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Describing and analysing the military encounters that have taken place in East Lothian, Arran Johnston shows how the main strands of Scottish history came together in the nation's Battle County. From the saltire's first appearance (Athelstaneford 832), through bitter Anglo-Scottish conflicts (Dun bar 1296 & 1650, Pinkie 1547) and the trials of civil war (Carberry 1567, Prestonpans 1745), East Lothian's experience of battle reflects the story of the nation. Alongside the great battles for which the county is famous, Johnston also discusses less well-known episodes, including sieges and skirmishes, which complete the picture. Throughout he draws on contemporary accounts to convey the atmosphere of battle and the evolution of the weaponry, and reports on his visits to the sites of these conflicts today.
Blood Stain'd Fields is timely into print as the Scottish nation gives increasing protection of its battlefields with a national inventory. Attention is also growing of the education and economic benefits of battlefields, not least at Prestonpans where the author is based and which is advancing its own campaign for the better interpretation of the Jacobite cause.
Arran Paul Johnston is a historian who graduated from Edinburgh University and now plays a leading role with the Battle of Prestonpans Heritage Trust.
20 colour, 20 black and white illustrations
Prestoungrange & Cuthill Press
BIC HBW, 1DBKS, 2AB, 3JF
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An excellent example of local history with wider implications. The battle accounts are clear and unbiased and Scottish defeats are given the same level of detail as Scottish victories. The set-piece battle narratives are supported by good accounts of the wider campaigns that led to the major clashes, as well as the many sieges and smaller skirmishes fought in the area. HISTORYOFWAR.ORG