The Hunt for Rob Roy: The Man and the Myths


Rob Roy (Robert MacGregor, 1671-1734) bears a name that is well known through the heroic images created for him by tradition, by Sir Walter Scott and by Hollywood.

In this biography David Stevenson strips away the myth and challenges many long-held assumptions about Rob. The picture that emerges is one of a remarkable life - but not a heroic one. The image of a man deeply wronged and forced into outlawry has to be modified by the evidence that he was only outlawed after formulating a plan to swindle his creditors. The staunch Jacobite is revealed as a man who supplied intelligence to the government against those he had supported. The supposed warrior leader never fought in a battle. The reputed great duellist avoided violence whenever possible and is only known to have fought one duel - which he lost.

Yet Rob remains an attractive figure. 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 ability to make people like and trust him. With this book Scotland may lose a hero of the old-fashioned, unreal sort, but it possesses in Rob Roy a man whose true life-story as it emerges is dramatic and human.

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