By the end of the day fifteen people, including two women and a child, were dead or dying and 650 injured, hacked down by drunken yeomanry after local magistrates panicked at the size of the crowd. Four years after defeating the tyrant Bonaparte at Waterloo, the British state had turned its forces against its own people as they peaceably exercised their time-honoured liberties. As well as describing the events of 16 August in shattering detail, Jacqueline Riding evokes the febrile state of England in the late 1810s, paints a memorable portrait of the reform movement and its charismatic leaders, and assesses the political legacy of the massacre to the present day.
As fast-paced and powerful as it is rigorously researched, Peterloo: The Story of the Manchester Massacre adds significantly to our understanding of a tragic staging-post on Britain's journey to full democracy.
The Jacobite Rebellion of 1745-46 is one of the most important turning points in British history--in terms of national crisis every bit the equal of 1066 and 1940. The tale of Charles Edward Stuart, "Bonnie Prince Charlie," and his heroic attempt to regain his grandfather's (James II) crown--remains the stuff of legend: the hunted fugitive, Flora MacDonald, and the dramatic escape over the sea to the Isle of Skye. But the full story--the real history--is even more dramatic, captivating, and revelatory.
Much more than a single rebellion, the events of 1745 were part of an ongoing civil war that threatened to destabilize the British nation and its empire. The Bonnie Prince and his army alone, which included a large contingent of Scottish highlanders, could not have posed a great threat. But with the involvement of Britain's perennial enemy, Catholic France, it was a far more dangerous and potentially catastrophic situation for the British crown. With encouragement and support from Louis XV, Charles's triumphant Jacobite army advanced all the way to Derby, a mere 120 miles from London, before a series of missteps ultimately doomed the rebellion to crushing defeat and annihilation at Culloden in April 1746--the last battle ever fought on British soil.
Jacqueline Riding conveys the full weight of these monumental years of English and Scottish history as the future course of Great Britain as a united nation was irreversibly altered.