There Was A Soldier - My Review


From the Jacobite Rebellions and the American War of Independence, through the Napoleonic Wars, the Indian Mutiny, two World Wars up to Iraq and Afghanistan, Scottish soldiers have defended British kings, queens and country across five continents – in the process establishing reputations for bravery and fighting skill. This is their history, told not from the reports of generals and far-away journalists and historians, but in their own words; for many of these soldiers were highly literate, being the products of what by the 18th and 19th centuries had become one of the best education systems in Europe. Historian Ken Konstam (a proud Scot and former Royal Navy officer) has gathered together the letters, diaries, reports, poems and ballads of some 50 Scottish soldiers from across three centuries to weave together a sometimes breath-taking and truly touching account of soldiers at war. Not just the obvious tales of heroism, camaraderie and courage under fire that used to be the staple of boys’ war comics, but also the boredom, homesickness, fear, disease and death that they often faced on a daily basis. Konstam’s contribution provides both background and context to the extracts, but he is honest enough to let the soldiers’ own words shine.


Book Reviewer
craven2 said:
... products of what by the 18th and 19th centuries had become one of the best education systems in Europe.
Those were the days.
I'll look out for this one. I would hope that any tome on the history of Scottish soldiers would feature Field Marshal James Keith (1696 > 1758)

On Saturday 11October 2008, the inhabitants of a small village some 20kms west of Berlin unveiled a momument to him. Regarded as one of the finest soldiers of the 18th. Century and a Field Marshal of Frederick the Great of Prussia, he was fatally wounded on the 14th. October 1758 while fighting Austrian forces.

A Scotsman, a Jacobite, and a dedicated Freemason to boot, his epitaph reads - 'Probus vixit, fortis obiit' - He lived honestly, died bravely. ( Source of the above- Freemasonry Today. No9 )

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