The Scottish Nation, 1700-2007: A Modern History

By T.M. Devine

Rating: 4 stars

This is a well-written, readable book, impeccably sourced and researched. It’s taken me quite a while to get through it, although that’s mostly because I’d put it down for months at a time so that I could read something lighter.

Devine takes the history of Scotland over the last three hundred years or so and breaks it down by era and then within the era, he looks at different aspects of the social and political history of the country. So the first is roughly around the Act of Union and its consequences, then the early industrial era, taking us up to the start of the Victorian era. This is followed by the largest section, covering the Victorian and Edwardian eras, bringing us to the edge of the second world war, and the final section brings us right up to the present day (or at least up to when the book was written in 2007, updated to the eve of the Indyref in 2012).

There’s a huge amount of research here, and it covers many subjects, from the ‘traditional’ history of geopolitics, kings and the Great and the Good, to the rise of the lowland cities, the end of clanship, the place of women, migration (both into and out of Scotland) and much more.

As well as covering the Highland clearances, Devine looks at the effects of the underlying causes on the Lowlands as well. He covers the period of Scotland’s (and especially Glasgow’s) ascendency as ‘the world’s workshop’ and ‘second city of the empire’ and looks at its decline and the roots and causes of that.

All in all, the book is very comprehensive, readable and has definitely given me an overview of the modern history of the country that I have chosen to call home.

Book details

ISBN: 9780718193201
Publisher: Penguin
Year of publication: 1999

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