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Sons of the Mountains: The Highland Regiments in the French and Indian War, 1756-1767, Vol. 2 Paperback – May 20, 2006
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About the Author
Lt. Col. Ian McCulloch is a former commander of the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada. He is the author of several books on Canadian and North American military history.
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That said, the raw material is excellent and the short bios in the second volume of all the officers who served in the 42nd, 77th, and 78th highland battalions during the period covered are just wonderful. As the other reviewers properly state, the maps are good and illuminating (but still lacking for a purist). The use of first hand accounts lends a flavour of you-are-there that heightens the impact of the already compelling stories. The hardships and suffering experienced by these hardy warriors comes through clearly and makes the reader grateful that those times are long gone.
The short discussion of the setts of the plaids worn by the battalions of the 77th and, particularly, of the 78th, could have been much 'juicier' as there is a lot of well-researched and conflicting opinions about this subject. At the very least, the book should have included detailed coloured pictures of the various 'tartans' discussed.
Perhaps the second edition will benefit from the attention of a decent editor, just another map or two, and just a few decent colour representations of the plaids, and then this set can become the classic work it deserves to be. Do read it!
The section on officer registers is subdivided by the three Highland Regiments (42nd, 77th, 78th), which in turn is listed in order of rank, starting with lieutenant colonels and going down to ensigns, surgeons and quartermasters. Each entry lists dates of promotion to each successive rank and a capsule biography (up to half a page per individual); this section is a real gem because it provides real detail on the lives and careers of 18th Century junior officers that is rarely accessible. It is obvious that the author put an enormous research effort into compiling this information and simply pulling together this data for a single regiment would have been a daunting task.
The sections on weapons, uniforms, and equipment provide detail on every aspect of the Highland soldiers kit. This section is similar to the Osprey Warrior series level of coverage. Noteworthy is that the author did not neglect the support troops, spending time to discuss the roles of surgeons, quartermasters and even chaplains - a nice touch. The author also provides selected regimental muster roles, so that readers can see for example, all the names of the men in the 2nd Company, 78th Foot in September 1763. The essays include two oral histories, an essay on chaplains and one on pipers in the Highland Regiments. Overall, this is an impressively detailed and insightful look into three famous regiments and 18th Century warfare.
IAN M. MCCULLOCH
PURPLE MOUNTAIN PRESS, 2006
QUALITY SOFTCOVER, $19.00, 200 PAGES, LISTS, BIBLIOGRAPHY, ILLUSTRATIONS, MAPS
This is the follow-up book or VOLUME 2 in Ian M. McCulloch's excellant SONS OF THE MOUNTAINS: THE HIGHLAND REGIMENTS IN THE FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR, 1756-1767-VOLUME 1. While the first volume gave a detailed history of the 42nd, 77th, and 78th Regiments of Foot, this volume is specifically a reference work. But this isn't just any reference work because it contains a complete register of the regimental officers of the above mentioned regiments. Other sections include their dress, weapons, equipment, and specialities. Also included are essays and muster rolls and land petitions (many of these soldiers remained in North America upon their discharge with some playing a very significant part in the American Revolution and the fight for our independence from Great Britain.) The register is very eye-opening in that it not only gives a short biography of these officers but also their dates of promotion for each rank. Support troops aren't left out either with information provided on their roles within the regiments. After reading both volumes, the reader will not only get a better understanding for what type of soldier built the British Empire but also what it was like being a soldier in 18th Century North America.
Lt. Colonel Robert A. Lynn, Florida Guard