FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10.
Only 3 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
The Crofter and the Laird has been added to your Basket
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by bookdonors
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Shipped from the UK. EX-LIBRARY. Paperback reflecting used condition. Friendly customer service. We are a not-for-profit Social Enterprise trading in used books to help people, charities and the environment.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Crofter and the Laird Paperback – 28 Mar 1998


See all 11 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
£8.99
£8.99 £0.01
£8.99 FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Only 3 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.


Product details

  • Paperback: 170 pages
  • Publisher: House of Lochar; New edition edition (28 Mar. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1899863249
  • ISBN-13: 978-1899863242
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 21.5 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 426,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Review

"Quite astonishing. And even the Gaelic names are spelt correctly. The book is in many ways unusually frank and the portraits incisive.... neither sentimental nor judgmental, but clear-cut and sensible." -- Iain Crichton-Smith

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

"...The first Lord Strathcona's only child was a daughter, and through something called a "special remainder", cordially dispensed by the Crown, permission was granted that his title pass to her. Thus the second Baron was a woman. Her husband, R J B Howard, was a Canadian physician. Their grandson Euan Howard is the Fourth Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal, and Colonsay's present laird.

"The laird, with his legs stretched out, is sitting, sipping whisky, on a low bench before a log fire at Colonsay House in late evening, his wife beside him. He has been considering, with only signs of emotion, the fact that he is the least popular man on the island that he owns. He accepts this as inevitable, if not pleasant. He is sorry, but he cannot accept the anachronism he stepped into when he became laird in 1959. It is an odd summer place indeed that includes a hundred and thirty-eight dependant people. Embalmed in law, the crofting system of the Highlands is borne forward ever more incongruously toward the twenty-first century, perfectly protecting people from the terrors of the eighteenth century while isolating them from the twentieth...." from pp 123-4


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
2
4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See both customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By gjplace@yahoo.com on 11 Feb. 2001
Format: Paperback
This is an interesting book covering the time an American writer returned to his family roots on an Hebridean Island. Some fantastic tales and descriptions which kept me reading throughout.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By gjplace@yahoo.com on 11 Feb. 2001
Format: Paperback
This is an interesting book covering the time an American writer returned to his family roots on an Hebridean Island. Some fantastic tales and descriptions which kept me reading throughout.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 27 reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful, emotionally written 14 May 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book deals with McPhee's return to his roots: two small islands of the inner Hebrides in Scotland. You do not have to be Scottish to be captured by the author's personal emotions during this visit. They are beautifully blended in with factual information on the history of this part of Scotland and on the harshness of life on these islands. McPhee always manages to weave a personal thread through his books. For example, in "Rising from the Plains" he uses the family history of the main character (David Love) to personalize this documentary on the geology of Wyoming. Particularly captivating is the conclusion of the book where Love returns to his now dilapidated parental homestead. What makes "Crofter and the Laird" even more interesting is the fact that McPhee now writes about his own emotions. I was particularly touched by the chapter where he describes a walk to the ruins of an old priory. It is hard not to identify yourself with the author. Simple black-and white pen-drawn illustrations certainly contribute to the depth and authenticity of this book. I am invariably awestruck by the variety of subjects in McPhee's books, but this one certainly is one of my favourites.
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Excellent early McPhee 23 April 2002
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The finely detailed observations and vivid turn-of-words which we have come to know so well from McPhee's books on North America and its geological history, is applied here with great skill in this look at the tiny Scottish island of Colonsay and its inhabitants. The small population of under 150 people can trace ancestry to two castes or clans. Most are crofters or farmers. Some are true islanders with family roots going back hundreds of years; others are "incomers". It's not a derogatory term but simply another social distinction. Then there's THE CROFTER AND THE LAIRD. McPhee offers a distillation of this social concoction. "The usual frictions, gossip, and intense social espionage that characterize life in a small town are so grandly magnified...everyone is many things to everyone else, and is encountered daily in a dozen guises. Enmeshed together, the people of the island become one another. Friend and enemy dwell in the same skin."
McPhee deals with his usual areas of interest such as the environmental past of the island, but its the people that fascinate him. Here it's also a little closer to home as Colonsay is the home of McPhee's ancestors. The book is as much a narrative of the strife torn history of clans as it is one Americans' exploration of the "sentimental myth" that he attaches to his Scottish surname. McPhee quickly sees that, rather than myth, the clan is as real to Scots as it ever was. This is only amplified in a feudal and cloistered social setting such as on Colonsay.
The McPhee's (or Macafee, MacPhee, Macheffie, or MacDuffie, as the various septs are known) are part of the ancient clan MacFie. They're Celtic, and the Gaelic origin of the name means "son of the Dark Fairy or Elf". Such fairy-tale-like legends seem incongruous when set against the treacherous and bloody reality of clan history. The McPhee's are a "broken clan", the last chieftan was murdered by the MacDonald's in the 17th century. The MacDonald's however got their comeuppance in the way of the clans. A group of MacDonald's were butchered in their sleep by the Campbell's of Argyll in the Glencoe Massacre of 1692.
And just to show that clan history dies very hard, many Scots, even until today, when pressed just a little bit can usually find something uncharitable to say about my Campbell clan. Time and geographical distance may make the clans of only historical interest to McPhee, myself, and other North Americans with Scots ancestors. In Scotland it's a lot more real and present, and this wonderful book gives us a slice of that life.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A simple view of old Scottish life first hand 14 Nov. 2007
By Shawn Marchinek - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this book. It was refreshing and light but great in detail. John McPhee explains his move from the U.S. with his wife and 4 daughters back to his Great Grandfather's ancestral home on the island of Colonsay in the Hebrides of Scotland. The population is around 150 and he learns all about the small town life in a feudal environment. McPhee talks about everything from farmers, crofters, and general laborers and their daily lives on the island. He also shifts from what he sees and experiences with first person gossip and comments from the islanders to stories and legends from the island's and his clan's past.

