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Caledonian Dreaming: The Quest for a Different Scotland (Open Scotland) [Kindle Edition]

Gerry Hassan
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A different Scotland is possible.

Caledonian Dreaming: The Quest for a Different Scotland offers a penetrating and original way forward for Scotland beyond the current independence debate. It identifies the myths of modern Scotland, describes what they say and why they need to be seen as myths.

Hassan argues that Scotland is already changing, as traditional institutions and power decline and new forces emerge. He outlines a prospectus for Scotland to become more democratic and to embrace radical and far-reaching change.

REVIEWS
An intelligent, brave and much needed contribution to the debate around the referendum in Scotland. This, along with other great contributions, like Lesley Riddoch’s Blossom, are hugely important to the general discourse and much needed research into the country we have been, the country we now are and the country we could become. ELAINE C. SMITH, actress and campaigner

This is a remarkable book – balanced and brave, insightful and incisive,intelligently blending the personal and the political. Whatever the referendum result, if Scotland really wants to be ‘the best place in the world to grow up’, Gerry Hassan’s suggestions for ‘a new democracy’ would be an excellent starting point. SUE PALMER, author, Toxic Childhood

Gerry Hassan sets out to challenge the lazy presumptions that are around about Scotland and its future. He invites the reader to think and think again. STUART COSGROVE, broadcaster

Understanding that the old stories we tell ourselves influence the new stories we go on to write, Gerry Hassan has crafted a brilliant book unpacking the political narratives that have shaped modern Scotland in order to create a space to imagine anew. A book about Scotland important to anyone, anywhere, dreaming a new world. STEPHEN DUNCOMBE, author, Dream: Re-imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy

The independence referendum changes what is possible regardless of its outcome. It forces people in Scotland to confront far more directly the nature of their country rather than continue to accept the myths that build up when there is no option to go it alone. In Caledonia Dreaming Gerry Hassan skillfully traverses these key myths to show that, if Scotland were to gain independence, it would have to confront internal realities that were hidden when Westminster could be blamed for so much. If the Scots prove the bookies wrong, if events over the summer of 2014 turn so that independence is achieved, then this book demonstrates that the new Scotland will be further from many possible idealised European utopias than many nationalists had ever imagined. It is a key contribution to the debate no matter where you stand. DANNY DORLING, author, Injustice: Why Social Justice Persists, Professor of Human Geography, Oxford University

With one bound Scotland could be free! How tempting that looks to the progressive-minded on both sides of the border. If only it were that easy. Gerry Hassan drills down to deeper reasons why the many dysfunctions of British democracy could dog an independent Scotland too. With a non-partisan but beady eye on society both sides of the border, in this clever book here are tougher questions to consider than a mere Yes/No. POLLY TOYNBEE, writer and journalist, The Guardian


Product Description

Review

An intelligent, brave and much needed contribution to the debate around the referendum in Scotland. This, along with other great contributions, like Lesley Riddoch s Blossom, are hugely important to the general discourse and much needed research into the country we have been, the country we now are and the country we could become. --ELAINE C. SMITH, actress and campaigner

This is a remarkable book balanced and brave, insightful and incisive, intelligently blending the personal and the political. Whatever the referendum result, if Scotland really wants to be the best place in the world to grow up , Gerry Hassan s suggestions for a new democracy would be an excellent starting point. --SUE PALMER, author, Toxic Childhood

The independence referendum changes what is possible regardless of its outcome. It forces people in Scotland to confront far more directly the nature of their country rather than continue to accept the myths that build up when there is no option to go it alone. In Caledonia Dreaming Gerry Hassan skillfully traverses these key myths to show that, if Scotland were to gain independence, it would have to confront internal realities that were hidden when Westminster could be blamed for so much. If the Scots prove the bookies wrong, if events over the summer of 2014 turn so that independence is achieved, then this book demonstrates that the new Scotland will be further from many possible idealised European utopias than many nationalists had ever imagined. It is a key contribution to the debate no matter where you stand. --DANNY DORLING, author, Injustice: Why Social Justice Persists, Professor of Human Geography, Oxford University

About the Author

GERRY HASSAN was born in Dundee. He is a writer, commentator, political analyst, and a regular contributor to The Scotsman, Newsnight Scotland, Good Morning Scotland, and Open Democracy. He works as a lecturer in cultural policy at the University of the West of Scotland.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1753 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Luath Press (5 April 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00JFVQTSW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #187,144 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Get this book. It's a very important contribution to anyone who is seriously thinking about the referendum on whether or not Scotland should be an independent state.

Gerry puts this event in the context of British and Scottish political history without getting too jargony or overly academic.

It take the so called debate away from the slanging matches, the simplistic binary arguments, or the two different 'accountancy versions' of Scotland

As well as challenging the British state, he also critiques the myths we scots tell ourselves. For example on education. We may have no student fees, but we still have appalling educational inequality - and we have had responsibility for this since the 1800's!

