Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Highland Clearances” as Want to Read:
The Highland Clearances
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Highland Clearances

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  172 Ratings  ·  16 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Highland Clearances, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Highland Clearances

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 405)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Oct 28, 2015 Brian rated it it was amazing
If you are in a really cheerful mood and want to feel depressed, this is just the book for you.

After the 1745 rebellion, the Highland chiefs, due to the way society had changed, no longer needed to be able to raise large numbers of fighting men. They figured out that by running sheep on their land they could make a lot more money than by accepting the relatively low rents paid by their tenants. So guess what? The tenants had to go. Some were forced to the coasts, to take up fishing - of which th
Apr 25, 2016 Colin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is something wrong in the British education system if a person can reach my age and have virtually no knowledge of this whole affair, that lasted over a hundred years and involved the removal of poor people from the Highlands of Scotland. It isn't told as part of the working class struggle, nor as the progress of the industrial revolution - it seems to have been kept secret from our history. So this book was a great revelation to me, I'm afraid to say. What was most disturbing was the cros ...more
Jan 19, 2008 Rena rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 08, 2007 Julie rated it really liked it
Shelves: general
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.
Oct 08, 2012 Lisa rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 29, 2015 Toby rated it liked it
Shelves: history
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
Marguerite Kaye
Feb 11, 2014 Marguerite Kaye rated it liked it
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
Nov 24, 2014 Richard Thomas rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scottish-history
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).
Sep 08, 2013 Cali rated it really liked it
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.
Jul 31, 2013 Gemma rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, history
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.
Sep 25, 2014 Lynn rated it it was ok
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.
Jan 30, 2015 Emma rated it it was ok
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.
Jul 01, 2013 Andrew rated it liked it
Interesting, yet rather dry, history.
Apr 22, 2010 John rated it liked it
A university text from the 70's
Jun 10, 2015 Franklyn rated it really liked it
Land possession in Scotland parallels land possession in South Africa. With an emphasizes on the international role of "capital" as the driver of globalisation.
C. Rufinus
C. Rufinus marked it as to-read
May 24, 2016
Richard J Wilson
Richard J Wilson rated it really liked it
May 23, 2016
Lynne wall
Lynne wall rated it really liked it
May 19, 2016
Katie marked it as to-read
May 17, 2016
DazLightbown marked it as to-read
May 14, 2016
Anouska-Michelle Jack
Anouska-Michelle Jack marked it as to-read
May 08, 2016
Tarn marked it as to-read
Apr 28, 2016
Deborah rated it it was amazing
Apr 24, 2016
Graeme marked it as to-read
Apr 16, 2016
Gordon Brimer
Gordon Brimer marked it as to-read
Apr 16, 2016
Pam marked it as to-read
Apr 16, 2016
Mr Keith Loftus
Mr Keith Loftus rated it it was amazing
Apr 14, 2016
Joe-Marie marked it as to-read
Apr 14, 2016
MR TIMOTHY A KEMPSTER marked it as to-read
Apr 10, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 13 14 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Lighthouse Stevensons: The extraordinary story of the building of the Scottish lighthouses by the ancestors of Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Akenfield: Portrait of an English Village
  • Europe Since Napoleon
  • English Journey
  • The Price of the King's Peace (Robert the Bruce, #3)
  • Three Victories and a Defeat: The Rise and Fall of the First British Empire, 1714-1783
  • A History of the Crusades, Vol. III: The Kingdom of Acre and the Later Crusades
  • A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain
  • The Spice Route: A History
  • Florence: The Biography of a City
  • The First World War: An Illustrated History
  • The Celts (Penguin History)
  • The Steel Bonnets: The Story of the Anglo-Scottish Border Reivers
  • Electric Brae
  • Born Free
  • The Man Who Never Was
  • The Isles: A History
  • The Silver Darlings
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...

Share This Book