Books: King Hob

ROBERT BRUCE by G.W.S. Barrow. 502 pages. University of California. $7.50.

On Aug. 23, 1305, while thousands jeered, a fearless Scot named William Wallace, the heart and soul of his country's resistance to the conquering English, was dragged through the streets of London behind a horse, hanged by the neck, cut down while still alive, disemboweled, decapitated with a bloody great cleaver, hacked into four chunks and sent home to Scotland severally.

In the death of Wallace, all reasonable Scotsmen saw the death of Scotland. But they were wrong. They reckoned without a thoroughly unreasonable Scotsman named Robert the Bruce, a 31-year-old...

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