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Scotland: The Story of a Nation [Paperback]

Magnus Magnusson
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
Price: 16.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

5 Nov 2001

A timely and vivid look at Scotland’s long and difficult road to nationhood, re-exploring some cherished myths and unearthing a wealth of fascinating new detail.

Magnus Magnusson’s starting point is Sir Walter Scott’s classic version of Scotland’s history, ‘Tales of a Grandfather’ (1827-29), which has moulded the views of generations of Scottish schoolchildren. Like Scott, Magnus Magnusson is a master story teller. In investigating the many questions raised by the nation’s turbulent and often poignant past, he gives full weight to the living treasure of local legends and tradition which he believes has as much resonance as academic analysis.

Where did the ‘Scots’ come from? What is the truth about such historical figures as Macbeth, William Wallace and Robert Bruce? What was the significance of the tragic reign of Mary Queen of Scots? What was the impact of Bonnie Prince Charlie and his brutal defeat at Culloden?

Incorporating the findings of many leading modern historians, ‘Scotland: The Story of a Nation’ casts the nation’s history in a fascinating new light. It is essential reading for anyone with an interest in Scotland at this pivotal moment in its history.


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Scotland: The Story of a Nation + A History Of Scotland + A History of Scotland [DVD]
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Product details

  • Paperback: 752 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; New Ed edition (5 Nov 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006531911
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006531913
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Back Cover

Magnus Magnusson's timely and vivid look at Scotland's long a difficult road to nationhood takes as its starting-point Sir Walter Scott's 'Tales of a Grandfather', which has moulded the views of generations of Scottish schoolchildren since its first appearance in 1827-29.

Like Scott, Magnus Magnusson is a master story-teller, who investigates such questions as: Where did the 'Scots' come from? What happened to the Picts? What is the truth about such historical figures a Macbeth, William Wallace and Robert Bruce? What was the significance of the tragic reign of Mary Queen of Scots? Who were the Covenanters? What lay behind the Massacre of Glencoe? What were the long-term effects of the 1707 Treaty of Union with England? What was the impact of 'Bonnie Prince Charlie' and his brutal defeat at Culloden?

In his journey through Scotland's past, the author has visited many of the places which have shaped its history and takes account of all the latest historical research.

'Magnus Magnusson tells his story with vigour and lucidity… he sets himself to put the romance back into history, and succeeds splendidly, His account of the wars of independence is admirably gripping'
ALLAN MASSIE, 'Spectator'

'A very readable, traditional history told as a tale from its beginnings up to now… offering hundreds of well-chosen photographs and reproductions.'
NEAL ASCHERSON, 'Observer'

'Mr Magnusson has distilled the past to give us a romp through history that is as gripping as – but far more accurate than – any Hollywood blockbuster.'
SUNDAY EXPRESS

About the Author

Magnus Magnusson KBE is an Icelandic national who has spent most of his life in Scotland. After studying English at Oxford, he joined the Scottish Daily Express in 1953, and the Scotsman in 1961 as Assistant Editor. Since 1967 he has been a freelance writer and broadcaster, specialising in history, archaeology and environmental affairs. He has presented many programmes on BBC TV, including Chronicle (1967–80), Mastermind (1972–97), and a twelve-part series on Vikings! (1980). He has published more than twenty books. In 1989 he was awarded an honorary knighthood for his services to the heritage of Scotland. He was chairman of the Ancient Monuments Board for Scotland (1981–89) and of Scottish Natural Heritage (1992–99).


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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
50 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bringing History to Life 5 Mar 2002
As one who has read little else but novels over the years, I would never have thought of reading a history book from cover to cover but something made me want to find out more about all those bits of Scottish history I knew precious little about...the Covenanters, James VI, and all that.
I have been transfixed since I took up Magnusson's tome. It's a fascinating and thoroughly readable journey through Scotland's history. The savagery, intrigue and instability of the centuries is marvellously recorded here and a measured analysis of each monarch's place in history is provided...
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it, thoroughly researched and detailed 21 April 2002
By A Customer
Verified Purchase
I was given this book as a xmas present and read it avidly particularly the era of the wars of independence around 1300. The one thing that surprises me is that scotland was able to remain a nation independent of the english for so long after we suffered defeat and defeat at the hands of the english. back to the book and it is worth buying if you are interested in or ,know nothing about scottish history.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Verified Purchase
Magnus has produced a very engaging book with the minimum of the usual long dry passages full of names and dates that make similarly ambitious books on this topic so dry. Fairly balanced, with varying viewpoints on the major figures in Scotland's history. Not overtly nationalistic or political, Magnus effectively conveys his obvious enthusiasm for the subject
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very readable history of Scotland 16 Aug 2010
By nimac
This book is an excellent choice for those interested in finding out more about Scottish history, but who wouldn't normally want to pick up a history book. Based on 'Tales of a Grandfather' by Sir Walter Scott, Magnusson expands on the Scottish author's narrative, using research from a variety of sources. Be aware that, like Scott's book, this history 'ends' after the 1745 uprising, then picks up again on the moves leading to the creation of today's Scottish Parliament. There is nothing more than an allusion to the Highland Clearances, for example. Other than that, the book is excellent in content and easy to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very readable 9 April 2010
By Reader
Mangusson writes a very vivid account of the Scottish history, which - notwithstanding the immense volume of the book- is highly readable. From the early beginnings with Picts vs. Romans, through the turbulent centuries of fighting against their Southern neighbours, until the common history in the United Kingdom, the author tells about the main players of Scotland's history more than about its social history (which makes it easier to read). His bias and sympathy for the Scotsmen (vs. Englishmen) always remains obvious, alas, in the end it didn't help and they were unified.(Anyway, as an innocent bystander I don't know whether Scotland should really go again on its own.)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Magnus indeed !! 1 Mar 2014
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Super summation of our history written by a gentleman who had a finger in many pies and therefore had a very broad knowledge of Scotland.

I loved the way he was able to relate historic events to the modern places in which they took place. For example his discriptions of the the battle of the clans on Perth's North Inch and his explaination that the location of Greyfriers Monastry where James I often stayed and was assasinated as being underneath the modern day Carpenters Court (a Shelter Housing Block). It really helps ones understanding of history to be able to see that we walk in the footsteps of our ancestors.

A nice easy read for anyone looking for comfortable stroll through our history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent service from Awesome Books 21 Feb 2014
By cerrig
Verified Purchase
This is a review of the bookseller's service. The used copy I ordered was described as "very good." It was delivered very promptly, but is a shabby old coppy, scuffed and creased. I was about to give it a grumpy review, but decided to contact the seller first, as we're asked to do. Excellent and prompt response to my grumble, better copy on the way. Can't say fairer than that. Book looks good too, in the good old-fashioned narrative history mode, but I have yet to get into it properly.
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