Tim Newark

Tim Newark


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Highlander : The History of The Legendary Highland Soldier

On the fields of Waterloo, the deserts of Sudan, the Plains of Abraham and the mountains of Dargai, the trenches of Flanders and the jungles of Burma - the great Highland regiments made their mark. The brave kilted troops with their pipes and drums were legendary, whether leading the charge into the thick of battle or standing fast, the last to leave or fall, fighting against the odds.

Acclaimed historian Tim Newark tells the story of the Highlanders through the words of the soldiers themselves, from diaries, letters and journals uncovered from archives in Scotland and around the world. At the Battle of Quebec in 1759, only a few years after their defeat at Culloden, the 78th Highlanders faced down the French guns and turned the battle. At Waterloo, Highlanders memorably fought alongside the Scots Greys against Napoleon's feared Old Guard. In the Crimea, the thin red line stood firm against the charging Russian Hussars and saved the day at Balaclava.

Yet the story is also one of betrayal. At Quebec, General Wolfe remarked that, despite the Highlanders' courage, it was 'no great mischief if they fall'. At Dunkirk in May 1940, the 51st Regiment was left to defend the SOE evacuation at St Valery though following D-Day the Highlanders were at the forefront of the fighting through France. It is all history: over the last decade the historic regiments have been dismantled, despite widespread protest.

Praise for The Mafia at War:

An engrossing history that reads like a thriller. 'The Godfather' meets 'Band of Brothers'. Andrew Roberts

An engrossing account that has the read-on factor of the finest thriller. James Holland

Newark tells an extraordinary tale with pace and conviction, and impressively unravels what really happened from the pervasive myths. History Today


Tim Newark Interview, Author of ‘Highlander: The History of the Legendary Highland Soldier’

Highlander: The History of the Legendary Highland Soldier. Skyhorse Publishing, 2010. Armchair General interview with author Tim Newark.

The Gordons went up after them and the Gurkhas were watching them go up, and they had tears streaming down their eyes because the Gordons were going into a storm of fire.

To most, the Scottish soldier is one wearing the kilt and playing the bagpipes. This, of course, is a wildly over-simplified view and is far from accurate. In fact, only the "Highlanders" were technically outfitted in the traditional Scottish garb, but even here the truth is so mixed with the legend that it is hard to keep things straight.

Author Tim Newark, editor of the British history magazine Military Illustrated, separates the fact from the fiction in his new book Highlander: The History of the Legendary Highland Soldier (Skyhorse Publishing). This work chronicles the long story of Scottish warriors, from their early days when King James recommended that be treated as "wolves and wild boars" to their exploits in the Indian Mutiny, where Highlanders won six Victoria Crosses in a single day, and to the modern day. Newark, a Londoner with Scottish Highlander blood, has crafted a tale that holds together throughout the saga of these warriors but never bogs down on a single or select character.

Nor does he focus too much on any one unit, although some could argue that the Black Watch, the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment of Foot, gets a bit more treatment than others. Instead of being a regimental history per say, this is instead a history of all Highland regiments, and the only complaint is that some stories are too quickly passed over, and others&mdashnotably the 1815 Battle of New Orleans&mdashare completely left out. In the latter case, it could be argued that the particular battle, which occurred after the peace had been signed, is remembered far more for the defeat of the British forces, but Newark doesn’t shy away from the setbacks the units faced. As a noted author, whose past works include The Mafia at War and Celtic Warriors, Newark once again shows his skill in telling a story where not every battle ends in victory, and not every soldier is the hero. This is what makes Highlander worthy of high praise.

Tim Newark took time to sit down and talk to us about this new book, as well as share some thoughts on military history. Here is what he had to say:

Armchair General: You go into a lot of detail about individual soldiers, and you didn’t limit yourself to one unit or one story. How long did it take to research Highlander and how did this project come about?

Tim Newark: I wrote my book about Celtic warriors about 20 years ago, and so I’ve always been interested in the subject and I’ve always been collecting material. When I finished that, I knew I really wanted to carry on with this and carry it from the late 17th century to the 21st century.

ACG: Obviously this isn’t a book you could do just from your office.

TN: When I decided to do this project, that’s when I decided to go up to the Highlands and go to all the regimental museums, and dig in the archives to find new primary materials. Diaries, letters and hand written accounts, and that process really after building on 20 years of interest took about a year really. That was very intense. That required spending several days in the archives going through boxes and boxes of old material.

