Quite simply I believe that this book by Robson is the most scholarly contribution to studies of "the Border Surnames" that is available at the moment. The border surnames themselves are a very interesting phenomenon in English history and have been, relatively widely, written about. However, most books are not scholarly in any way and neglect historical fact substituting sensationalism instead and exploring the more depraved acts of these notorious reivers. Obviously these books can be exciting but are not really useful to the historian. This one is different. In this study Robson sticks to historical facts and takes his information from a wide range of sources, many of them primary, manuscript sources. This does not detract from the readability of the book which is also helped by its short chapters and good layout. One does not have to negotiate many pages to find the footnotes- they are at the end of every chapter and clearly done. Even though this book is a few years old it has not been superseded and is still THE BOOK for anyone studying the English Highland Clans known as the Border Surnames. Also this book does not really exclude the average reader with unnecessary theory- it is likely that anyone with a general interest in English, especially Northern, history may find something of interest in this book.
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