Highlanders flying high as “terrific, timely”

Authors enjoy few things more than positive reviews . . . especially during the run-up to Christmas. Below, excerpts from four different takes on Flight of the Highlanders: The Making of Canada . . .

Life International:

Best-selling author Ken McGoogan “deep dives into the
historical horror of Scottish Highlanders in this terrific and timely tome.
Spanning over a century, the scribe chornicles the terrible injustices brought
on to families and communities by the British following the 1746 Battle of
Culloden. While the cultural genocide of the Clearances showed the Brits at
their worst, it brought out the best in the Scots, with tens of thousands of
them setting sail for the New World and settling into new lives. More than a
mere lesson in history, Flight of the Highlanders showcases
the spirit of a people who sacrificed everything to preserve their culture and
who were at the very core of constructing a new national identity. — Stephen
Patrick Clare

The Scotsman:

In Flight of the Highlanders, the
bestselling Canadian author argues that the Highland Scots – victims of the
Clearances and the oppression that followed the Battle of Culloden – were
“Canada’s first refugees.” And that makes their story a timely reminder of the
contribution refugees and other newcomers have made, and continue to make, to
their new homelands.. . . But in a time of rising intolerance toward
minorities and immigrants, Flight of the Highlanders is a
much-needed reality check. McGoogan’s chronicle of how impoverished but
tenacious Scots built new lives in Canada – and transformed their new country –
is a reminder that all of us, regardless of origin or race, want the same
things: a better life and a brighter future. — Dean Jobb 

Winnipeg Free Press:

Flight of the Highlanders is
a tragic and pathetic tale, well-told by the sympathetic McGoogan, of a people
who came from afar to spearhead with others the settlement of Canada before it
became a nation. They were thrown out of the Scottish Highlands in a
cold-hearted annihilation of their ancient way of life. It was called the
Clearances.. . . . The erasure of an independent culture feared and
reviled by the English began in 1746, with the Battle of Culloden. McGoogan
recounts how a professional English military destroyed a vastly outnumbered
ragtag army of the farming Highlanders raised by and under the command of a
wishful-thinking and militarily dumb Bonnie Prince Charlie. . . . In the
Clearances following the Scots’ defeat, McGoogan explains, about 200,000
Highlanders were evicted from their ancestral lands between 1760 and 1860. They
were offered passage to Canada in what became known as “coffin ships”
because a number always died in the miserable and diseased conditions below
decks. Today, more than five million Canadians claim Scottish ancestry and are
proud of it, and the old Scots (among others) are revered as nation-builders
— Barry Craig

Globe and Mail:

[McGoogan] writes that the Highland Scots who
were driven off their traditional lands should be looked at through the lens of
history as refugees, and he goes a long way toward supporting this thesis by
his demonstration of what they suffered. He starts with the misbegotten
Battle of Culloden in 1746, when the British army beat Charles Edward Stuart,
“Bonnie Prince Charlie,” in his challenge to the throne. The army then went on
to savage the highlands . . .  Over the next century in various waves,
landlords brutally drove off tens of thousands of cottars in order to clear the
land for sheep, which returned higher profit. McGoogan illuminates this general
history with many individual stories. . .  [This] is a volume that
rewards dipping into, preferably before a fire with a glass in hand. Ken
McGoogan is an amiable companion to have with you there. — Antanas

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