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A History Of Scotland Paperback – Jan 4 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix (Jan. 4 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753826631
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753826638
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 399 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #76,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


It's an affectionate portrait by an author who, for all its flaws and magnificence, clearly loves his country―IRISH NEWS

About the Author

Neil Oliver is a Scottish archaeologist, historian and broadcaster best known for his distinctive voice and long black hair and as the charismatic presenter of the award-winning documentary series Coast. His 10-part 'bold, pugnacious and authoritative' History of Scotland on BBC2 was a critical success as was the book of the same name that accompanied it.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After purchasing and watching the DVD collection of this book over and over, I just had to have the book. This is a wonderful resource and gives me a great insight to the country of my heritage. I would recommend it to anyone.
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Format: Paperback
I thought this was a decent overview of Scottish history. I learned a lot, and it was interesting to see Scotland and Britain from a Scottish perspective. The information about religious infighting, the tobacco trade, labour unrest, and class exploitation were particularly appealing, and there are lots of sources in the back for further reading. It must have taken the writer years to research and write the book, and knowing what that’s like, I’m reluctant to criticize. However, I feel I must, because in many places the book is badly written, so badly that it became a distraction. Mr. Oliver and his editor should acquaint themselves with at least one decent style guide. They should know that generally it’s useful to omit needless words and to place important words at a sentence’s end. There are so many sentences that end with “as well” as to defy imagination. There are also clichés (e.g. the something-or-other from hell) and other examples of pub speak. And there are long, comma filled constructions begging to be simplified and recast.

Besides issues with writing, there’s scant little in the way of positionality. Besides being a proud, curious, and educated Scot, what perspective is the writer coming from? Is he a historian? An archeologist? What? Is he going to be relaying a dynastic history, a people’s history, or both, and why? The reader assumes the writer focuses on kings, queens, wars, and other conflicts, because that’s the history that’s best been recorded, but the writer never explains. I also thought the later references to geography were unnecessary. Sure, geography may shape and influence history (e.g. the highlands vs. the lowlands), but it’s what people believe and how they act that’s key.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Eager to learn more about Scotland's history, I was really enthusiast about this book.
Although it was interesting, it was hard to read for multiple reasons. Firslty, the author decided to start Scotland history with the formation of continents. So it takes a while before we talk about Celts and Scotts. Secondly, the narrative is hard to follow. Between the lack of dates to guide us and the tendency of the author to jump from one thing to the other, I was sometimes lost.
What I really liked about this book however was how much Neil oliver stayed close to history. He stated what history remembered of some ancients events or historical figure and sayed what was lost and uncertain.
So, overall, I liked what I learned from the book, but found reading it was a strenuous experience.
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