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The Wars of the Bruces: Scotland, England…

The Wars of the Bruces: Scotland, England and Ireland, 1306-1328 (1997)

by Colm McNamee

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751244,805 (3.07)None
England's war with Robert Bruce profoundly affected the whole of the British Isles. Most studies of the period concentrate upon events in Scotland, but this book adopts a broader view, and also covers Ireland, Wales and the Isle of Man.



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It really pains me to write reviews of people's work in the following manner but I have to be honest at least to myself. This is one of the most boring, dreadful, tedious, and altogether uninteresting books I've read in a REALLY long time.
To begin, this book is about Robert the Bruce's various camaigns against the English monarchs Edward I, II, and III respectively. It spans the years 1306-28 and includes those actions in Wales and his brother's expeditions to be crowned "King of Ireland"
Chapter 3 of this book, "The Raiding of Northern England" was honestly the hardest chapter I've ever read in my whole life. It was truly a miserable experience. I may be alone in this. Many readers may enjoy reading precise figures on what each tiny village in Northumbria lost in victuals due to Scottish raiding. If they do, they will love this work because it is page, after page, after page, after page, of the same thing. When bombarded by information like the fact that Egremont lost two water mills about midsummer of 1322 due to Scottish burning, literally hundreds of times, for thousands of words, and hours upon hour, one tends to be lulled into a brain dead trance. I personally began to resent having to read the book.
I've always thought that good history books keep numbers down to a minimum. I understand history IS dates, places, and people. But an overabundance of any of the three in a text make it very difficult to read and/or retain the information within. There is so much minutiae that you will find yourself skimming over it to avoid the dates/places trap.
This book is very echoic and boring.
The second half of this book, starting with the invasion of Ireland is only slightly better.
I do not know why Mr. McNamee gave this work the title that he did. There is barely a half page reference to ANY of the battles of the period. It should not ever be labelled as a military history book.
Why two stars? Mr. McNamee is very obviously and expert on the subject and feels very passionate for it. He incontrovertibly researched this book exhaustingly and thouroughly. But a good author knows what to include and what to leave out to keep the read entertained and interested. This book is a horrible example of how not to do it. ( )
  Poleaxe | Mar 15, 2009 |
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This is a study of war and society in the British Isles.
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