Rosemary Goring (Ed) (5 stars)

Scotland: The Autobiography (Viking)

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ScotloandL The Autobiography

HISTORY

Frankly, I’m not usually one for tomes about the past, but this remarkable and ambitious piece of work is no ordinary history book. An incredibly diverse collection of writings spanning 2000 years, it tells the story of this country through the people who were there, the ones who lived through everything from the Roman occupation to this year’s elections. So we get a range which includes William Wallace and Billy Connolly, David Hume and Harry Lauder, the Declaration of Arbroath and Denis Law.

Brilliantly blending the momentous with the everyday, it paints a picture of Scotland with great subtlety and astonishing depth, in a way no ordinary history book by a single author could ever manage. The selection of material is key, and for that Rosemary Goring must be applauded; delightfully readable throughout, this mighty book nonetheless adds up to a profound and landmark statement on the nature of Scotland and Scottishness.

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