ACG: What type of assistance did you get in the process?

TN: The museums were very helpful. The Black Watch Regiment in particular were very helpful, and guided me towards material that had not been published before. And in some of the stories &hellip there was a scandal, which occurred in the desert in the Sudan campaign, and this came out of a personal account that had never seen the light of day. So yeah, that’s the kind of research involved.

ACG: Obviously, you weren’t able to tell every Highland story however. One I noticed, being an American, is that you didn’t include the Battle of New Orleans, so were there other items left out that you wanted to include?

TN: That’s very true. I think I took as my guide the material I could get to. I was really led by the new material that I turned up, because I don’t like to write a book from other books. I prefer to go to archives, so in a way, I had to leave out some stories I couldn’t research firsthand, like New Orleans. I prefer to go the stories where I could research and bring something fresh.

ACG: Some might complain that the book is selective.

TN: Yes, it is quite selective, and someone wrote to me and said there is too much about the Black Watch, because he was from another Highland regiment. I said, "but that’s where the good stories were." And that’s what I found, so in a way the book is a collection of found material. That is why it has the path and the shape it does.

ACG: You also pull in some stories that are often times overlooked, notably the Highlanders relationship with other units such as the Gurkhas. Was this important for you to include?

TN: That was very important, as I was inspired by the photograph, which is reproduced in the book and shows Gurkhas standing shoulder to shoulder with Gordon Highlanders. That is very unusual for the time, because white European soldiers wouldn’t really mix with other countries. I mean they would look down on Asian soldiers, but that photograph was taken straight after the Battle of Dargai in October 1887, where the Gurkhas went up the hill to fight the mountain tribesmen and got badly mauled.

And the Gordons went up after them and the Gurkhas were watching them go up, and they had tears streaming down their eyes because the Gordons were going into a storm of fire. They took something the Gurkhas couldn’t take, and what was also lovely was then that the Gordons helped carry down the casualties of the Gurkhas&mdashwhich again was quite unusual for that time, but it just reflects that these were two fighting nations that impressed each other. I was moved by that, I was quite touched by that, and so I made that a feature of one of the chapters.

I also got in touch with the Gurkhas museum and they showed me this letter, where a Gurkha describes the tears in his eyes as he sees the Gordons going up the hill. So again I was led by the material, and I thought that was an example of a good story.

ACG: Would you then consider a follow-up book that would look at other Highland regiments as this one was so focused on the Black Watch?

TN: Sure, sure. But I think my next book is going to be on Irish soldiers, those fighting abroad. That is what I’ve been researching.

ACG: So more soldier’s tales?

TN: I’m just interested in "alien" soldiers working in the British Army, and in the Army of the United States, ones where they have a strong national identity, and a fighting spirit. That’s what I found with the Highlanders and that’s what I am finding with the Irish as well. So I’m really interested in the national fighting spirit.

ACG: Anything after that?

TN: It is really the Irish book. I’m really involved with the research. I’m off to Dublin later this month to see the archives. I’m going to interview some veterans of the Congo, some Irish from when the United Nations were out there in 1960. The Irish got involved in an ambush where nine of them &hellip they had just got there for, like, three months. They had got on the aircraft in Dublin, landed in Congo wearing First World War&ndashlike clothes and were worn out. So they were wearing the wrong clothes and they got sent into this ambush and nine of them were killed by the tribesman.

This shocked Ireland, and it was a big scandal at the time. This is the largest amount of Irish soldiers killed on peacekeeping duties. I’ve met some of the men who have been there. Six months later there was a rematch of sorts, where the Irish took on the tribesmen, and I’m talking to a veteran from there, to get the last man situation from him.

ACG: Those sound like interesting tales.

TN: This is what I like, I like getting first hand stories. So that’s one of the stories for the next book.

ACG: This is quite different from your past work, where you’ve covered military camouflage and more recently wrote about the role the Mafia played in the Second World War. The best way to describe this is to say your work is quite eclectic. What can you tell us about those stories?

TN: That came out of my military history. My publisher at the time wanted me to do a book based on a TV documentary on the sinking of the Normandie in the Second World War. My editor really liked the idea of bringing the Second World War and the Mafia together. I said I’d do it, but I didn’t know if I could do it.

