The most recommended books about Jacobitism

Who picked these books? Meet our 14 experts.

14 authors created a book list connected to Jacobitism, and here are their favorite Jacobitism books.
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Book cover of The Jacobites and Russia, 1715-1750

Murray Pittock Author Of Culloden: Great Battles

From my list on how Jacobitism had a different vision for Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in the former Jacobite heartland of Aberdeen, I've had an interest in the Jacobites for almost as long as I can remember. When I was about six, my father was explaining to me on a bus in King Street in the city that Charles Edward could never have won, when another passenger walked the length of the top deck to contradict him. Lost, excluded, and alternative histories fascinated me and still do. History’s winners still too often present partial and excluding stories. Even in Scotland, Jacobitism is still misunderstood, but understanding is much better than it was thirty years ago, and I'm pleased to have done my bit to change that.

Murray's book list on how Jacobitism had a different vision for Britain

Murray Pittock Why did Murray love this book?

The Jacobites and their cause were a global political phenomenon, celebrated from Madagascar to Latin America.

Rebecca Wills’ study is one of the few that examines the Jacobites in one country – Russia – which was a major destination of Jacobite exiles. Some of their service to the Tsar has a contemporary resonance-General James Francis Edward Keith (1696-1758) was both governor of Ukraine and Viceroy of Finland in the 1740s.

By Rebecca Wills,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Jacobites and Russia, 1715-1750 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This study explores the role played by the Jacobite diaspora in Russia in the saga of Jacobite intrigue and British foreign policy between 1715 and 1750. Drawing on both Russian and British sources, the narrative follows the changing fortunes of Jacobitism in Russia as a key influence on European diplomacy. Uncovering a tale of adventure, enterprise and espionage, it demonstrates that the threat posed by Jacobite intrigue was not confined to the possibility of military action, but was closely linked to the influence of Jacobite agents on every area of Anglo-Russian political and territorial rivalry. In doing so it relates…


Book cover of The Rose and the Thistle

S.L. Klein Author Of Waves of Redemption

From my list on heavy and hopeful themes.

Why am I passionate about this?

Many readers pick up books to escape reality, but I am passionate about reading stories where hope and healing can be found among the pages. I love depth and transparency. I love learning about history. As an author who ensures my books contain accurate biblical themes, I am always searching for books that are saturated with truth. Stories that will take me on an adventure and help me grow along with the characters. This list contains books that cover heavy topics, but they also infuse hope. I know that I have found encouragement through them!

S.L.'s book list on heavy and hopeful themes

S.L. Klein Why did S.L. love this book?

This book contains tough questions that I have struggled with in the past like, “Why would God allow this to happen?” “Does God see me?” “How can God use this for His glory?” I found comfort in these pages. I learned the struggle of many during the Jacobite uprising—something I knew precious little about, and I have Scottish heritage!

Laura always transports me into history, and I love how she combines stories of struggle with hope. I always walk away from her books with new knowledge of history and encouragement for my own life. Besides, I can never say no to a good romance!

By Laura Frantz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Rose and the Thistle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A masterful achievement of historical complexity and scintillating romance sure to thrill readers with its saga of love under siege."--Booklist starred review

In 1715, Lady Blythe Hedley's father is declared an enemy of the British crown because of his Jacobite sympathies, forcing her to flee her home in northern England. Secreted to the tower of Wedderburn Castle in Scotland, Lady Blythe awaits who will ultimately be crowned king. But in a house with seven sons and numerous servants, her presence soon becomes known.

No sooner has Everard Hume lost his father, Lord Wedderburn, than Lady Hedley arrives with the clothes…


Book cover of The Winter Sea

Lena Gibson Author Of Switching Tracks: Out of the Trash

From my list on books that combine love, action, and speculative elements.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been an avid reader and loved different genres from the beginning. I started out reading historical fiction as a child, including the Little House books, Anne of Green Gables, and Where the Red Fern Grows. I soon discovered that science fiction and fantasy did the same thing, transporting me to different words and places instead of times. Many of my favorite books have elements of these as well as action, tension, thrills, and romance. These things transcend genre, and by reading books that combine genres, I find some of the most interesting and original stories. 

Lena's book list on books that combine love, action, and speculative elements

Lena Gibson Why did Lena love this book?

This was the fifth time I have read this book, and I swear I love it just as much every time I read it.

The book is about a writer who has a story come to her in waking dreams and flashes of vivid insight. The story of the past is one of her ancestors who lived near this place.

