Among my Christmas gifts was a copy of Marshal Schomberg 1615-1690 – The Ablest Soldier of His Age by Matthew Glozier, a research associate at the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Sydney. This is the first book-length, scholarly appraisal of the man since 17789 and the first ever in English based on new research. Schomberg held high command in British, Portuguese and French armies but he is remembered as second-in-command to William of Orange during the Glorious Revolution. He arrived in Ulster on 13 August 1689 at the head of a Williamite army and then in the summer of 1690 he accompanied William as they marched south to fight James and the Jacobite army at the Battle of the Boyne. Schomberg was killed at the Boyne and buried in St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. This is a well-researched book and a welcome addition to the range of books on the Glorious Revolution.
The Man with the Golden Flute is an autobiography of Sir James Galway, written jointly by him and Linda Bridges. The story starts in Belfast, where Sir James was born in 1939, in a house in Vere Street. This was bombed during the Blitz and after that they moved to 17 Carnalea Street. His grandfather was the conductor of the Apprentice Boys Flute Band and his father was also a member of the band but their band-room was destroyed during the blitz and the band did not reform after the war. Sir James himself started in the Onward Flute Band, which still parades and performs today. Writing of his grandfather he said, ‘Although my grandfather was self-taught, he was good enough that he had often played in the opera orchestra. His real passion was playing in the flute bands that we had in Belfast. These bands were the equivalent of marching bands in the United States, or the brass bands they had up in the north of England.’