William Wallace: Brave Heart

William Wallace: Brave Heart

by James MacKay
3.8 10

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William Wallace: Brave Heart 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My parents treated my brothers, sisters and me as small adults, so we were permitted choices that were often unusual. At nine years old, when they were going to redo my room, I was permitted to make choices of colours and materials. I choice Wallace Plaide (plaid or tartan to you, Yanks!) for the bedspread and drapes. This dumbfounded my parents and grandfather, for family came from the MacGillivrays, Ogilvies, Frasers, Grants and a few later interloper Montgomeries. But even at that age, Wallace was such a great, sweeping hero that he captured my heart and imagination. While most kids played during the Summer, my wicked (lol) grandfather conducted 'Summer School' for the grandchildren. A historian with a captured audience, he spoonfed us history, so Wallace, The Bruce, True Thomas, Andrew de Moray, were not ancient heroes nearly forgotten, they were alive to us. Wallace held the imagination of a child, made me think, so I was glad to see Mel bring him to the consciousness of the world. BRAVEHEART made Wallace known in the far corners of the earth, and the film captures the spirit of Scot stubbornness, a willingness to give your life for an idea. But the real story was so much MORE. And to get this view of Wallace, one cannot do better than James Mackay's William Wallace: Brave Heart. No, Wallace did not romance the She-Wolf, Edward II's wife and father Edward III. She was a tiny babe, at the time! The Battle of Sterling was minus a very vital Bridge. Wallace is not the son of Malcolm Wallace, but recently was discovered on Wallace's own seal, he was the son of Alan Wallace....well, one could debate the film on and on and that is not the purpose of this review. James Mackay gives you the real story of Wallace. The man, the hero, the outlaw...and the book is more compelling than the film. For writing straight history, Mackay's style is fluid and easy to read, more in the manner of fiction. He compels you to follow, to learn of Wallace, of the circumstances that pushed him into being an outlaw, a rebel, a man who challenged the most ruthless King England has ever known. Wallace was a complex man, as was The Bruce and Longshanks, driven men that were willing to fight for concepts, willing to die for them. It is especially necessary to understand that Scotland as a national entity was in its infancy at that time. Clan allegiance were always taken more seriously than oaths to a single King. So, Wallace fought not only for a free Scotland, he fought for an idea that was very new to the Scots. At the point of Wallace's rising, Scotland's nobles were as much English or tied to England through owning lands in both countries. Many of Scotland's most powerful Clans, such as Dunbar, came in on the side of Longshanks in this struggle. So not all of Scotland wanted to be free from the English. Yes, Wallace was a hero to the 9 year old child, but as I grew and my ability to understand the complexity of the these three men that so shaped Scotland and England, I was mesmerised, awed. Wallace was not a mythical legend, he was a man and man driven to do what I don't think many of us could. And Mackay makes you see Wallace the man, the political clime that fermented him, a common man, who was willing to sacrifice all to see freedom rule Scotland. Wallace did not fight for power, personal gain or glory. At every step, he made it clear he fought for the King of the Scots. Mackay gives you history the movie only alluded to in BRAVEHEART. When Wallace talks to the Princess for the first time, he mentioned the last time Longshanks took a Scottish town 'he did far worse'. A bone of contention I have with most historians of this period, is how they gloss over, discount or totally ignore Longshanks' Sack of Berwick, where in three days of killing frenzy saw the town nearly destroyed, and thousands upon thousands Scots slaughtered. Mackay does not sensationalise this, but neither does he gloss it over or ignore i
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best William Wallace biography. It is much different from Mel Gibson's movie 'Braveheart'. It tells you the real life of Scotland's greatest hero. It is enjoyable for reading the real mystery of Wallace.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is useful as an overview of Wallace's life and career. I was disturbed, however, by the credulity with which MacKay treats his sources. He rarely seems to compare different sources to one another or to think of them analytically, and often describes clearly folkloric scenes as if they had taken place, even giving dialogue. I also felt that the book would have been more useful, as well as more interesting, if some background on Scotland in the period had been given. MacKay focuses on political and military events to the almost complete exclusion of cultural history and fails to put the events he discusses in context. Especially for the non-specialist, it will be very hard to glean from this book any real idea of what Wallace's times were like.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This intriguing biography on William Wallace is not only interesting, but a exciting literary work that open's up a lost corner in history. I found the book not only interesting but schockingly stunnying how one man could go through so much and became a hero, and still be a national hero figure.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was much more historically based than the Wallace book the movie was taken from. A much more credible use of known information from Mackay. Well done.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This may be a good reference for writers who want to write other books about the period. The author although obviously provides a detailed and important history, as a reader I found it boring to read page after page of dates and geniology records. Attempting to read this made me remember why kids hate history. Not to take away from the importance of this information, but its a reference book.