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Way of the Wanderers: The Story of Travellers in Scotland [Paperback]

Jess Smith
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 Sep 2012
TV programmes like My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, books like Gypsy Boy and the recent disturbances at Dale Farm have created enormous interest in the history and lifestyle of gypsies. Scottish gypsies, known as travellers, have wandered Scotland's roads and byways for centuries, and their turbulent history is captured in this passionate new book by Jess Smith, the bestselling author of Jessie's Journey. This is less a conventional history than a personal pilgrimage through the stories, songs and culture of a people for whom freedom is more important than security and a campfire under the stars is preferable to a warm hearth within stone walls. Settled society has always discriminated against travellers and Jess tells shocking stories of bullying, violence, the enforced break-up of families and separate schooling. But drawing on her own and her family's experiences, she also captures the magic and drama of days wandering the roads and working the land, and brings to life the travellers' rich and vibrant traditions.

Frequently Bought Together

Way of the Wanderers: The Story of Travellers in Scotland + Tears for a Tinker (Jessie's Journey) + Sookin' Berries
Price For All Three: £22.69

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Birlinn Ltd (6 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 178027078X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780270784
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 449,005 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Way of the Wanderers … should be taught in every school in the land . . . It is vigorous and vivid and feisty' --Dundee Courier & Advertiser

About the Author

Jess Smith was brought up as a traveller in Scotland and is the author of several books, including her autobiographical trilogy beginning with Jessie's Journey. She is married with three children and six grandchildren and lives in Perthshire. As well as being a charismatic singer and storyteller at events throughout the world, Jess is a tireless advocate for travellers and gypsies. In 2011 she secured an official apology from the Church of Scotland for the injustices and discrimination suffered by Scottish travellers over many centuries.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Way of the Wanderers 9 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
The long years of blood sweat and tears not to mention the intense research Jess Smith has put into this book is evident. She tells not only the history of her beloved travellers but a harrowing tale of centuries of bitter persecution against them; both secular and legal. Mixed in with the tragedy Jess manages to lift the reader and have them rolling with laughter at some of her folk tales or weeping a quiet tear at the sadder stories. I loved every line of this book and highly recommend it to any reader. My book Famines Harvest by Mary McKay is about my own Irish travelling family trying to survive in Scotland after fleeing Ireland during the catastrophic Potato Famine. A different book from Jess' but maybe readers who enjoyed the Way of the Wanderers would be interested in another travellers' story in a different style.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars absolute joy 22 Oct 2012
I have had the luck to have read Jess before and knew that I would enjoy this; her style is that of a story teller and she is one of a lost breed of orator/writer. Imagine sitting around a fire listening to these stories, about the ancient tribe of the Gypsies. I have known since being a little girl how important to our culture the Gypsy/Travelling people are, they are the lost tribe, and the last of those who can link us to our ancient history. I thoroughly recommend this book, for the tales and for the truth of the pedigree of the travelling folk. They deserve our respect yet are miserably vilified, that must be addressed and rectified and as soon as possible.

Thank you Jess Smith, for bringing the true story alive and for introducing the contemporary link which shows how ashamed we should be at having so let you down. Long live the Gypsy folk, their tales, their history and their continuation in the fabric of all nations.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Jess Smith 30 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Interesting insight to the travellers way of life, but a lot of the book was boring because there was too much history lessons in it, which was repeated over and over.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected 5 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I didn't finish reading this book. It was just TOO factual. Information I like, but I found it very "dry" and not what I had expected.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Good 21 Feb 2013
By carole
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am so sorry to say this as I am a big fan of books by Jess Smith, but I just couldnt get into it at all. It seemed very disjointed somehow and really struggled with it. Her other books which are full of life on the road and the culture of the people are well worth it, but sorry Jess not this one. Maybe its just me, others may enjoy it, sorry
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars her worst book 1 Jan 2013
By Emsii
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
i love all Jess smith's books and i was really excited to pre-order this. but what a come down. i was expecting juicy stories of life on the road and the ups and downs and tales just like all her other books which are excellent. i dont know how i finished reading this book. i wanted to give up before id got halfway. i found it very tedious and boring. she filled it with history. her take on history and not with real hard facts and evidence. yes..she threw in the odd tale but it was all bogged down with this war in 1400 and that war in 1500 and she spent the whole book trying to give her take that she as a gypsy originated from Egypt! hello? we all know the roma are the true gypsy and the irish and scot tinkers are travellers due to famine and clearances. she spent the whole book bogged down with her own so called historical facts with no real evidence. she has tried to show that she knows better than historians and professors who are well learned in thier field with years of factual study. if id known i was buying a book with a traveller's take on her trying to prove she came from Egypt and the book had very little tales and loads of boring dates and wars, i would never have bought this book. what a shame! as i loved all her books, the best being BRUAR'S REST..and that was a fiction, and that was the best. iv got all her books but this one is absolutely boring..its a history book but writtten by someone with no intellectual knowledge of history. If i could return this book, i would have, but i found i was out of the return date so total waste of my money and my time. i got so irritated trying to make myself finish the book. by the end i just did not like it.. boring boring. Jess, stick to writing fictions please, you did brilliant with Bruar's Rest. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars THE WAY OF THE WANDERES 19 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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5.0 out of 5 stars great read 30 Nov 2013
By elmo
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
this auther speaks from the heart..been there/done it.Sometimes very funny stories with a subliminal message attached.A book
which got me thinking how some folk can think so highly about themselves ,that it blots out to them the fact that others have
not as much..but can make the best of what they do have....and dont complain.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars great auther
I would recomend this book and writer to any one that would like to know
how hard life was backin the 50s for people that lived out in the country, whether is was a house or a... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Elizabeth Robinson
5.0 out of 5 stars good
Fast prompt deliery. Was a present for my mother who has most of Jess Smith books. She would recommend this bok
Published 12 months ago by Moira Robertson
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit too modern for me
Thought this was going to be about the old days, late 19th early 20th century, but it's mainly about 50' to today.
Published 13 months ago by Wjcox
5.0 out of 5 stars Another winner from Jess Smith
Having read all Jess's books to date I am not surprised that this one would be anything less than the others and it is not. Read more
Published 17 months ago by JayBrechin
4.0 out of 5 stars Arrived on time and brand new and a brilliant read
A great read that is very interesting and includes a lot of my local area so seems personal somehow. Very easy to read as it flows wells and leads you into the next story/fact. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Teri Gillan
5.0 out of 5 stars jess smith
just read the fourth one of this series and enjoyed every one , interesting read and the journey thought scotland
Published 19 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A good account of travelling life
Enjoyed this account of life as a traveller in Scotland. As a child we used to regularly see travellers with their "bendies" in the Perthshire and northern counties of... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Amazon Customer
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