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Clan Battles (Hardback)

Warfare in the Scottish Highlands


By Chris Peers
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 224
ISBN: 9781399070034
Published: 2nd June 2023


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Warfare between the clans of the Highlands in the late Middle Ages determined the course of history in this region of Scotland, and Chris Peers’s gripping account of it – and of the rivalry between the strongest clans – gives the reader a deep insight into this bloody, turbulent phase in the development of the far north of the British Isles. The battles he describes, all of them fought between the 1430s and the 1540s, were flash points in the long struggle for dominance between the leading clans of the region.

The battles are reconstructed in vivid detail. The first, Druim n Coub, was fought in 1433 between the Mackays and the Sutherlands. Then came Bloody Bay, a sea fight between rival MacDonald factions, Blar na Parc between the MacDonalds and the Mackenzies, Creag an Airgid between the MacDonalds and the MacIains, Glendale between the MacDonalds and MacLeods, and Torran Dubh between alliances headed by the Mackays and Sutherlands. The final battle, Blar na Leine, fought between the MacDonalds and the Frasers in 1544, marked the end of an era. The subsequent fate of the leading clans, principally the MacDonalds and Mackays, is also covered in a narrative that gives the reader a fascinating new perspective of clan loyalties and conflict which still resonates today.

As well as covering the fighting Chris Peers explains the way war in the Highlands was organized by the contending clans during the period – the strategies and tactics, weapons and armour they employed. The result is an absorbing all-round account of the military history of the Highlands before the clans eventually lost their independence.

Chris Peer's "Clan Battles: Warfare in the Scottish Highlands" features a section of B/W photos, a five page Sources & Further Reading bibliography, and a seven page Index. A work of elegant and fundamental research based scholarship, "Clan Battles" is a welcome, impressively informative, inherently interesting, and recommended contribution to personal, professional, community, and academic library Scottish History collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.

Read the full review here

Midwest Book Review

Scotland has always been fascinating to me. The history, the clans, the amazing countryside.
Clan Battles is well written and interesting. Imagery along the way, makes the history easy to follow and breaks it up.

NetGalley, Julie Oakley
 Chris Peers

About Chris Peers

Chris Peers is a leading expert on the history of ancient armies and warfare and has written widely on the subject. He has contributed many articles to military history, wargaming and family history magazines, and his major publications include Warlords of China: 700BC-AD1662, Warrior Peoples of East Africa, Soldiers of the Dragon, The African Wars: Warriors and Soldiers of the Colonial Campaigns, Battles of Ancient China, Genghis Khan and the Mongol War Machine and King Stephen and the Anarchy: Civil War and Military Tactics in Twelfth-Century Britain.

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