As a writer, this idea appeals to me. Some of my favorite ideas have come to me in the space between waking and sleeping. The dual timeline of present and historical mesh seamlessly so that the two pieces complement each other, and I love rediscovering all the ways the pieces connect.

Having met the author and taken a dozen workshops with her, I appreciate the craft that went into the writing. Plus, she’s a fellow Canadian.

By Susanna Kearsley,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Winter Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLER!

"I've loved every one of Susanna's books! She has bedrock research and a butterfly's delicate touch with characters―sure recipe for historical fiction that sucks you in and won't let go!"―DIANA GABALDON, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Outlander

A hauntingly beautiful tale of love that transcends time: an American writer travels to Scotland to craft a novel about the Jacobite Rebellion, only to discover her own ancestral memories of that torrid moment in Scottish history...

In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded…


Book cover of Waverley

Beatrice de Graaf Author Of Fighting Terror After Napoleon: How Europe Became Secure After 1815

From my list on how Europe waged peace after Napoleon.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was struck by the memoirs of Louisa Adams who travelled through Europe during the last Napoleonic battles. She was a young mother, and had to take her 7-year old son with her. Having children myself, I started wondering: how did people "on the ground" experience the last stages of the Napoleonic wars and the transition towards peace? I am a professor in the History of International Relations at Utrecht University. I write about terrorism and security in the 20th and 21st centuries. Yet, over the past decade, I felt the need to go further back in time, to that seminal period of the Age of Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, because that period truly saw the birth of a new security culture in Europe and beyond.

Beatrice's book list on how Europe waged peace after Napoleon

Beatrice de Graaf Why did Beatrice love this book?

To understand the trauma caused by the Napoleonic Wars, and the craving of people in France, Europe and elsewhere to return to the ‘normal pace of times’ as the Austrian Statesman Clemens von Metternich had it, Walter Scott’s ‘Waverley’ is the best vehicle to convey ourselves into the mindset of the contemporary Europeans. Europe had to curb the ‘evil passions’ and had to ‘come to its senses’. Just as Waverley’s young hero Edward does by letting go of his romantic love for the rebellious Flora and returning in the arms of his very English, quiet and harmonious fiancée, Rose. Scott’s Waverley came out in 1814, was a bestselling success in Britain and on the European continent. The protagonists of my book, Fighting terror, read it. And it still is a great read for us today, for rainy days.

By Sir Walter Scott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Waverley as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Life with his regiment in Scotland is dull until he visits his uncle's friends in the Highlands, where he meets Fergus McIvor and his sister Flora. Attracted by the wild freedom and romance of the Scottish clans, Edward finds himself in a difficult and dangerous position. His new friends are Jacobites, planning to overthrow King George and restore the Stuart monarchy. The Jacobites rise in rebellion. When Prince Charles leads an invasion of England, Edward's loyalties are hopelessly divided. Whose side will he take? And what fate awaits them all?


Book cover of The Myth of the Jacobite Clans: The Jacobite Army in 1745

Daniel Szechi Author Of 1715: The Great Jacobite Rebellion

From my list on the Jacobite Risings.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired history professor with over forty years experience working in the field of eighteenth-century history and Jacobitism in particular. I got interested in Jacobitism when I was an undergraduate and the more I have researched and written on the subject the more fascinated I have become with it. By reading about it you can glimpse the alternatives to the present that might have been. What if the great Jacobite rising of 1715 had succeeded? What if Bonnie Prince Charlie had marched south from Derby and captured London in 1745? The permutations are endless and will certainly keep me engaged for the rest of my life.

Daniel's book list on the Jacobite Risings

Daniel Szechi Why did Daniel love this book?

This is one of the most important books on Jacobitism written in the last 30 years, and I am not recommending it simply because he is a personal friend! 

The book completely debunks the commonplace image of the Jacobite army as a purely clan phenomenon. Pittock proves it was a truly national Scottish army, drawn from almost every community in Scotland, with strong international connections and elements. 

Lowlanders served alongside Highlanders and a smattering of Irishmen and Englishmen in regiments with clan names but an increasingly professional military outlook. By doing so he permanently moves our understanding of the most famous of the Jacobite risings.

