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Our Scots Noble Families [Paperback]

Tom Johnston , Brian D. Osborne , J.Ramsay Macdonald
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

6 Mar 1999
When Tom Johnston's book, Our Scots Noble Families, first appeared in 1909 it caused a sensation.
The man who was later to become wartime Scottish Secretary of State and first chairman of the North of Scotland Hydro Board revealed how many Scots landed families inherited privileges through lands taken by force or fraud. "The title-deeds are rapine, murder, massacre, cheating or Court harlotry," wrote Johnston.
"They (Scotland's landowning elite) scorned any principle of morality; they gambled and murdered and robbed and foisted numerous illegitimate lusts on the granaries of the common people."
Johnston claims that the Dukes of Hamilton, Scotland's premier peerage, owe their wealth to mining royalties to which they had no entitlement.
The Gordons of Barra, who evicted islanders in the potato famine of 1851 when the kelp industry failed and tried to offer the island to the government as a penal settlement, excited Johnston's wrath. "The first Barra Gordon appears to have been one of the most inhuman rascals that even Scottish Land history takes cognisance of. Beside him Nero was an innocent babe." Their namesakes in the North East were a "nest of public robbers."
And the Sutherlands, whose annual revenue from land in the north of Scotland and elsewhere even in 1874 was some £141,000, had a history of "cruel murders and blatant thievings".
Despite being banned by some booksellers, Our Scots Noble Families sold 120,000 copies.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Argyll Publishing; New edition edition (6 Mar 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1902831012
  • ISBN-13: 978-1902831015
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 13 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 286,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


A classic account of Scottish landowning issues. -- Scots Magazine

A thorough and impeccable examination of the land isuue -- West Highland Free Press

Book that rocked the nobles is back with a vengeance. -- Daily Mail

Lifted the lid on land ownership and aristocracy. -- Kirkintilloch Herald

What a polemic this is... -- The Herald

From the Publisher

Our Scots Noble Families was a celebrated rant in its day and historically very accurate. But there's hardly a copy of the original to be had anywhere now. Part of this is due to Johnston's own actions. When he achieved high office and was dealing on a daily basis with landowners, he recanted somewhat and was known to buy up second hand copies and destroy them. We felt the time was ripe for a new edition as it is very relevant to what is going on in Scotland today regarding land tenure.
This new edition has the original preface by Ramsay Madconald and a comprehensive new introduction by Brian D. Osborne bringing the land question and Tom Johnston's legacy right up to date.
This new edition is produced in the style of the original. Only minimal editing - mainly in inaccuracies - has been done. Some typesetting and spelling conventions may seem archaic and the reader should note, for example, that the older spelling of Dumbartonshire is used both by Tom Johnston and by Brian Osborne in his introduction. The form Dunbartonshire was introduced only after World War I

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5.0 out of 5 stars why am I not surprised 8 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
interesting reading for anyone wondering about Scottish history. They seem all to have started on the road to nobility by stealing land from rivals and the people. Remember Burns song which includes ' a parcel o' rogues in a nation'?
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