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The Kingdom of the Isles Scotland's Western Seaboard, C.1100 - C.1336
R. Andrew McDonald

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ISBN 1 898410 85 2
paperback 16.99
2nd reprint 2002

This important study explores the history of the western seaboard of Scotland (the Hebrides, Argyll and the Isle of Man) in a formative but, until now, neglected era: the central middle ages, from the mighty Somerled to his descendant, John MacDonald, the first Lord of the Isles (C.1336).

Drawing on a variety of sources, this very readable narrative deals with three major and closely interrelated themes: first, the existence of the Isles and coastal mainland as a kingdom from C.1100 to 1266; second, the rulers of the region, Somerled and his descendants, the MacDougalls, MacDonalds, and MacRuairis; and third, the often complex relations among the Isles, Scotland, Norway and England.

While political history predominates, the changing nature of society in the Isles is emphasised throughout, and separate chapters address the church and monasticism as well as the monuments of the western seaboard - the castles, monasteries, churches and chapels that form an enduring legacy of the Kingdom of the Isles.

A fully rounded history emerges, and it is one that transcends national viewpoints. No such study has been published for at least fifty years.

R. Andrew McDonald is an instructor in the School of Continuing Studies at the University of Toronto, and has taught history at several Canadian universities.