One of my first reactions was to value this volume as a corrective to "Braveheart" - to which it is certainly rather weakly linked. Harry's Wallace was not stupid; he did not use a wild Highland charge against thousands of Edward's men as did the celluloid creation - without armor. Thus I appreciated the poet's description of Wallace's defensive gear - not just an occasionally-worn helmet that falls off at the onset of battle (as in Hollywood's offering ) but a helmet, steel collar, coat of mail, and even steel-plated gauntlets. Viewers of "Braveheart" also tend to come away with the impression that Wallace was (essentially) a Highlander leading clansmen to battle - which certainly cannot be concluded from Harry's account (and naming of Wallace supporters). This Luath edition of the historic epic, moreover, contains a very interesting map of "Wallace Place names" (page 225) which suggests that Wallace's support was in the South (some in the North-East) of Scotland, and not the North and West where the great Highland clans were situated. There are numerous such (major) discrepancies in the popular movie but each reader may easily and instructively discover these for himself as comparisons are made. It is only fair to add, however, that the movie might also serve as 'corrective' to the poem since the film-script does warn us, on at least two occasions, of the hyperbole that results in passing on verbal anecdotes of legendary figures and the Harry version relies, at least in part, upon such anecdotes. Randall Wallace's script (understandably, since his is an audience of different sensibilities to Harry's ) is not so obviously 'racial' in its prejudices. I had the impression (reading the bard)that I was reading the Declaration of Independence one minute and Mein Kampf the next. The "blood untainted" of Harry's Scots (see page one)is, of course, nonsense, as is the demonisation of the "Picts, Danes and Saxons" that the 'Scots' historically fought. To the knowledgable, Harry's 'English' were simply a mixture of Gaelic and Germanic elements (quite like the Scots themselves) mustered by descendants of the Norman conquerors of England (Scotland was itself already somewhat dominated by such high-flying Normans, and would continue to be, especially in and through the person of Robert Bruce and his dynasty). The introduction to this edition of "Wallace" perhaps gives the key to Harry's racial preferences. Page xvii reveals that Harry's chief patron was the Scottish king himself - descendant of Bruce's Norman royal house. Obviously the poet could not have included Normans in his enumeration of Scotland's enemies (on page one) - but the 'English' (his and Scotland's historic rivals)were fair game. Burning thousands of 'English' alive in retaliation for the perfidy of her alien leaders (in "Wallace")seems a bit unfair (though Harry interestingly indicates that the nascent Commons of England actually acted as a restraint on Longshanks). It also takes away the impact of Wallace's own horrid death which Harry (at least consistently) does not dwell upon. In short I concluded that Randall Wallace and Blind Harry had both dramatic virtues and vices. "Wallace" was both better and worse than "Braveheart". Since there is a dearth of early historical sources for Wallace's life this is certainly worth a read. It may be at least as accurate a portrayal of Scottish history, at any rate, as Shakespeare's "Macbeth" and certainly illuminates the author and his audience. Personally I felt that much of it was likely to be authentic and I greedily devoured many of Harry's details.