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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Devine History, 1 Aug. 2009
By 
David Manderson (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Scotland's Empire 1600-1815 (Paperback)
If you're Scottish or have Scottish ancestry, or even if you're just vaguely interested in the way the movements of ordinary people affect nations, this book is an essential part of the picture of who we all are. Neither jingoistic nor cynical, it explores the waves of emigration from Scotland that lapped out east and west from the 17th to the 19th centuries, and in doing so maps out millions of new stories, one for every person who left Scotland and settled elsewhere, while exploding several chest-beating myths along the way.

We might like to believe in the entrepreneurship, hardiness and heroism of the plucky ex-pat, but Devine is able always to cut through the mist of sentiment to the much more interesting facts. That Scots who had been cleared from their lands were probably more than competent at 'cleansing' new territories of their own indigenous tribes is one such piece of bad news. The long-term effects of the renowned Highland regiments, raised successfully only a few years after the '45, on their home-lands, and the possible ways in which Empire injected cash into industrialism at home, are similarly unpalatable items. Unlike other historians who present a much more one-sided picture, Devine never turns a blind eye to the dark side, or portrays Empire and the imperial project as something that Scotland only lost or gained from.

Devine's contribution to Scottish history would be weighty even without the political and social changes that have taken place already in Scotland and are continuing to gather pace, and he is justly acknowledged as Scotland's most eminent academic in his field. But, more than that, his work is helping to shape Scotland's own knowledge of itself as it moves from an uneasy partner within the Kingdom that is meant to be United, to something different. This book isn't just about the past but about the present and the future. Get hold of it if you want to be kept up to date.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Making the past a pleasure, 22 Sept. 2004
By 
H. W. Wright "bravegael" (Stirling United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Scotland's Empire 1600-1815 (Paperback)
Devine's abiblity to enthuse the reader comes to the fore in this book. He deftly takes you on a journey across the globe, as he skilfully and imaginatively recounts the role the Scots played in creating and expanding the British Empire.
This has to be one of the most readable histories on any bookshelf. It will appeal to both the serious scholar and historian, as well as to the general reader.
A definate "must" for every Christmas "wish list"
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Scotland's Empire 1600-1815
Scotland's Empire 1600-1815 by T M Devine (Paperback - 1 July 2004)
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