Scottish Life Magazine masthead
scotish life magazine special subscription offer

Great Scottish Lives: Obituaries of Scotland's Finest

Edited by Magnus Linklater

More than 100 obituaries carefully curated from The Times of London archive by Magnus Linklater, former Scotland editor at The Times and former editor of The Scotsman newspaper, allow readers to discover the fascinating lives of the iconic figures that have shaped Scotland from the early 19th century to the present day.

Scots have contributed richly to the world, most notably in literature and science, but also in the arts, law, politics, religion, scholarship and sport, and each of the obituaries in this volume provides a full, yet concise, account of the subject's life. The subjects chosen have excelled in their fields, or have led particularly interesting or influential lives, and their stories are told with warmth and insight, presenting the rich history of Scotland's cultural, social and political landscape through its people.

This book features the major Scottish figures of influence from the last 200 years, including: Sir Walter Scott, Sir David Livingstone, Thomas Carlyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, Keir Hardie, Alexander Graham Bell, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Phoebe Traquair, James Ramsay MacDonald, John Logie Baird, Mary Somerville, Jim Clark, John Smith, Donald Dewar, Eugenie Fraser, Robin Cook, Jock Stein, R. D. Laing, Margo MacDonald, William McIlvanney, Tam Dalyell and Ronnie Corbett

The Crofter and the Laird

by John McPhee

When John McPhee returned to the island of his ancestors - Colonsay, 25 miles west of the Scottish mainland -- 138 people were living there. About 80 of these, crofters and farmers, had familial histories of unbroken residence on the island for two or three hundred years; the rest, including the English laird who owned Colonsay, were "incomers." Donald McNeill, the crofter of the title, was working out his existence in this last domain of the feudal system; the laird, the fourth Baron Strathcona, lived in Bath, appeared on Colonsay mainly in the summer and accepted with nonchalance the fact that he was the least popular man on the island he owned. While comparing crofter and laird, McPhee gives readers a deep and rich portrait of the terrain, the history, the legends, and the people of this fragment of the Hebrides.

Love of Country, A Journey Through The Hebrides

by Madeleine Buntin

After years of hearing about Scotland as a place deeply interwoven with the story of her family, Madeleine Bunting was driven to see for herself this place so symbolic and full of history. Over six years, Bunting returned again and again to the Hebrides, fascinated by the question of what it means to belong there, a question that on these islands has been fraught with tenacious resistance and sometimes tragedy. With great sensitivity, she takes readers through the Hebrides’ history of dispossession and displacement, a history that can be understand only in the context of Britain’s imperial past, and she shows how the Hebrides have been repeatedly used to define and imagine Britain. In recent years, the relationship between Britain and Scotland has been subject to its most testing scrutiny, and Bunting’s travels became a way to reflect on what might be lost and what new possibilities might lie ahead.

For all who have wondered how it might feel to stand face-out at the edge of home, Love of Country is a revelatory journey through one of the world’s most remote, beautiful landscapes that encourages us to think of the many identities we wear as we walk our paths, and how it is possible to belong to many places while at the same time not wholly belonging to any.

subscribe Full reviews of these books are available in the Winter 2018 issue of Scottish Life.

Previously Reviewed Books