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