ACG: Was that a challenge?

TN: I just went off and did a lot of the research. I went to Sicily and over here (New York City) and surprisingly I went to the British National Archives. It changed my whole view on the role of the Mafia and the United States in the Second World War.

Everyone says that the Mafia helped with the invasion of Sicily. Nonsense. I exposed that. So in a way it comes back to my interest in military history. And that has led me to some interesting stories, and crime history as well.


Review: The Mongols, Tim Newark

Mr Newark’s short but detailed summary of ‘The Mongols’ is interesting primarily because of it’s focus on Asia. Unlike the typical narrative that focusses on the Middle East and European contacts, short-lived as they were, these incidents get a short mention (well, a page plus a plate) here while incursions into Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Burma, and India are also described. The incorporation of maps could have also helped to make the series of events clearer, though that is clearly not the focus of this work.

The primary focus of this work is the 13th century, but the origin of the Mongols, based on their own stories, is also given a place. Beyond that, the slow rise of the tribe, under Temujin, is described until the hordes ride into China and start conquering there. The Chinese expansion is given the biggest space, while after this the South-East Asian raids are also described. Towards the west, the author covers the incorporation of the Central Asian cities, the destruction of the Assassins, and the attacks against the Rus, the Mamluks, and both Hungary and Poland.

Regrettably, the last are also where the biggest mistakes I saw come into the work. The first one of these related to the illustration of Kiev, where imposing mountains were depicted in the background. The second mistakes was the Pyramids being shown in the background of the battle of Ain Jalut which took place in Palestine. These are relatively minor quibbles with the plates, but as these illustrations are the emphasis of the work, I was unhappy about it, though both choices were probably made to add dramatic effect. The rest of the plates I did enjoy, especially the ones which shows Korean, Vietnamese, and Thai clothing and equipment.

Overall, a great title with some deficiencies! It wouldn’t work as the only source on the Mongols, but it’s a great book to scroll through to understand what their life was like.


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Highlander : The History of The Legendary Highland Soldier

On the fields of Waterloo, the deserts of Sudan, the Plains of Abraham and the mountains of Dargai, the trenches of Flanders and the jungles of Burma - the great Highland regiments made their mark. The brave kilted troops with their pipes and drums were legendary, whether leading the charge into the thick of battle or standing fast, the last to leave or fall, fighting against the odds.

Acclaimed historian Tim Newark tells the story of the Highlanders through the words of the soldiers themselves, from diaries, letters and journals uncovered from archives in Scotland and around the world. At the Battle of Quebec in 1759, only a few years after their defeat at Culloden, the 78th Highlanders faced down the French guns and turned the battle. At Waterloo, Highlanders memorably fought alongside the Scots Greys against Napoleon's feared Old Guard. In the Crimea, the thin red line stood firm against the charging Russian Hussars and saved the day at Balaclava.

Yet the story is also one of betrayal. At Quebec, General Wolfe remarked that, despite the Highlanders' courage, it was 'no great mischief if they fall'. At Dunkirk in May 1940, the 51st Regiment was left to defend the SOE evacuation at St Valery though following D-Day the Highlanders were at the forefront of the fighting through France. It is all history: over the last decade the historic regiments have been dismantled, despite widespread protest.

Praise for The Mafia at War:

An engrossing history that reads like a thriller. 'The Godfather' meets 'Band of Brothers'. Andrew Roberts

An engrossing account that has the read-on factor of the finest thriller. James Holland

Newark tells an extraordinary tale with pace and conviction, and impressively unravels what really happened from the pervasive myths. History Today


Jordan: The History of American Indians in Licking County

CLOSE

NEWARK - Archaeologists date American Indians in Licking County back 14,000 years. Spearpoints shaped (or knapped) from Flint Ridge’s Vanport Flint are one basis for this dating, but the flint was only one resource to bring the Paleoindian and Archaic people to this area.

The name we still use—“Licking County”—points toward another resource: salt deposits along waterways. American Indians were long aware of this resource the Licking River’s Shawnee name is Nepenime Sepe, “Salt River.” But more significant than the salt were the deer that it brought, and deer meant food, clothing, and other tools.

