About the Book
Through his personality, ingenuity and ability, he initiated a resistance movement which ultimately secured the nation's freedom and independence. Yet, Wallace was reviled, opposed and eventually betrayed by the nobility in his own day to re-surface in the epic poetry of the fifteenth century as a champion and liberator. Eventually, his legend overtook the historical reality, a process which has continued for centuries as manifested in modern media and film. A team of leading historians and critics from both Scotland and England investigate what is known of the medieval warrior's career from contemporary sources, most of which, unusually for a national hero, were created by his enemies.
His reputation, from the time of his horrendous execution to the present, is examined to ascertain what the figure of Wallace meant to different generations of Scots. Too dangerous perhaps for his own era, he became the supreme Scottish hero of all time; the archetypal Scot who would teach kings and nobles where their duty lay, and who would live free or freely die for the liberty of his nation.
Edward J. Cowan was formerly Professor of Scottish History at the University of Glasgow and Director of the university’s Dumfries Campus. He previously taught at the Universities of Edinburgh and Guelph, Ontario. A fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, he died in January 2022.