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From the Alleghenies to the Hebrides: An Autobiography [Paperback]

Margaret Fay Shaw
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

12 Jun 2008
Margaret Fay Shaw's life spans a century of change. Leaving home and school in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia aged 16, she crossed to Scotland to spend a year at school near Glasgow. It was there that her love for Scotland was born. After studying music in New York and Paris, she returned to live for six years with two sisters in South Uist. Life on the island had changed little from previous centuries, and material comforts were few. But the island was rich in music and tradition, and Margaret Fay Shaw's collection of Gaelic lore and song are amongst the most important made this century, whilst her photography evocatively captures the aura of a vanished world. Her autobiography is the remarkable testament of a remarkable woman as well as a powerful plea in defence of a Gaelic culture and world under threat. It is written with a sharpness of observation, directness of humour and zest for life which make it a marvellous record of the twentieth century.

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From the Alleghenies to the Hebrides: An Autobiography + The Man Who Gave Away His Island: A Life of John Lorne Campbell of Canna
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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Birlinn Ltd (12 Jun 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841587702
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841587707
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 12.5 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 359,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'This autobiography is a miniature masterpiece. It is direct, straightforward, often funny, sometimes moving, never sentimental, always serving to evoke what was so valuable about ways of living, which in the last half century, have been set irretrievably aside.' - Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

Margaret Fay Shaw died on Canna in 2004 at the age of 101. She was one of the most notable collectors of authentic Scottish Gaelic song and traditions in the 20th century. Shaw was also an outstanding photographer, and both her still pictures and cinematography contributed to an invaluable archive of island life in the 1930s. She met the folklorist John Lorne Campbell on South Uist in 1934; they married a year later and together helped to rescue vast quantities of oral tradition from oblivion. Her autobiography has been almost continuously in print since its first publication in 1994.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Passionate and Inspiring Autobography 6 Oct 2012
By PhilM44
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a passionate and inspiring tale of an American woman in the 20th Century travelling to Scotland, meeting her husband and settling on the remote Scottish Island of Canna. When published the author was in her 90's but it is full of a zest for life. Read also Ray Perman's "The Man Who Gave Away His Island, A Life of John Lorne Campbell of Canna" to understand the life of Margaret's husband. It is an interesting comparison. The Man Who Gave Away His Island: A Life of John Lorne Campbell of Canna

Best book I have read in a long time.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Canna: Going Back In Time 9 Jan 2006
By Brian Groves - Published on Amazon.com
This is a wonderful book, from a wonderful woman. As my great aunt, our family enjoyed visiting her. Her book is a testament to her life, a I am amazed that she was able to live for so long. Even a few years before she died, she was blind, but was still able to play the piano beautifully. This book will amaze and surprise you. Enjoy reading it!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring story of grit and joy 12 Jun 2013
By J. Marilla - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I loved this story of a passionate and persistent woman, who was not derailed by life's challenges.
She followed her passion for music all the way to the Hebrides, where she felt so in tune with the music and the people that she moved there in her twenties -- and spent the rest of her life living, appreciating and documenting Gaelic culture.

Gives you a green light for living.
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