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List of illustrations
1 Politics and government 5
2 Religion 38
3 Education 61
4 Society 73
5 Economy and environment 99
6 Scotland and the wider world 110
7 Culture 125
Conclusion: The lessons of history 147
References and further reading 151
Monarchs of Scotland, 843-1714 161
Posted February 7, 2009
I heard about this book through a family history contact in Scotland. It was published in the UK before it appeared here and is now affectionately known in Scotland as `the wee book¿. Houston (the name comes from near Glasgow) has done a service both for his country and for the millions of us in the US who can trace our ancestors back to Scotland. In short (pardon the pun) this `wee book¿ is a BIG achievement. It has just about everything you¿d want to know about Scotland past and present in sections themed around topics like religion, Jacobitism, migration, government, law, environment: you name it, you¿ll find it here. Houston focuses on the history not just because he is a history professor at Scotland¿s oldest university (St Andrews, the home of golf). He thinks the Scots ARE their history and he uses the past to explain clearly many of the things that puzzle us, like why the Scots are quite different from the English ¿ and intensely proud of it. But beware that this is Scotland the real country. Houston has no time for myths or legends and that makes his book all the more fascinating and his homeland all the more attractive. If you want to know about the old country or even visit Scotland for the `year of the homecoming¿ make sure to read this. It¿s a great wee book.
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