By Murray Pittock,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Myth of the Jacobite Clans as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Myth of the Jacobite Clans was first published in 1995: a revolutionary book, it argued that British history had long sought to caricature Jacobitism rather than to understand it, and that the Jacobite Risings drew on extensive Lowland support and had a national quality within Scotland. The Times Higher Education Supplement hailed its author's 'formidable talents' and the book and its ideas fuelled discussions in The Economist and Scotland on Sunday, on Radio Scotland and elsewhere. The argument of the book has been widely accepted, although it is still ignored by media and heritage representations which seek to depoliticise…


Book cover of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites

Elizabeth Ford Author Of The Flute in Scotland from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Century

From my list on eighteenth-century Scotland.

Why am I passionate about this?

I dropped out of law school to pursue a PhD in music at the University of Glasgow and to write the history of the flute in Scotland. Essentially, I wanted to know that if Scotland was a leader in Enlightenment thought, and if there were hundreds of publications with flute on the title page, and since the flute was the most popular amateur instrument in the eighteenth century, why was nothing written about the flute. I obsessively read Scottish mythology as a child, and was always drawn to the stereotypical wild misty landscapes of Scotland without knowing much about it. 

Elizabeth's book list on eighteenth-century Scotland

Elizabeth Ford Why did Elizabeth love this book?

This is a collection of essays for a major exhibit at the National Museum of Scotland in 2017. It features essays on aspects of the endurance of the Jacobite cause, and objects associated with Jacobitism (like Bonnie Prince Charlie’s silver picnic set). It also has over 200 pictures. This myth has endured through the writings of Sir Walter Scott through Outlander, and this book presents the much, much larger, and more complex story.

By David Forsyth (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the summer of 1745 'Bonnie Prince Charlie', grandson of James VII and II landed on the Isle of Eriskay in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. He would be the Jacobite Stuarts' last hope in the fight to regain the three kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland. The Jacobite legend has an enduring fascination and now renewed global interest due to the Outlander books and television series. A major new exhibition on Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites opens at the National Museum of Scotland on 23 June 2017, and tells a compelling story of love, loss, exile, rebellion and…


Book cover of Jacobitism and the English People, 1688-1788

Daniel Szechi Author Of 1715: The Great Jacobite Rebellion

From my list on the Jacobite Risings.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired history professor with over forty years experience working in the field of eighteenth-century history and Jacobitism in particular. I got interested in Jacobitism when I was an undergraduate and the more I have researched and written on the subject the more fascinated I have become with it. By reading about it you can glimpse the alternatives to the present that might have been. What if the great Jacobite rising of 1715 had succeeded? What if Bonnie Prince Charlie had marched south from Derby and captured London in 1745? The permutations are endless and will certainly keep me engaged for the rest of my life.

Daniel's book list on the Jacobite Risings

Daniel Szechi Why did Daniel love this book?

One of the greatest ‘what-ifs?’ of the Jacobite movement centres on the English Jacobites and the fundamental question of why they were so politically important within the movement and yet so useless in terms of achieving a Stuart restoration. 

England was the most powerful of the three kingdoms of the British Isles and a major section of the Tory party, the most popular party in England, episodically developed a yearning for such a restoration. Yet it never took off. Monod’s classic book explores English Jacobitism in admirably fine and lucid detail and provides the best answer we are going to get.

By Paul Kleber Monod,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Jacobitism and the English People, 1688-1788 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Although historians have devoted much attention to the influence of Jacobitism on Parliamentary politics, none has hitherto attempted to explore its broader implications in English society. Paul Monod's acclaimed study, newly available in paperback, redresses this, and offers a wide-ranging analysis of every aspect of Jacobite activity.


Book cover of Clanship, Commerce and the House of Stuart, 1603-1788

Daniel Szechi Author Of 1715: The Great Jacobite Rebellion

From my list on the Jacobite Risings.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired history professor with over forty years experience working in the field of eighteenth-century history and Jacobitism in particular. I got interested in Jacobitism when I was an undergraduate and the more I have researched and written on the subject the more fascinated I have become with it. By reading about it you can glimpse the alternatives to the present that might have been. What if the great Jacobite rising of 1715 had succeeded? What if Bonnie Prince Charlie had marched south from Derby and captured London in 1745? The permutations are endless and will certainly keep me engaged for the rest of my life.

Daniel's book list on the Jacobite Risings

Daniel Szechi Why did Daniel love this book?

When Jacobitism comes up in films and television Scotland is almost invariably to the fore, and within Scotland it is the Highland clans who feature most prominently. 

This is entirely reasonable because they were the key military asset the exiled Stuarts possessed in the British Isles, and in 1745 Charles Edward initially built the army that marched south to Derby around his primarily Gaelic-speaking clan soldiers. But there was far more to them than the dumbly loyal stereotype of the clansman that is often found in popular books on the Highlands. 

