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Suggested reading?

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Suggested reading?

Postby Mr Fjeld » Sun Aug 14, 2005 11:25 am

Hello everyone!
As of late I've started to take an interest in scottish history - at least to a greater part than that you are briefly presented with during searching for whiskies and distilleries. I really enjoyed "Peat, Smoke & Spirit" and its presentation of Islay's history, but I would also like to learn more about Scotlands history.
As I'm sure you all know it's from early on closely connected to my own country but I have to say that the history from the middle ages and on interests me more. Especially the clearings and evictions are of interest - like what happend in Uist, Barra etc.
I did know people were forced off the land of proprietors with their own clansname as a result of the consequenses of the the battle of Culloden and the collapse of the highland system. What I didn't know was that people not only were forced off the land but many were also forced on ships to Canada in particular. All this just to make room for sheep providing wool to the army fighting Napoleon.

So, what I basically would like to know is if any of you can suggest good reading on the history of Scotland? Scientific papers are also ok!

Skål!
Christian
Last edited by Mr Fjeld on Sun Aug 14, 2005 1:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Tom » Sun Aug 14, 2005 12:04 pm

As for general history, I can suggest "Highlanders, A history of the gaels" from John Macleod. Very easy going and informative, funny and it raised an eyebrown or two when I was reading it.

Another good one is "Culloden" from Peter Harrington Wich covers everything that has to do with the battle of culloden.
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Sun Aug 14, 2005 1:06 pm

Thanks for your suggestions Tom! I'll check out the second book!

Skål!
Christian
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Postby bernstein » Sun Aug 14, 2005 3:29 pm

Hi Christian - considering what I know about your expertise and your knowledge in anthropology and you may find this book entertaining and useful:
Samuel Johnson and James Boswell: A Journey To the Western Islands of Scotland and Journal of a Tour of The Hebrides. Oxford University Press 1979. (Paperback)
It was fist published in 1775 and decribes their journey in the year 1773. Those two texts offer lots of insights into the situation just after Culloden and the Union and descriptions of the beginning changes in Scottish society. Coming to think about it, I should reread it, cause I haven't done so since my days at university...
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Sun Aug 14, 2005 4:17 pm

Marvelous Bernie! The funny thing is that early travellers reports have gained in interest the last decade with anthropologist. They provide valuable information about cosmology, folk stories et.
I've read stories from missionaries in Bangladesh before the East India Company moved in etc.
Was it part of a history or literature course you took at uni?

Skål!
Christian
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Postby bernstein » Sun Aug 14, 2005 7:48 pm

Christian wrote:Was it part of a history or literature course you took at uni?

Church history actually! I had to write a paper on the role of religion in the Jacobite attempts to raise their cause. The main question was which stand the Calvinist Church of Scotland (the "Kirk") took in the 18th century struggles. Charles Stuart and his adherence to the Church of Rome played an interesting part in his failure to gather wider parts of the Highland Clans around him. It was fascinating to do the research on this.

Gosh, long time ago now...
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Aug 15, 2005 4:39 am

Scotland, The Story Of A Nation, by the Iceland-born historian Magnus Magnusson, is a good broad, start-to-finish history. The story of the Maid of Norway will make you weep for a young girl, but the story of the precarious travails of the Scottish crown that led up to it, and the consequences thereof, will make you weep for a nation. Available in paperback.

A bit of a tangent, and perhaps of interest to Norwegians, is the Orkneyinga, the Icelandic saga detailing the history of the earls of Orkney. Good read! I'm working on more of the Icelandic sagas now.

Since you invite us to digress in your threads, I like to read novels with strong geographic and historic ties to places of interest to me--Scotland, Canada, Iceland. Any recommendations, anyone, on that front? I've enjoyed The Sea Road and Voyageurs by Margaret Elphinstone, Away by Jane Urquhart, and No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod; and have Jane Smiley's The Greenlanders waiting in the wings.
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Re: Suggested reading?

Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Aug 15, 2005 4:51 am

Mr Fjeld wrote:I did know people were forced off the land of proprietors with their own clansname as a result of the consequenses of the the battle of Culloden and the collapse of the highland system. What I didn't know was that people not only were forced off the land but many were also forced on ships to Canada in particular.


Where did you think they went? All of the estates were throwing their tenants out, so there was nowhere in Scotland for them to go. Some were resettled in those charming seaside villages, like Plockton and Bowmore and Portnahaven, that were built for the purpose, and told to learn to fish. But many emigrated against their will. Canada was built by Scots. And it's said that, when the folk music boom took hold in Scotland in the '60's, Scottish fiddlers went to Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia to learn how to play in the traditional style!
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Mon Aug 15, 2005 5:57 am

Thanks for the suggestions Mr T. !
You have undoubtedly read "Heimskringla" - the sagas of the norse kings by the icelandic writer, politician and lawman Snorre Sturlason? You'd find a lot of interest concerning not only Norway but all the more or less independant "norwegian" fiefdoms including the Orkneys, Iceland, Shetland etc. If a book could be a splatter then this one definately is. Very fascinating reading!

Where did you think they went? All of the estates were throwing their tenants out, so there was nowhere in Scotland for them to go. Some were resettled in those charming seaside villages, like Plockton and Bowmore and Portnahaven, that were built for the purpose, and told to learn to fish. But many emigrated against their will. Canada was built by Scots. And it's said that, when the folk music boom took hold in Scotland in the '60's, Scottish fiddlers went to Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia to learn how to play in the traditional style!

I guess most people including myself restrict the early american imigrants to be those who fled from religious persecution, criminals that were forced to move and adventurers. My history books in school never said anything about scotts being forced off the landowners properties and sent to north america. Funny isn't it what you learn by taking an interest in whisky? Obviously I read about Portnahaven and Bowmore in Peat, Smoke & Spirit and thus you get a vague idea of the wider picture - especially the tragic happenings on the land belonging to the duke of Sutherland. But apart from that I didn't know they were forced to go to Canada rather that they were "encouraged" to go there. It looks like it wasn't much of a difference at all!
And it's said that, when the folk music boom took hold in Scotland in the '60's, Scottish fiddlers went to Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia to learn how to play in the traditional style!

A fantastic story!

Anyway, I'll check out the suggestions given to me by Tom, Bernie and Mr T! Thanks

Skål!
Christian
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Postby Lawrence » Mon Aug 15, 2005 3:06 pm

You might consider "How the Scots Invented the Modern World;The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World and Everything in It" by Arthur Herman.

It'a fascinating read about Scottish History, especially the early times, and the effect Scotland has had on the world today.

It's available from Amazon.
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Postby Crispy Critter » Tue Aug 16, 2005 4:01 am

Although the Clearances don't seem to factor in his emigration, Alexander Graham Bell had a major impact on the world - his legacy still lives on today.

Appropriately enough, the first successful transatlantic telephone cable was laid from Clarenville, Newfoundland, to none other than Oban, Scotland.

I wonder how far from the distillery the cable landed? :)
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Tue Aug 16, 2005 9:14 am

Thanks for the suggestion Lawrence, I'll check it out!

Crispy Critter, that's a good question......... And untill someone finds out I bet that the cabel reaches the shore no longer away than it takes a man to walk to the distillery and back without the supervisor noticing his absence.....?

Skål!
Christian
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