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A Review of From Bannockburn to Flodden: Wallace, Bruce and the Heroes of Medieval Scotland

In this reprint of Volume One of Sir Walter Scott's originally titled Tales of a Scottish Grandfather, the author provides a fine, readable, and very interesting history of Scotland in the medieval era.

  • Byron Snapp
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For years Scotland has been of great interest to many. The beauty of the land easily captures one's attention. Presbyterians are drawn to learning more about the land because of our ecclesiastical heritage.

In this reprint of Volume One of Sir Walter Scott's originally titled Tales of a Scottish Grandfather, the author provides a fine, readable, and very interesting history of Scotland in the medieval era.

Readers are provided with much history that occurred in the days of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. However, as Scott narrates, there is much more to Scottish history than Wallace and Bruce.

Scott recalls the turbulent times during which the Scots defeated the Picts; and then, at the call of the Brits, the Anglo-Saxons came in to aid in the defeat of the Scots. These victorious Anglo-Saxons then defeated the Brits. These battles were the beginning in a long history of English desire to control Scotland, and Scottish determination to be independent of their southern neighbors.

The author provides far more than battle accounts and references. We are introduced to Scotland's rulers and learn of their strengths and weaknesses, their heroic as well as their foolish decisions and actions.

In writing this account for his grandson, Scott writes with passion and honesty as well as clarity and insight. Footnotes are sparse, but contain useful information when they are included. Chapters are relatively short and usually cover the rule of a king or an account of an important battle. The conclusion of chapters easily pulls readers right into the next chapter. An index makes this volume useful for future reference, thus adding to the book's value.

This volume provides more than a general history of early Scotland. It reminds the reader how much the inhabitants of Scotland, like people everywhere, need the gospel. The natives not only quarreled with their neighbors to the south; they had great problems getting along with one another. The Highlanders were at odds with those in the Lowlands, and even with one another.

At times, kings had difficulty because they could not get their own people together to fight invaders because of long standing animosities between clans. In the midst of such infighting, one can see that God is at work, preparing this group of people for the advance and application of the gospel, not only through the years described in this volume but in the forthcoming Reformation era.

This is a volume that can be enjoyed by all who love history — including older children and adults.

The three other volumes in this series are currently available: From Gileskirk to Greyfriars: Mary Queen of Scots, John Knox and the Heroes of Scotland's Reformation; From Glencoe to Stirling: Rob Roy, the Highlanders and Scotland's Chivalric Age; From Montrose to Culloden: Bonnie Prince Charlie and Scotland's Romantic Age.

  • Byron Snapp

Byron Snapp is a graduate of King College (B.A.) and Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div.). He was Associate Pastor at Calvary Reformed Presbyterian Church, Hampton, Virginia, from 1994 until his retirement in December 2014. He is a native of Marion, Virginia.  He has had pastorates in Leakesville, Mississippi, and Gaffney, South Carolina.  He served as Assistant Pastor in Cedar Bluff, Virginia prior to his ministry at Calvary Reformed. He has served as editor of the Presbyterian Witness and was a contributor to A Comprehensive Faith and Election Day Sermons. He is currently a member of Westminster Presbytery in the PCA. He and his wife Janey have 3 children and several grandchildren. 

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