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A Dance Called America: The Scottish Highlands, The United States and Canada

A Dance Called America: The Scottish Highlands, The United States and Canada [Kindle Edition]

James Hunter
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"A book that should be read by everyone of Highland descent and by any Scot who has more than a passing interest in his or her sense of nationality" (The Herald)

"The definitive story of the Highland impact on the New World" (Scotland Magazine)

"Meticulously researched, these wonderfully evocative studies of bygone eras make fascinating reading for anyone with an interest in Scotland's evolution" (Daily Record)

Product Description

A new dance is devised on the Isle of Skye in the eighteenth century. An exhilarating dance. A dance, one visitor reports, that 'the emigration from Skye has occasioned'. The visitor asks for the dance's name. 'They call it America,' he is told.

Now James Hunter, one of Scotland's leading historians, provides the first comprehensive account of what happened to the thousands of people who, over the last 300 years, left Skye and other parts of the Scottish Highlands to make new lives in the United States and Canada.

The product both of painstaking research and extensive travels in North America, this is the definitive story of the Highland impact on the New World, the story of how soldiers, explorers, guerrilla fighters, fur traders, lumberjacks and pioneer settlers from the north of Scotland found, on the other side of the Atlantic, freedoms and opportunities denied to them at home.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 619 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Mainstream Digital (30 Sep 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006C4AN1O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #259,741 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Although I am English, I have always had an affinity with Scotland and an interest in its history. When I was a child I spent many holidays there and always had a feeling that there was an emptiness about the country but I did not know why. It was only when I got into my 20s that the reason began to dawn on me.
I also have an affinity with the USA and Canada having spent time in Alberta, BC and the Pacific North West.
This book interweaves the social history of Scotland and North America in a fascinating and readable way. In particular it puts the bare facts of Canadian history into a human context.
It is about the Scottish Highlanders who left their land and homes, voluntarily at first and later by force and settled in North America. It is also about heroism, tragedy and greed.
In most cases they made a better life and some of the men went on to shape the country itself. What kind of men were Alexander Mackenzie and Simon Fraser who came from small villages in the wilds of Scotland but were prepared to disappear into unmapped and unknown wilderness without any modern medical or navigation equipment? Their heroism is uplifting. So too the story of John Macdonald, whose drive and vision led him to become the father of modern Canada despite his love of the bottle and some dodgy business dealings.
This book is also the story of human tragedy and greed. The story of the Kildonan people is typical. They were forcibly evicted from their land and homes in Kildonan in Sutherland and packed off like so many head of cattle and led via Hudsons Bay to a settlement on the Red River near Winnipeg. There are also stories of other clearances and whole families carried in leaky, smelly timber ships rife with disease.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dance Called America 19 Mar 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you only buy one book about the history of the Highlands, the clearances and emigration to the new world make this your first choice. Dr Hunter writes with a style that takes you back to the time of 1600 to the late 1800's. He explains the life style, the hardships of the common highlander with reference to the conditions of transportation in "Hulks" to the "New World", how many died either in passage or when arriving. He also explains how many made the new world a better place not only for themselves but for Canada and the US. If you have links to the Higlands of Scotland or you are a Highlander this will open up the way that Highlanders suffered and prospered, how they fought adversity and global changes during their pat of history. If you buy it you will not be able to put it down it is compulsive reading.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Dance Called America 6 Aug 2005
Well, you know what it's like you stand in the airport shop looking at the rack of books, will I buy this one or that one?
But this book just jumped out at me, just the ticket for a long flight.
If, like me, your are Scottish or have some Scottish blood - and very proud of the fact. This is a must read! Like most people I thought our history was pretty cut and dried, but all these myths are soon dispelled. Of course it's about Scotland and America, just as it says on the tin!!
Thanks for reading.
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