little dense on the financial reasons why the highlands were cleared. But you do need to know the bottom-line, monetary motivation of the land owners to make you truly appreciate the horror of people getting forced off their land to be replaced by sheep. Made me cry/get very angry at how people treat each other.
Im 18. Jahrhundert waren viele schottische “Clan Chiefs” bereits “anglisiert”, d. h., sie waren in England zur Schule gegangen und hatten sich an den Lebensstil und die englische High Society angepasst. Doch dieser Lebensstil kostete viel Geld. Gleichzeitig kam die Industrialisierung in Gange und den Lairds blieb nicht verborgen, dass man mit Schafen und ihrer Wolle sehr viel mehr Geld verdienen konnte, als die Landbevölkerung dem kargen Land in den Highlands jemals abringen konnte. So kam es da ...more
A hard-hitting tale of the History of the Scottish Highlands and the misery and starvation and abandonment of the Highlanders,some of the forced to emigrate to the USA and Canada. If you are interested in history,this should suit you.
An excellent book on the subject. I have read and re-read his books and own most of them. Interesting and readable, you don't want to put his books down.
Marguerite Kaye
I didn't give this the 4 stars it deserves as a history because it's not an easy read. It's case-based, but very dense, and though personal and emotive, I found it very hard to read in more than very short bursts. I bought it for research purposes and it certainly did the job on that - lots of meat on the causes and effects of the Clearances, and enough context to give you a good head start on such a difficult subject. I wasn't reading this to get a fuller understanding of the Clearances as a hi ...more
Richard Thomas
It's a harrowing story of aristocratic arrogance clearing people off land they had held for centuries for sheep. The clearances broke the bond of mutual obligation that had held highland society together and still scar today. Prebble's sympathies are obvious (and shared by this writer).
I got lost amongst the names and places a few times, and it's not completely chronological, but for the most part, John Prebble makes it very easy and interesting to read about what happened in the north highlands in the hundred years following the Battle of Culloden. He conveys respect, reverence and a bit of indignation for the rich and tragic history of that beautiful and, now understandably, remote part of the country.
I really wanted to learn about the Clearances as it is something that hadn't been covered at school. This book didn't add much to my knowledge. There was a lot of information in it but it was so dry that I haven't retained any of it. It's not laid out in a way that you could just use it as a reference book but as prose it is just such a trudge to get through.
The author's case-by-case recounting of this tragic episode in Scotland's history was informative, and his sources are good, but I felt his tone was more that of a novelist than an historian. There is very little attempt at objectivity or finding truth that might not always jive with popular perception. There are much better books on this topic.
I found this a slow, difficult read and wasn't able to finish it. I appreciated that Prebble was trying to give a 360 degree perspective on the Clearances but somewhere the story lost its impetus and I stopped reading.
Interesting, yet rather dry, history.
A university text from the 70's
Land possession in Scotland parallels land possession in South Africa. With an emphasizes on the international role of "capital" as the driver of globalisation.
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John Edward Curtis Prebble, FRSL, OBE (23 June 1915 - 30 January 2001) was an English/Canadian journalist, novelist, documentarian and historian. He is best known for his studies of Scottish history.

He was born in Edmonton, Middlesex, England, but he grew up in Saskatchewan, Canada, where his father had a brother. His parents emigrated there after World War I. Returning to England with his family,
More about John Prebble...
Culloden Glencoe The Story Of The Massacre The Lion in the North Mutiny The Darien Disaster: a Scots Colony in the New World, 1698-1700

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