A history of Scotland is brought to book

Scotland: A history from the earliest times from popular historian Alistair Moffat presents the story of Scotland from the Ice Age right through to today.

Moffat vividly brings the story of this extraordinary nation to life, from the dawn of prehistory right up to the momentous events of the 2014 independence referendum and subsequent general election.

In an ambitious, richly-detailed and above all accessible account, Scotland: A History From Earliest Times offers the reader a comprehensive look into the nation’s past, skilfully weaving together a vast array of facts and details which reference a huge number of sources, from the lives of saints, medieval documents and great works of literature to reports of sporting events and contemporary popular culture.

The result is an imaginative, informative, balanced and varied portrait of Scotland over the centuries. Moffat’s decision to describe events by focusing on ordinary people as well as notable figures from history is a good touch.

As well as the famous characters that sprinkle the nation’s past, the author shines a light on the everyday folk who also contributed to the rich tapestry of the nation in a people’s history of Scotland that hasn’t been built solely by saints, kings and warriors.

Documenting 500 million years of geological and human change is a huge undertaking, but the historian moves effortlessly through the period, accompanying the reader through literary time travel while guiding them through the storms and battles, every loss and victory, every conjunction and every disunion that has made Scotland what it is today.

Through Moffat’s words, the reader journeys from the Highlands and islands to Scotland’s lowlands, and is introduced to everyone who is anyone in the nation’s chaotic history, from Mary, Queen of Scots to Andy Murray, all within 500 pages.

Taking his time to walk us through the important events, Moffat gives the reader a comprehensive and detailed insight into the events that have shaped Scotland, whilst neatly avoiding pretensions and jargon.

This is a stunning book, packed full of facts. A sweeping history of Scotland in one volume, it is attractively bound and illustrated with photographs as well as historical documents, drawings and paintings. This book offers a varied and balanced view of the history of Scotland and is an important addition to the canon.

Scotland: A history from the earliest times, by Alistair Moffat, published by Birlinn.

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