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Banner in the West: A Spiritual History of Lewis and Harris Paperback – 1 Jun 2010

3.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Birlinn Ltd (1 Jun. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841588520
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841588520
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 3.1 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 249,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A deeply stimulating and gripping study. --The Scotsman

The Free Church should be proud of John. --The Sunday Herald

an astute and refined body of work...The reader need have no interest in religion to appreciate the amusing anecdotes... invigorating...The vast amount of research involved shines through every page... --The West Highland Free Press --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

PRAISE FOR JOHN MACLEOD's PREVIOUS BOOKS

No Great Mischief If You Fall - The Highland Experience (Mainstream Publishing Ltd., Edinburgh, 1993.)

"Much of this is gripping and puts one in mind of Tom Wolfe and the `New Journalism' in America." (Northern Times)

Highlanders - A History of the Gaels (Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1996; Sceptre paperback 1997.)

"An important and stimulating book by a gifted stylist." (The Herald)

"Wonderfully written and presented... Enjoyable to read; the movement of the chapters is fast and clearly defined... John MacLeod is a brilliant writer with a gift for words that others can only envy." (Stornoway Gazette)

"An insider's view of Highland history. The choice of material is easily read and obviously flows from the pen of a master wordsmith. His cultural observations are excellent." (Shetland Radio)

Dynasty - A History of the Stuarts 1560-1807 (Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1999; Sceptre paperback 2000; American edition by St Martin's Press, New York, 2001.)

"A rattling good work of history." (Good Book Guide)

"MacLeod's book is a delight, bringing to life the eccentric characters who used to rule Britain. Factual, well-researched, and enlivened by the author's humorous commentary." (Star)

"Dynasty is a well-oiled gateway to an understanding of the period." (Catholic Herald)

"[MacLeod] exposes the buffoons that once ruled Scotland... yet, with great adroitness, he is able to argue that the Stuarts - for all their incompetence - still managed to bequeath a legacy that was to prove historically significant." (Mid Anglia Business Weekly)

"MacLeod writes vivid prose that does much to diminish the barrier of time. MacLeod's writing is as entertaining as it is informed." (Caledonia)

"MacLeod [is a] lucid, concise, extremely readable, wry and sardonically humorous author." (The Scotsman) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John Macleod has written a book over flowing with character, wit, and insight to these islands which are on the furthest North West fringe of the United Kingdom. It is obvious from the first page that Macleod has that increasingly rare ability to write properly, using an extensive vocabulary and excellent grammar which helps the flow of the book. This is in contrast to many of today's authors who often write in a bland and rather hollow style which makes so much reading a chore.

As someone born in Lancashire and with roots in Wigan where people, closely knit families and characters were the bedrock of the local society, I identified with the author's insight and meticulous passion for the folk in Lewis and Harris and how he shrewdly describes their characteristics. Macleod gives winsome and detailed if sometimes potentially controversial observations about local figures, while his evidence on evangelical authors and preachers like A.W. Pink and revivalist Duncan Campbell make fascinating reading.

Many topics of Christian belief and practise are woven into the book, and I was left with a renewed respect for the beauty of the Sabbath; psalm singing; and the loving holiness which is the back bone of much of the Reformed faith practised in many of the churches in Lewis and Harris. The author though first of all puts the islands in their ancient context of celtic and norse influence and culture in a way which kindles the imagination, while more recently the relationship with the U.K. mainland during the last few centuries seems to have been a bitter sweet one.

This book though is no heavy read. I loved Macleod's leavening of his writing with a pithy wit which makes this such an excellent book.
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Format: Hardcover
There is no place like The Long Island. There is no church history book like this one. This is no pretendedly objective academic church history. It is by a man commited to his home, its religion and culture. He writes with passion and humour. It is rare for a Christian tome to make one laught out loud as this one does, at of all things, church discipline. The Outer Hebridees are the most Christian part of the UK. Where else do people still leave houses unlocked? It helps if you have visited to know the places described here. You journey through the history of Christianity in Scotland, from its first missionaries to Reformation, the coming of evangelical Presbyterianism and its subsequent splits. The divisions are dealt with in historical detail save for the latest split in the Free Church over which the author maintains a discreet silence as his father was at its centre. Here you learn the church history of a special island but much more also about its distinctive culture. Where else has a minister refused to meet the Queen because he adjudged he a sabbath breaker? As well as laughter this book also moved me to tears over the disaster of January 1919 which was the worst British peacetime maritime loss since the Titanic. The reaction of one elder to the loss of his sons is a wonderful story of island Calvinistic piety. A special place, special people and a very special history book full of anecdotes of Christian piety and pastoral care. No hagiography. but some debinking of A W Pink and Duncan Campbell and the latter's claim to have started revival. MacLeod relates how the revival predated the arrival of Campbell. It is astonishing to read how sober Presbyterians could behave like the followers of Wimber were later to do. This is a book of surprises.
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Format: Paperback
This is a very detailed history of Christianity on Lewis and Harris. The author has obviously investigated his subject thoroughly and the book will be of particular interest to those keen to learn more about the spread of the Gospel in this part of Scotland. The purchase price was money well spent - and I can recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book represents a decidedly one-dimensional view of the history of the island, namely, that of the Free Church of Scotland, the dominant religious grouping throughout the northern part of the isles. I confess to subscribing to these solidly Evangelical-Reformed views. I feel, nonetheless, that one ought rather balance this book by reading 'yon' other paperback. Certainly, Duncan Campbell has received much more than is his due - and rightfully appropriate - percentage of praise. Yet, I do sincerely wonder whether any of the Free Church elders/ministers of that time were equipped to cope with the exigencies of such an outpouring of the Holy spirit. I am of southern, covenanter stock: descended from John Brown of Priesthill. I am saddened that those of my own persuasion have all-but forgotten the power and love and joy that comes from the Holy Spirit, and have opted, instead, for an academic, cognitive, self-assuring 'truth' that misrepresents the dynamic of God's Truth. To be sure, we could all do with a doze of humility, engendering the fruits of the Holy Spirit: 'Love, joy, peace....' Rediscover these, and live them to the full, and mayhaps, then, we shall find among our ranks someone who might be equipped, even at this removed stage, to render a balanced version of Lewis History.
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