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Issue 77 - Scotland's Bookshelf

Scotland Magazine Issue 77
October 2014

 

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Scotland's Bookshelf

A selection of the latest offering on Scottish History, Style and Culture

Scotland for Gardeners
Kenneth Cox, photography by Ray Cox
£25.00 | Birlinn | ISBN 978-1-78027-189-7

This has to be the most comprehensive guide to Scottish gardens and nurseries ever published but it is also invaluable for its chapters on the style of Scottish gardens and when best to visit them. Lavishly illustrated with colour pictures for each entry, this is so much more than a reference or guide book. For those of us who thought they knew Scotland well, it is full of wonderful surprises.

Wild Voices
Mike Cawthhorne
$9.99 | Birlinn | ISBN 978-1-78027-192-7

Featured are a series of trips on foot and by canoe through some of the last wildernesses in Scotland. Cawthorne has a light touch and effortlessly links his travels to those who have gone before him and written of the experience – Neil Gunn, Iain Thomson and Rowena Farre. But he is also prepared to take on sensitive contemporary issues such as land ownership, depopulation, renewable energy and conservation.

Glasgow: The Real Mean City
Malcolm Archibald
£7.99 | Black and White Publishing | ISBN 978-1-849502-737-7

The issue of a paperback edition after less than a year illustrates the popularity of this dark and disturbing subject. Britain's first professional police force was established in Glasgow, and Malcom Archibald has meticulously researched the wave of crime that enveloped Glasgow from the 18th century onwards and through its evolution into the Second City of the British Empire. True anecdotes proliferate from smiling assassins to the Glasgow vampires.

Otters, Return to the River
Laurie Campbell and Anna Levin
£14.99 | Birlinn | ISBN 978-1-78027-206-1

The charm of otters in the wild was first captured in the books of Gavin Maxwell back in the 1960s, and this wonderfully illustrated book reminds us of the excitement and fascination of encountering these graceful, wild animals in the rivers and on the shores of Scotland. Laurie Campbell's colour photographs are magical, capturing the innocence, beauty, and astonishing dexterity of these natural inhabitants of the River Tweed.

The Lords of Yester
Charles Nettlefold
£15.00 | Pewsey Press | ISBN 978-0-9929242-0-1

Charles Nettlefold was brought up at Yester House after his grandmother became the last Marchioness of Tweeddale to live there. This book is therefore written from the heart and reveals a fascinating insight into the Norman origins of the Giffard/Gifford and de la Haya families, who owned the estate, and in so doing, their story becomes the history of Scotland. Moreover, three of the Lords of Yester became Lord Chancellors of England.

Finding Angus
Mary Gladstone
£30.50 | hamishmacdonaldlockhart@gmail.com

A touching and well researched investigation into the life and loss of Major Angus Macdonald before and after he boarded a Dutch ship on the west coast of Sumatra after the British surrender of Singapore to the Japanese in 1942 and was never seen again. Like so many Second World War stories, particularly those from South East Asia, the pain of loss and uncertainties have lingered through the subsequent generations.

Isn't All This Bloody?
Edited by Trevor Royle
£14.95 | Birlinn | ISBN 978-1-78027-224-5

There were plenty of Scots caught up in the carnage between 1914 and 1918 and patriotic, jingoistic or cynical, a lot of them had something to say about it. With contributions from John Buchan, Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Douglas Haig, Cicely Hamilton, Hugh MacDiarmid, Naomie Mitchison and John Reith, a picture emerges of how the initial bravado gave way to a consensus on the futility of war spawning the end of a Celtic twilight and the rise of nationalism.

On the Other Side of Sorrow
James Hunter
£12.99 | Birlinn | ISBN 978-1-78027-187-3

With an introduction to this up-dated edition from the Lewis-born academic and activist Alastair McIntosh, James Hunter discusses the challenges of caring for the environment and helping to develop rural communities. Highlanders have been environmentally aware for generations and it therefore goes without saying that many feel threatened by what others call progress. Hunter asserts that repopulation of empty glens might have global implications for all of us.

The History of Scotland For Children
Judy Paterson (Illustrated by Sally J. Collins)
£14.99 | Glowworm Books and Gifts Ltd | ISBN 978-0955755903

A great introduction to the march of Scotland's story for children, from the Stone Age into the Stewart kings and culminating with Scotland's Referendum. Sensitively illustrated, it encapsulates so much, transporting the reader through the Scottish Wars, the Act of Union, the Jacobite Risings and The Enlightenment to contemporary Scottish Culture and the Falkirk Wheel. An absolute must for kids and grown ups.