Reese, Peter 1932-
REESE, Peter 1932-
PERSONAL: Born 1932.
ADDRESSES: Home—Aldershot, Surrey, England; and Gairloch, Scotland. Agent—c/o Scottish Books, Birlinn Ltd., West Newington House, 10 Newington Road, Edinburgh EH9 1QS, Scotland.
CAREER: Writer. Military service: Served as a professional soldier in the British Army for twenty-nine years.
Our Sergeant: The Story of the Corps of Commissionaires, L. Cooper/Secker & Warburg (London, England), 1986.
Homecoming Heroes: An Account of the Reassimilation of British Military Personnel into Civilian Life, L. Cooper (London, England), 1992.
Wallace: A Biography, Canongate (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1996.
The Scottish Commander: Scotland's Greatest MilitaryLeaders from Wallace to World War II, Canongate (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1999.
Bannockburn, Canongate (Edinburgh, Scotland), 2000.
Flodden: A Scottish Tragedy, Birlinn Publishers (Edinburgh, Scotland), 2003.
SIDELIGHTS: British author Peter Reese is a retired soldier who has written several books about military matters, including such best-selling titles as Wallace: A Biography and Bannockburn. With Wallace, he looks at one of Scotland's greatest heroes, William Wallace, the leader of the Scottish resistance forces during the first years of the long and ultimately successful struggle to free Scotland from English rule at the end of the thirteenth century. Reese, who has an abiding love for Scotland and lives there part of the year, sets Wallace solidly within his time period; he then covers the life of this military leader and further examines his contribution and legend up to the mid-1990s. Reese also presents the other key players in this drama, such as Edward I and Robert Bruce, and deals in detail with the military aspects of Wallace's campaigns.
In The Scottish Commander: Scotland's Greatest Military Leaders from Wallace to World War II, Reese uses Wallace as the starting point for a narrative study of great military leaders from Scotland, including well-known figures such as Robert Bruce and Douglas Haig of World War I renown, as well as lesser-known leaders such as Sir John Hepburn, John Graham, and Hector MacDonald. For a Publishers Weekly contributor, "the most compelling [figures] are the flawed generals." But this same reviewer also felt that Reese "falters" in his writing of World War I and World War II. Writing in Booklist, Roland Green observed that although not everyone will agree with the author's conclusions, "this is a generally sound popular military history that does justice to a group of noteworthy military leaders."
Reese examines specific battles fought over Scotland in Bannockburn and Flodden: A Scottish Tragedy. In the former work, he details the background to this battle fought by Robert Bruce in 1314, in which Bruce vanquished the English army of Edward II and secured centuries of Scottish independence. "This is a cracker of a book, which reads like a novel," noted Alan Smart in the Glasgow Sunday Herald. In Flodden, Reese does much the same for this battle of 1513 in which the Scots forces, under James IV, were defeated by the English. According to Tom Kyle, writing in London's Daily Mail, "Flodden led to the end of Scottish independence." The king died, and a full generation of Scottish nobility was also killed in that battle. Kyle further observed that Reese "sets out to determine where it all went wrong."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 15, 1999, Roland Green, review of The Scottish Commander: Scotland's Greatest Military Leaders from Wallace to World War II, p. 742.
Daily Mail (London, England), September 26, 2003, Tom Kyle, review of Flodden: A Scottish Tragedy, p. 56.
Guardian (Manchester, England), July 24, 2000, Kirsty Scott, "Second Battle of Bannockburn to Beat Developers," p. 9.
Publishers Weekly, November 29, 1999, review of TheScottish Commander, p. 62.
Sunday Herald (Glasgow, Scotland), July 23, 2000, review of Bannockburn, p. 10.
Braveheart Web site,http://www.macbraveheart.co.uk/ (January 23, 2004).
Canongate Books Web site,http://www.canongate.net/ (January 23, 2004).*