Please buy the History book here.
Please buy the Century book here
A History of the Scottish People 1560-1830 must surely rank alongside Devine’s The Scottish Nation: 1700-2007 as the most widely read books on Scottish History.
Volume 1 is essentially split into two sections: 1560-1690, the Reformation to Glorious Revolution and events prior to Union.
Volume 2, 1690-1830, essentially discusses the historical issues which are sandwiched between Union and the Disruption.
Smout discusses all the main historical issues: the Reformation, the Union of the Crowns, the Union of Parliaments, the Disruption, the Industrial and Agricultural Revolutions, the Highland Clearances, Education, Empire and Emigration, the rise of the Urban Middle Classes, the Enlightenment, industrial labour, the Economy, and a whole lot more.
Smout has the knack of picking out evidence which hammers home the issue. This, after all, is what a historian is supposed to do best. Here, for example, Smout contrasts the living conditions of the emerging middle-class farmers who are surrounded by:
…the gorgeous sideboard, the wine-cooler, the sofa or settee, and above all the elegant piano-forte.
with that of the landless labourers lifestyle:
…bed-frame of rough slabs and filled with hay
…suspended our sack of oatmeal by rope from one of the naked rafters
…the rats were somewhat troublesome
A Century of the Scottish People: 1830-1950
“is as satisfying and enlightening as its predecessor.” John Kenyon, Observer
“An admirable example of how academic history may yet be written for the general reader. It is deeply enjoyable, lively, packed with interesting detail, illuminating anecdote and pithy observation.” Allan Massie, The Times