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The Thistle and the Rose: Six Centuries of Love and Hate Between the Scots and the English [Paperback]

Allan Massie

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Book Description

10 Aug 2006
A complex interplay of rivalry, collusion, affection and hostility has been central to the relationship between Scotland and England since the first attempt at dynastic union - 'the Rough Wooing' - between Margaret Tudor and James IV. James VI of Scotland and their great-grandson, James I of England, finally brought the nations together under a single monarch. A hundred years later, in 1707, the Treaty of Union linked their destinies - until the recent loosening of ties after the Scots opted for devolution.

Peopled with some of the greatest figures of the political, literary and scientific worlds, The Thistle and the Rose reveals how the two nations have been mutually influential. It also questions whether their historic and powerful union can survive.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray; New edition edition (10 Aug 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719565960
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719565960
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 19.8 x 2.1 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 889,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


'Allan Massie, practically without peer as a novelist and commentator, has been the most articulate and interesting of unionists by a mile . . . Impressive . . . Few commentators have Massie's sense of history, and none is so assured when debunking myths . . . Excellent . . . The book feels timely . . . the importance of this book is that it sets out what needs to be considered'

(Irvine Welsh, Mail on Sunday 2005-09-18)

'[Massie writes] with the gentle elegance of a novelist who has pondered deeply on human nature in general as well as Scottish conundrums in particular . . . Massie, as we'd expect, writes very acutely . . . I'd be happy to see our Scottish Executive present The Thistle and the Rose to every fourth-former in the country'

(Angus Calder, Scottish Review of Books 2005-07-03)

'An idiosyncratic overview of cross-border relations . . . Massie is every inch the ideal writer. Self-deprecating, prolific, well-known as a columnist and political observer . . . he writes somewhat mischievously . . . a highly personal response . . . it's hard to imagine anyone more at home musing on the two-way traffic across Britain's northern borderlands'

(Glasgow Herald 2005-07-16)

'This excellent book is good-tempered and reasonable throughout . . . highly original . . . I enjoyed Massie's book, and learned from it . . . [He] gives us a great deal to chew over'

(Literary Review 2005-08-01)

'One of Scotland's finest and most consistent writers . . . [An] intriguing, elegant piece of work . . . As ever, Massie's prose slips down effortlessly while he maintains a constant stream of provocative, ingenious ideas'

(Observer 2005-08-07)

'Infuriatingly reasonable. He wittily debunks the myths of Scottishness . . . It is difficult to find fault with such a sensible and erudite writer'

(Sunday Telegraph 2005-08-07)


(Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Telgraph 2005-12-03)

'For the reasons, whitever ye ar, ye'll no can pit this buik doun!'

(Lallans, Ware 2006-01-01)

'[An] impressively informed and admirably un-black-and-white account of the two nations over the last 500 years'

(The Observer 2006-08-20)

 'Allan Massie beguiles us through six centuries of love and hate between the English and the Scots'

(Nicholas Bagnall, Sunday Telegraph 2006-08-20)

'Massie's common sense, sadly, just isn't that common... his insights and perspective make this essential reading for anyone concerned with the nature and direction of the union. A second reason to read it is Massie's poised and near perfect prose. You may not agree with what he says, but you have to admire how beautifully he says it'

(Ross Leckie, The Times 2006-08-19)

From the Author

In 2007 it will be 300 years since the Treaty of Union. The independent sovereign states of England and Scotland (already sharing a monarch since James VI of Scots became also King of England in 1603) now disappeared, and we all became British. Yet we remained also English and Scots. My book examines the nature and meaning of Britishness, the complex relations between the peoples of this island, the differences that divide us and the bonds which unite. To what extent was Scotland anglicised and England scottified? Are we who we think we are? Is nationality within the United Kingdom a matter of choice? Will the political union continue, and, if it doesn’t, what sort of social union, created by three centuries of common British experience, will survive? --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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