Stewart, Ralph Books1992 0-7734-9577-0
Kirkton's History, written in the 1690s, is effectively a history of Scotland as a whole, from the Restoration of Charles II to the defeat of the Presbyterians at Bothwell Bridge in 1679. Kirkton, a Presbyterian minister who continued to preach in defiance of the government and under threat of execution, writes vividly of the events he's caught up in. He shrewdly assesses the personalities and motives of many influential figures, such as Gilbert Burnet, Lord Stair, and the Duke of Lauderdale. He is fair-minded and balanced in considering the problems of the Restoration government, and a sophisticated and reliable interpreter of this turbulent period. The only previous edition of his History, from 1817, is not generally available. The present edition has an introduction setting the book in its contemporary context and explaining why it was influential but frequently misinterpreted; and it provides brief notes to identify many characters who appear in the History.