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The Hunt For Rob Roy
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Publication Date
02 June 2016
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Birlinn Ltd
16pp b/w plates

The Hunt For Rob Roy

The Man and the Myths
by David Stevenson - Find out more about the author

This is the first time that Rob Roy’s life has been written with a full range of sources. The picture that emerges is indeed striking,but not heroic. A man deeply wronged and oppressed, forced into outlawry, has to be modified by the clear evidence that he was only outlawed after undertaking a careful plan to swindle his creditors. The staunch Jacobite is revealed as a man who supplied intelligence to the government against them, the supposed warrior-leader never fought in a battle, and the reputed duellist instead was only known to have fought one duel, which he lost.

Yet in some ways Roy remains an attractive figure. The fact that he survived, in spite of the odds against him, is a remarkable tribute to his tenacity of both body and spirit and to his charm that has persuaded most historians of his version of his life instead of that of his enemies. With this book Scotland may lose a hero of the old-fashioned and unreal sort, but it possesses a Rob Roy whose life-story emerges as one that was dramatic and certainly more human.

This radical revision of popular views on Rob Roy is based on much recently discovered material and is the first new biography for thirty years.

David Stevenson is Professor Emeritus of Scottish History at the University of St Andrews and the author of numerous books, including the standard two-volume history of the Covenanters.