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What I'm reading

February 23rd, 2003

The Green Flag by Robert Kee, is a three volume history of Ireland, from the Norman invasion led by Strongbow to the end of the Civil War. Excellent background for anyone wanting to understand the current situation in Northern Ireland.

In reading this, it struck me that, although I have significant Scottish ancestry, I don’t have any real clue about Scottish history prior to Mary Queen of Scots. I know a bunch of jumbled up names and stories – Sir Patrick Spens and the Maid of Norway, MacBeth and Duncan, John Knox and Darnley, Bruce, Balliol and Wallace, but no real idea of how they all fit together. I’m not even quite sure which ones are real and which fictional.

Arguably, this doesn’t matter. I’m not greatly interested in history of the ‘kings and battles’ kind, and the developments that really affected the world of today, such as the rise of Parliament, took place in England. And my family links are to the Highlanders of the Isles, who were largely unaffected by what went on in Edinburgh and London at this time. Still, it would be good to fill in some of the gaps in my knowledge.

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