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The National Book League was a precursor to the current Booktrust, and was set up in 1924 by the Society of Bookmen in order to promote reading, particularly among the young. To that end, the NBL issued Reader's Guides on a variety of subjects, each written by an author with expertise in that field and containing an annotated bibliography of recommended titles on the subject. J. D. Mackie had a distinguished career as a historian of Scotland, and was appointed Historiographer Royal for Scotland in 1957, the year after this guide was published. This guide includes an introduction defending Scottish history as a subject independent from general British history, and a bibliography divided by period and by specific points of interest, including Scottish art and the role played by Scots in the development of the British Empire.