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Salmond: Against The Odds [Kindle Edition]

David Torrance
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A masterful work with intricate research' - Dorothy-Grace Elder, Scottish Review 'Torrance is an industrious historian and an assiduous biographer' - The Herald Alex Salmond is well known in Scotland, the UK and beyond as the leader of the Scottish National Party and Scotland's First Minister, but relatively little is understood about Salmond as a human being, what makes him a Nationalist, what shaped his political views, and what sort of country he believes an independent Scotland can be. In this first biography, with which close colleagues and friends have co-operated, the acclaimed political biographer David Torrance turns his attention to perhaps one of the most capable and interesting politicians Scotland has produced in the last few decades. Utilising a raft of published and unpublished material, Torrance charts the life and career of Alex Salmond from his schooldays, his political activism at St Andrews University, his early career at the Royal Bank of Scotland, his election as the MP for Banff and Buchan and, in greater depth than ever before, his two spells as leader of the SNP and, from 2007, as First Minister of Scotland.

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'Torrance is a scrupulous, respectful biographer' --Harry Reid, Herald

'A very thorough and conscientious study' --Paul Henderson Scott

'Torrance's work is a classic' --Dorothy Grace Elder

'A very thorough and conscientious study' --Paul Henderson Scott

'Torrance's work is a classic' --Dorothy Grace Elder

About the Author

David Torrance was born and brought up in Edinburgh and educated at Leith Academy, Aberdeen University and Cardiff University's School of Journalism. He was formerly political reporter for STV and is now a freelance writer, journalist and broadcaster. He lives in Edinburgh.

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More About the Author

David Torrance was born and brought up in Edinburgh and educated at Leith Academy, the University of Aberdeen and Cardiff University's School of Journalism. He began his journalistic career on the Edinburgh Evening News as a reporter from 2000-01, covering general news, the local arts scene and Scottish politics. David then moved into television to present and produce The Week In Politics for Grampian and Scottish TV from 2001-03. When STV replaced that show with Politics Now at the beginning of 2004 he continued in place as its Scottish Parliament reporter, returning to the same programme in the autumn of 2007 after a year and a half working as Parliamentary Aide to the Shadow Scottish Secretary David Mundell in the House of Commons. He currently works as a London-based writer, journalist and broadcaster, regularly appearing on the BBC, Sky and STV, as well as supplying obituaries to the Herald and commentary for the Scotsman, The Times and several websites.

David's first book, The Scottish Secretaries, was published by Birlinn to critical acclaim in 2006; his second, George Younger: A Life Well Lived, followed in 2008, while his third, 'We in Scotland' - Thatcherism in a Cold Climate, was published in 2009. In 2010 David published an unauthorised biography of the Scottish First Minister, Salmond: Against the Odds (Birlinn, updated with a paperback edition in 2011), Noel Skelton and the Property-Owning Democracy (Biteback) and Inside Edinburgh: Discovering the Classic Interiors of Edinburgh (Birlinn). His latest books are Great Scottish Speeches (Luath), a semi-authorised biography of David Steel, Rising Hope to Elder Statesman, and an edited work on the Scottish Conservative Party - Whatever Happened to Tory Scotland? (Edinburgh University Press).

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review 29 July 2012
By IainWT
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book provides an interesting and illuminating context for the career of an apparently very private person holding a very public office. (Ironically he is more akin to Edward Heath than Harold Wilson?) The updated edition has two additional chapters which increase what originally must have been a fairly short account. One of these is now the first chapter and is slightly out of character with the rest of the book in that it is very much an account of the events of an election in which Mr. Salmond was the key player, rather than an account of a key event in the biography of Mr. Salmond. The other additional chapter is now the last chapter and also departs from the biographical approach of the main work but is David Torrance at his best : it is an analysis of the significance of that election and where it leaves Mr. Salmond.
You are left with a good idea of where Mr Salmond has come from and the experiences that have informed his thinking. It is definitely a worthwhile read. It is a pity that the proof reader was not more conscientious.
The title seems to have changed. I purchased it as "Against the Odds". My Kindle has converted it to "From Protest to Power".
(PS. I am no relation of David Torrance.)
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Requires a Second Edition 16 Jun. 2011
This is an excellent unauthorised biography of an unusual politician - namely one whom the public appear to like. It is well written, providing background on his childhood, the significant influence his grandfather had, his University life at St Andrews and his later (and still current) political career, shaping the Scottish National Party. Spanning as it does the period up to 2010, it requires a second edition to update the story, at least to capture the hugely significant May 2011 Scottish Parliament election result, which would then necessitate a re-appraisal of some of the observations in the final chapter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Political History of the SNP 23 Oct. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
As a newly politicised Scot, I was attracted to do some independent research about the SNP' s development as an organisation. I have never read any book about any kind of politics or politician before. I was spell-bound. Two and a half-days and two all night reading marathons later and the book is consumed. Very good on history of SNP policy development. Fascinating accounts of political manoeuvres and tantalizingly little about the psychology of the man himself - because he rightly retains his privacy. Useful counter balance to SNP website and skewed Scottish media coverage.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Biography 3 Feb. 2011
By Ann Y
This is a fascinating biography of Alex Salmond, the First Minister. Although I was born in the same town and, it turns out, in the same street, it was interesting for me to find out more about Alex's childhood and relationships, especially with his mother. I was very interested to read of his excellent singing voice when he was a child.

This Biography is a good mix of the private and the political, filling in many of the gaps in my knowledge of the struggle 'Against the Odds' - as it certainly was and still is. I have not completed the book as yet, but certainly look forward to doing so. I would recommend it to anyone interested in politics.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Less enigmatic. 19 Nov. 2010
By Dalgety
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a good, well-researched biography- particularly strong on Salmonds ancestry and his formative years.Although David Torrance is a Tory- his book is unbiased and he seems to rather like Salmond. At one or two points in the book , when long-forgotten internal SNP disputes from the seventies and eighties were gone through in detail -I felt my eyes beginning to glaze over.However, that is a small fault in an excellent political biography- which makes Scotlands enigmatic "First Minister" rather less enigmatic.
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14 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Salmond Surprise 22 Oct. 2010
By B. Watt
To the general public Alex Salmond can be an arrogant delusional fool but this book challenges that he seems to be a highly intellegent witty man and his politics aren't inspired by ignorance,hatred for the english and his ego but at the core is goodness because he believes that scotland can be better,it must be better and scotland must step up to the mark because it is only the confidence of the scottish people that holds scotland back.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 29 July 2015
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
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