All the islanders talk of the Laird Strathcona who owns everything. Then John meets him and sees he is just a minor peer in the Scottish Court and more of a landlord trying to bring the island of Colonsay a little out of the past. The book is lightly sprinkled with simple sketches of the island which brings everything together.

A really enjoyable read for anyone with Scottish roots or just interested in Scottish life and history. Not everyone is descended from Scottish Kings and famous knights. Most of us are of the poorer stock like those portrayed in this book. I am even more proud of them now.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
John McPhee Gave Away Secrets 3 Jun. 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
My family also originates on Colonsay, and we go back to visit occasionally. We were asked if we were related to John McPhee, because our name is McAfee. We were told that it was a good thing we weren't, because John had given away more secrets than the islanders thought wise. They told us that if he ever returned he would not make it off the ferry onto the dock. This is a great book and should be read and appreciated by all.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Small Celtic Gem.... 12 Dec. 2007
By D.S.Thurlow - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
1970's "The Crofter and the Laird" is John McPhee's graceful account of an extended stay on the Scottish island of Colonsay, ancestral home to his clan and a living fragment of an almost feudal lifestyle in the 20th Century.

Author John McPhee is rightly known for his keen observation, his simple but highly descriptive prose, and his ability to capture a sense of place. These skills are very evident in his clear-eyed yet sympathetic narrative of a vanishing culture in the Hebrides. The residents work small crofts, or rented farms, for a thin but apparently rewarding living in the solitude of a remote and beautiful island. The laird, owner of the island, lives in England but visits every summer. The crofters and the laird are enmeshed in an ancient legal tradition of mutual obligation, an anachronism which neither party was quite yet prepared to give up when McPhee stayed on Colonsay.

Colonsay's culture sits on a couple of millennia of history contributed by Picts, Celts, Scots, Vikings, and others. Some of the best parts of McPhee's narrative are his observations of the ancient remnants, such as ruined chapels, and the myths, stories, and customs forwarded by the islanders. Every physical feature on the island seems to have a name and a story.

The center of McPhee's narrative is his host on the island, one Donald McNeill, who pursues a variety of vocations to feed his family and make a living, and who provides insight into a close-knit society that regards "incomers" with some suspicion. McNeill is entirely comfortable in his life, appreciative of his family's long continuity on the island, yet honest about the hard work required by what is nearly subsistance living.

This book is highly recommended as a fascinating and enjoyable read on a small fragment of a vanishing island culture in a place time seemed almost to have forgotten.
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know


Feedback