The Press Gang in Orkney and Shetland View larger

The Press Gang in Orkney and Shetland

9781902957456

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Combining meticulous research with personal interviews, J D M Robertson gives a fascinating account of a turbulent and oppressive period in the annals of the Northern Isles, mainly, but not exclusively, between the years 1755 and 1815.

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John Robertson brings together a wealth of information collected over four decades of exhaustive scholarship. Combining meticulous research with personal interviews, he gives a fascinating account of a turbulent and oppressive period in the annals of the Northern Isles, mainly, but not exclusively, between the years of 1755 and 1815.

With large numbers of seafarers and fishermen, the islands were well-suited to satisfy the dmeands of impressment and provided very considerable numbers of men to serve mainly in the navy, but also the army, during what were basically English wars. The press gang's activities were harsh and unwelcome intrusions into the daily lives of islanders, and the passage of two hundred years has not expunged the memories.

The author examines the impact of forced recruitment on the lives of Orcadians and Shetlanders at every level of society. Rich sources of archival material, oral tradition and folk memory are related in a clear and engaging manner to create a compelling picture of ordinary people's experiences of impressment. The result is an incisive social history of resilient, remote and independent people which will appeal to islanders, students of history and a range of readers.

The text is copiously illustrated throughout.

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