This is a non partisan book that will upset elements of both the NO camp and the YES camp!
Even tho his critique hits the target, it is a hopeful book - his opening chapter speaks of the difference between hope and optimism - hope being much deeper. And he ends with ideas for a future Scotland crowdsourced from policy makers called 'how to make a new democracy'

No matter what the outcome in September, I want to be part of the group that seeks to capitalise on the positive energy generated by this event and help play my part in making a new democracy in Scotland. Gerry's book is an important contribution to this possibility.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for all interested in UK politics 7 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a really important book. For anyone interested in gaining a real understanding of the dynamics behind the political developments in Scotland in the past generation and more, this is a rich and well-researched resource. The book challenges orthodoxies and received wisdom across the political spectrum, calling to account those on the left and the right who seem locked into old paradigms. More than this, though, Hassan presents a challenge to our thinking about democracy and poses questions which go to the heart of modern politics. A book for our time by one of the most thoughtful writers of our time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important guide to referendum issues 8 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Most critical accounts of contemporary Scotland fall into two traps. One is to witter on about the dangers of nationalism without addressing the highly reactionary nature of British nationalism, which cuts across all Westminster parties, including Scottish Labour. The other is to respond to the barrage of propaganda by defending or even glorifying the SNP.

Hassan's account escapes both of these. It asks important questions about ingrained conservatism in large parts of Scottish society, and about our national egalitarian myths. These are welcome contributions to what's often a sterile and partisan debate. Anyone with an interest in the referendum's main conflicts will need to buy this book. While nobody will agree with everything in it, it's a positive step forward for mainstream ideas in Scotland.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars thought provoking 5 Nov. 2014
By Sheila
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Thought provoking....but I found the writing repetitive throughout and this made it a bit of a struggle to persist with!! Could have cut to the chase sooner and stayed with it! That said there are some good ideas for moving the country forward. I enjoyed the final cheers best....
Thank you Gerry for trying to shake Scots, who think they are fair minded...and who think live in a more equal society, from complacency. I wholeheartedly agree with the analysis that institutions and elites in Scotland are in many cases holding the progress of the country back. I also agree that we need to hear everyone's voice, there are too many disenfranchised people in Scotland and they and we all, need to address that. We need to hear much less from the usual suspects in mainstream media (news and soaps alike!!), big business, institutions of all kinds, old and new elites, in the Scottish and UK contexts. We all need to start talking about the Scotland we want to live in....and get on with working together to build it. In this digitally connected age such a future is absolutely possible. Education...in its broadest sense, sharing our stories, and universal access to high speed internet are I think key to creating the positive future we all want for ourselves and our bairns for many generations to come. We all have a personal and practical contribution to make. Let's crack on!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Fiona
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Gerry Hassan gives a very full account, not just of the issues that an independent Scotland would face, but also the background that has led up to the point where Scotland is now. In places it is quite a personal account which is quite refreshing for a political book of this sort. He questions many of our assumptions about how democratic our society currently is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A primer of history in the making 29 Aug. 2014
Format:Paperback
No time to write a proper review with so much happening on the Scottish independence front, but for those wanting to grapple in-depth with the issues, and from a perspective that respects both sides of the debate, this book is both a key primer and will, in time, take its place amongst indicative historical documents.
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Format:Paperback
Gerry Hassan explores the possibilities of and the opportunities facing Scotland and the UK in the year of the Referendum and beyond. It's a clear-eyed and well written exploration of the many myths of Scotland and the UK and he encourages readers to look anew at the country and imagine the possibilities. It's not a history of Scotland in a convential sense, nor is it a politics primer but its an attempt to explore a country by looking closely at the public narratives with all their inbuilt (and often uncontested) assumptions. Hassan attempts to begin a process of contesting and replacing these dominant narratives. Given the result on 18 September, the book remains timely and the quest continues
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars I voted "Yes"
I read this shortly before the Scottish Referendum and couldn't decide if I should vote Yes or No. The author certainly knows his subject but doesn't clearly communicate his (and... Read more
Published 5 months ago by DG
5.0 out of 5 stars Really interesting book, that you will find continue to ...
Really interesting book, that you will find continue to play on your mind and open up new thoughts weeks after reading.
Published 6 months ago by A. Burt
2.0 out of 5 stars Rather poor fare
The book provides, haphazardly, some food for thought regarding the complacency of the Scottish 'establishment', though far from being the feast of revelation the author appears to... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Francis E.
1.0 out of 5 stars A Rambling Mess
Mr Hassan could have given Sir Walter Scott lessons in writing romantic Scottish prose. I studied History at Glasgow University, so I'm quite capable of following what he was... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mrs S D Howie
4.0 out of 5 stars fair and balanced
Relatively balanced and good explanation of historical shaping of politics and what the future ambition is.
Published 8 months ago by don mcg
3.0 out of 5 stars Nane the wiser!
Coming from a council house background and being the first person from my whole family to get to family to get to university - a true example of social mobility - you would think... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mr. A. G. Sutherland
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
really good. Informative and thought provoking. I like that Hassan sets out the facts in a clear understandable manner. Read more
Published 9 months ago by susan campbell
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous book
Great book. If you are interested in Scotland and the referendum then this is a good book to read. Highly recommend
Published 11 months ago by Shetland bookworm
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