How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World and Everything in It

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
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How the Scots Invented the Modern World 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
labboyer More than 1 year ago
I loved this book and was fascinated by the history presented by the author. It was truly eye-opening to read about the role religion and education played not only in Scotland but by influencing thought, business and art endeavors around the globe. My copy of this book is now well worn with underlined passages on nearly every page. Though a collection of historical facts, the author does a wonderful job of making it read almost as easily as a fictional novel. I highly recommend this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
MUNRO THIS IS AN INTERESTING BOOK -not always accurate on Gaelic issues and Celtic influence in the South -he seems never to have heard of the Irish Gael for example and claims things I think are not true or unsubtantiated for example that the Scots built the first log cabins in America. Almost certainly not true. Cabin is in English word -not a native Gaelic word as he seems to imply introduced by the Normans to Britain and the Swedish-Finns of Delaware. His origin of Cracker is correct (Cnacair or Cracair means bon vivant or talker, conversationalist in Gaelic and the lowland Scots word is "cracker") but I never heard of "redneck" meaning lowland evangelical Presbyterian. This was a southern/western expression as far as I know but I would have to check his sources. One small defect of this work is that he (HERMAN) accepts all his sources as authorities. He seemed not to know that some of his authors WERE CHAUVINISTS (SCOTTISH OR SOUTHERN) or even Socialist or pro-Communist (and not always reliable). And of course like many American historicans his great weakness is his lack of non-English language sources and his total reliance on others for commentary on non-English sources. But unlike other books his is aware of religious diversity in Scotland (the existence of Episcoplians and Roman Catholics he mentions Arthur Conan Doyle but not Compton MacKenzie or A.J. Cronin. who were much more devout Scottish Catholics- neither does he mention the Jews who were there in the shadows and helped make Scotland a religiously plural country not totally unlike the USA). He is also fair to the Gaels(he has read some classic and up to date works on them) but very ignorant of Gaeldom's cultural influence in the Common Sense philosophy, religion and music not to mention the Scots langauge (or dialect). What he says about Burns is reasonably accurate but it is clear he underestimates his importance as a causeway of so many enlightenment ideas not to mention Adam Fergusson's ideas. Burns is 100 times more important for Scots than David Hume who was never a popular figure and always controversial. Burns, however, is the brighest star by far and still intensely studied and admired and quoted by ordinary Scots...once again 100 times more than David Hume. Perhaps Hume was more original but Burns burned with passion a la Fergusson and it is Burns who is responsibile for Scott and the rehabiliation of Wallace. Nonetheless this is a worthy book and tells us much of ADAM SMITH, FRANCIS HUTCHESON, ADAM FERGUSSON, DAVID HUME and THE REV John Witherspoon among others and their ideas their cosmopolitan ideas. The main thesis of this book is not CHAUVINISM but the power of ideas and the cosmopolitan pragmatism of Scots that led to their high achievment. Nuture (education) not racial superiority is the message. In otherwords non Scots (even the Irish) can emulate Scots. The Japanese did.!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The author takes on the dauting task of exploring the impact of one culture on the rest of the world over several centuries. He carries out the probject with ease. This reads more like a novel than a history book. The scope is epic, and the writing style fluid.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The title of this book would probably spark interest in those whose main diet is pop literature however, it is so much deeper than that and a great starting point to look deeper into the philosphers who shaped the values of the West - which are currently under seige. This is a book for those fascinated by political philisophy, and primarily for those who are to some degree classical liberals. Otherwords, if you a Marxist or if your eyes glaze over whenever politics is discussed at a party, you probably won't find this book that delightful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Incredible account of the Scottish Enlightenment and its influence on the world we know today. A little dry at times but well worth reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How the Scots Invented the Modern World by Arthur Herman is on the story of the Scottish influence on the development of modern society. This book is for those who are looking are into Scottish history because this book is very informative on that subject. This book is worth the read if you can see past the flaws. The author of this book, Arthur Herman, has a doctorate in history so he is quite knowledgeable. The Scots were major influences in many aspects of modern society. Many Scottish philosophers such as Francis Hutcheson, David Hume, and Thomas Reid gained famed and attracted many followers. Doctors, such as William and John Hunter, revolutionized the medicine was practiced. Influential writers, like Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns, were Scots. Scots were also influential in other fields as well. This book is very well-written but it is not without flaws. The writing is very detailed and that may or may not be a good thing. The detail sometimes makes the writing a little bit dry. There is an entire chapter devoted to the Jacobite rebellion of 1745 and I don't really see how it pertains to the topic of the book. It would be smart to keep a dictionary handy while reading this book because some of the vocabulary gets kind of difficult. In spite of the flaws, this book is not a waste of your time. This book shows how much a single society can influence the whole world. Without their influence the world would be a darker place. I would recommend this book if you would like to learn something new and are interested in Scottish history.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A very good book that helps the reader understand the Scottish Enlightenment and how far its influence spread. There are some exaggerations and some stretches in the book, but taken as a whole, I thought the book was a good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you're Scottish read it! Heck, if you're not...read it too!
ANONYMOUS3333 More than 1 year ago
INTELLECTUAL HISTORY THAT ENLIGHTENS AND GIVES MEANING TO THE WORLD ENFOLDING AS CONTEMPORARY HISTORY.
loftismk More than 1 year ago
Any one who loves the foibles of history will love this book! Even more so if you have Scotish Descent. Excellent reading!!!
MrsMcIntosh More than 1 year ago
Well-written and semi-easy to read. You can't just jump into the middle of it but you can follow along well enough if you start from the beginning. Many, many names and references popup that you won't have any idea about if you just jump around. 
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not the easiest read. Some chapters I had to read 2-3 times to appreciate the contents, but, it was well worth the effort! Amazing, insightful and very well researched.....would recommend it to anyone who loves history or just learning!
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Brunel More than 1 year ago
..everything is seems. From modern economics, religious tolerance, the 'invention' of science - the list goes on. Even from an English perspective (albeit with Scottish ancestry) it's an impressive and informative read. Not as absorbing as his book about the Royal Navy, but excellent none the less.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
storyloverMA More than 1 year ago
This book didn't grab my attention at the start. The first dozen pages seemed to have a lot of unnecessary detail. I may try it again.