A History of Scotland

The dramatic story of Scotland

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Book review: History of Scotland

Neil Oliver’s book on Scottish history should be available in classrooms


‘A History of Scotland’ by Neil Oliver (Weidenfeld & Nicolson 2009)

I wish I was reading history books like these when I was at school - I may have paid more attention. I suspect though that the graphic detail of the fierce battles described in this book may have been heavily edited before any young eyes could read it.

Neil Oliver breathes life into these historical characters and gives his slant on what he believes was the mindset of those powerful individuals who shaped Scotland. The barbaric, brutal way the Scottish people were dealt with, not only by English kings, but by Scottish kings too, is described meticulously.

I daresay some historians will challenge Neil Oliver’s take on Scottish history, but I for one was enthralled by his storytelling and to me he made the story of Scotland more vibrant. He does not paint a glorious colourful picture of Scotland. He tells a no-holds-barred story of a country damaged by countless raids, greedy landowners and traitorous lairds.



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