To this day, hunters come to Licking County for trophy bucks. The huge racks these deer grow is a result of other minerals they lick up with the salt. For ancient American Indians, deer antler was a preferred material for knapping flint-based tools.

This synergy of resources, along with fertile earth from Ohio’s glacial period and numerous waterways for transporting people and resources like granite hammerstones for quarrying flint, provided reasons for people to keep coming back to Licking County. But how could they make the area even more productive?

Pollen samples taken from the wall of the Great Circle show that site was built on a prairie, not a forest as we expect from ancient Ohio. Controlled burning with fire would have cleared trees in a couple of ways. A burn would remove softer, faster growing trees, leaving more room for hard-wooded oak, chestnut, walnut, and hickory—nut producing trees. Removing the bark from these large hardwoods so they would die and dry out (called girdling) would cause burning to clear everything. Grass, which is not plentiful in a forest, would then grow. With more grass to eat, the deer herds could reach larger sizes.

In either case, the results would have increased the area’s food supply, creating an environment where people could stay longer. Adena burial mounds like Dawes Arboretum’s, the Taft Reserve’s Huffman Mound, and possibly those next to Fairmount Presbyterian Church and at Infirmary Mound Park point to generations of people living out their lives in Licking County.

With the ability to stay close to this area, people could develop their culture and mythology in connection with it. During the Hopewell phenomenon, an artificial prairie would have been the perfect landscape on which to build the four-square mile complex that is the Newark Earthworks. Nestled between Raccoon Creek, the South Fork of the Licking River, and Ramp Creek, this complex could easily be reached by people from all over the eastern half of North America, bringing for trade or as offerings such exotic materials as copper, mica, seashells, and obsidian.

But the story of American Indians in this area does not stop there. Later generations of the Fort Ancient Culture were also active here. Granville’s Alligator Mound dates to this period. Although probably not an actual alligator in Central Ohio, a mythological figure like the Underwater Panther could fit. Perhaps, it reflects later generations elaborating on the cosmological divisions between earth and a watery beneath the world, an interpretation of the Great Circle’s moat, or even the placement of the whole Newark Complex between its three waterways.

The petroglyph once at Blackhand Gorge perhaps dated to this period too. Positioned on the cliff-face beneath Council Rock, where knappers worked flint quarried at Flint Ridge, the Black Hand provided some kind of signal to visitors paddling in along the Licking River.

American Indians return to Licking County to this day. Their history surrounds the Newark Earthworks—and many other places—as we prepare for World Heritage.

Dr. Tim Jordan has worked in various positions in interpretation and site management for the Newark Earthworks and Flint Ridge Ancient Quarries and Nature Preserve. He is also on the English faculties of Ohio University Zanesville and Zane State College.


Empire of Crime

This is the first book to reveal the full extent and variety of organised crime within the British Empire in the 20th century and how gangsters exploited its global trade routes to establish a new age of criminal networks that spanned the world.

They even took the liberty of using the very weapons of imperial power—Her Majesty’s Royal Navy—to smuggle drugs from continent to continent. HMS Belfast, now a major tourist site in the River Thames in the heart of London, was once packed with Triad narcotics from Hong Kong intended for distribution in America.

Digging deep into British colonial archives, Newark has discovered startling truths about organised crime inside the British Empire.

When Great Britain took the moral high ground and banned its lucrative export of opium from Imperial India to China, it unleashed a century of criminality. Just as America's misguided Prohibition of alcohol made illicit fortunes for the Mafia, so organised criminals within the British Empire grew rich on their trade in illegal narcotics in the 20th century.

Tim Newark visits police headquarters in Singapore.

Click on the link below to buy Tim Newark's Empire of Crime from Amazon.co.uk:


Pact With the Devil?

One of the great conspiracy theories of the Second World War is that the ­Americans struck a deal with Mafia mobsters to ­conquer Sicily. Tim Newark exposes the truth behind this notorious story of Mafia collaboration.

Despite Mussolini’s successful crusade against the Mafia in the 1920s, it survived in Sicily and twenty years later Sicilian gangsters commanded tremendous influence in Europe and America. After Pearl Harbor and Germany and Italy’s declaration of war on the US in December 1941, there were huge fears about an attack on America’s Eastern seaboard. To protect New York and its docks, US government security agencies were anxious to talk to anyone who might help including the Mafia.

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Watch the video: Newark On The Rise