Macinnes reconstructs the Jacobite clans’ economic, social, and historical backstory so well that you will never see them in the same light again.

By Allan I. MacInnes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Clanship, Commerce and the House of Stuart, 1603-1788 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is an appraisal of clanship both with respect to its vitality and its eventual demise, in which the author views clanship as a socio-economic, as well as a political agency, deriving its strength from personal obligations and mutual service between chiefs and gentry and their clansmen. Its demise is attributed to the throwing over of these personal obligations by the clan elite, not to legislation or central government repression. The book discusses the impact on the clans of the inevitable shift, with the passage of time, from feudalism to capitalism, regardless of the "Forty Five". It draws upon estate…


Book cover of The New Road

Ursula Buchan Author Of Beyond the Thirty-Nine Steps: A Life of John Buchan

From my list on Scottish historical fiction from the 20th century.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an award-winning author and journalist, specialising in social history and gardening. I have an M.A. in Modern History from Cambridge University and a Diploma of Horticulture from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. I have written for many British newspapers and magazines, most notably The Spectator, The Observer, The Independent, The Sunday Telegraph, The Daily Telegraphand The Garden.

Ursula's book list on Scottish historical fiction from the 20th century

Ursula Buchan Why did Ursula love this book?

Neil Munro’s Scottish tales, especially the Para Handy stories, were very popular in his lifetime, but I prefer his historical novels. In my opinion, the best is The New Road. The title refers to the military road into the Highlands, made in the 1730s by General Wade, which was a major reason why the Highlanders were defeated, since it enabled the army to bring artillery to bear at the Battle of Culloden in April 1746. But the road also brought the possibility of greater prosperity, through trade, to the benighted Highlands. Munro came from Inverary in Argyll, and so does the hero in this thriller, who sets out to find the killer of his Jacobite father years before, during the uprising in support of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s father, James. It is an exciting story but with underlying serious themes, for example about progress and change in traditional societies.

By Neil Munro,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The New Road as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First published in 1914 and praised by John Buchan as 'one of the finest romances of our time', The New Road is a classic suspense thriller. The new road of the title refers to the military road which General Wade carved into the Highlands to destroy the clans, and it is along this road that events unfold.

It is 1773, thirty years after the Jacobite rebellion and the time of the Highland Clearances. When two adventurers, Ninian Campbell and Aeneas MacMaster, travel north on a clandestine mission to investigate rumours of a planned uprising, they find themselves pursued by mysterious…


Book cover of The Vanished Days

Lauren Willig Author Of Two Wars and a Wedding

From my list on historical fiction in unusual time periods.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in the era of sweeping historical epics, traveling with the turn of a page from Gaius Marius’s Rome to Victoria’s England and everything in between. I’ve always loved books that immerse you in places and time periods you know nothing about—and when I couldn’t find enough of them, I started writing my own. While my long-ago history PhD work is in Tudor-Stuart England (my specialty was the English Civil War), what I love most is being a historical dilettante and getting to hop around the historical record—which may be why my books can take you anywhere from Napoleon’s court to 1920s Kenya to Cuba with Teddy Roosevelt!

Lauren's book list on historical fiction in unusual time periods

Lauren Willig Why did Lauren love this book?

Fun fact: in college, my specialty was 16th-century Scotland, which meant I spent several months living in Edinburgh doing research for my senior thesis. In this book, Susanna Kearsley brings to life a Scotland we seldom see in novels but which brings back the Edinburgh I lived in and studied more vividly than anything else I’ve encountered.

There are so many books about the Jacobite rebellion of 1745, but this book tackles the precursor to all that, the tangled politics of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, from the fall-out of the Glorious Revolution and the exile of James II to the ferment around the 1707 Act of Union in all its glorious complexity, through the life of one woman who finds herself—as one does—a normal person buffeted by larger events. Every time I open this book, I feel like I’m back in Edinburgh again. 

By Susanna Kearsley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Vanished Days as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Fascinating and immersive... I love a novel that deals with the many ways in which people keep their secrets' DIANA GABALDON
A sweeping love story set against the Jacobite revolution from much-loved, million copy bestselling author Susanna Kearsley

Autumn, 1707. Old enemies from the Highlands to the Borders are protesting the new Union with England. As the French prepare an invasion to bring the exiled Jacobite king back to Scotland to reclaim his throne, the streets of Edinburgh are filled with discontent. To calm the situation, Queen Anne's commissioners are settling the losses and wages owed to those Scots involved…