on 14 August 2012
History is always about context. This book takes this idea to the extreme, starting with the Romans, a good millennia and a half or so before the main topic of the book, and taking many detours around the politics of Europe throughout the intervening years. Perhaps this would be frustrating for some, and I admit to thinking the relevance of some of what I was reading to the union of the crowns, but as I said, it's all about context. And the journey is informative and seemingly well thought out, although I'll admit to my prior ignorance of many of the events and politics outlined. It works quite well as a general history, and attempting to understand the politics of Scotland, particularly in the era of Mary Queen of Scots.
As a broad history, it is obviously not intended for in depth analysis, and naturally much is glossed over or rushed. There certainly were times I was looking for more in depth explanation. However, my only real criticism is that for a book based on the union of the crowns, it does seem to fade towards the end, and its titled area of concern. It is less to do with the Union of the crowns, and more to do with the state forging. Which is fair enough, but made it different to the book I was expecting to read.
Overall it was a enjoyable read, well written, and seemingly well informed.