T.C. Smout: A History of the Scottish People 1560-1830

My sister lent me this book two decades ago; since then I forgot its contents almost completely, or thought I did. Some praiseful mentions on the Web last year made me buy it and read it again. It’s not such heavy reading as I remembered it; I guess more because it expects the reader to have some preliminary knowledge of Scottish history I didn’t have then than because of my improved English vocabulary. It’s still heavy reading, but quite interesting and informative if you’re inclined that way. And it presents a sober view of the past: it occurred to me that this is how James Dixon would have taught history if he could.

(By the way, I found out I hadn’t forgotten the contents almost completely; several things I still remembered, I just forgot I had learnt about them from this very book.)

Postscript, 28/12/15: Incidentally, it would also be one of the seven printed books I’d take with me into exile, rebeginning it a day before leaving and in fact only finishing in early December (after which I’d rebegin Ronald McNair Scott’s Robert the Bruce), reading considerable bulks while staying in the hostel but only a page or a paragraph every now and then once getting to the digs and there online.



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