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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important, thoughtful, challenging & hopeful-get this book!
Get this book. It's a very important contribution to anyone who is seriously thinking about the referendum on whether or not Scotland should be an independent state.

Gerry puts this event in the context of British and Scottish political history without getting too jargony or overly academic.

It take the so called debate away from the slanging...
Published 4 months ago by Joe Lafferty

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nane the wiser!
Coming from a council house background and being the first person from my whole family to get to family to get to university - a true example of social mobility - you would think I had the background and brains to understand this book. Unfortunately the cocktail of chip on shoulder, sociological and rarefied academic mumbo jumbo meant I didn't have a clue what Gerry was...
Published 6 days ago by Mr. A. G. Sutherland


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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important, thoughtful, challenging & hopeful-get this book!, 5 April 2014
By 
Joe Lafferty - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Get this book. It's a very important contribution to anyone who is seriously thinking about the referendum on whether or not Scotland should be an independent state.

Gerry puts this event in the context of British and Scottish political history without getting too jargony or overly academic.

It take the so called debate away from the slanging matches, the simplistic binary arguments, or the two different 'accountancy versions' of Scotland

As well as challenging the British state, he also critiques the myths we scots tell ourselves. For example on education. We may have no student fees, but we still have appalling educational inequality - and we have had responsibility for this since the 1800's!

This is a non partisan book that will upset elements of both the NO camp and the YES camp!
Even tho his critique hits the target, it is a hopeful book - his opening chapter speaks of the difference between hope and optimism - hope being much deeper. And he ends with ideas for a future Scotland crowdsourced from policy makers called 'how to make a new democracy'

No matter what the outcome in September, I want to be part of the group that seeks to capitalise on the positive energy generated by this event and help play my part in making a new democracy in Scotland. Gerry's book is an important contribution to this possibility.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for all interested in UK politics, 7 May 2014
By 
John G. Sturrock (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Caledonian Dreaming: The Quest for a Different Scotland (Open Scotland) (Kindle Edition)
This is a really important book. For anyone interested in gaining a real understanding of the dynamics behind the political developments in Scotland in the past generation and more, this is a rich and well-researched resource. The book challenges orthodoxies and received wisdom across the political spectrum, calling to account those on the left and the right who seem locked into old paradigms. More than this, though, Hassan presents a challenge to our thinking about democracy and poses questions which go to the heart of modern politics. A book for our time by one of the most thoughtful writers of our time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous book, 1 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Caledonian Dreaming: The Quest for a Different Scotland (Open Scotland) (Kindle Edition)
Great book. If you are interested in Scotland and the referendum then this is a good book to read. Highly recommend
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important guide to referendum issues, 8 May 2014
This review is from: Caledonian Dreaming: The Quest for a Different Scotland (Open Scotland) (Kindle Edition)
Most critical accounts of contemporary Scotland fall into two traps. One is to witter on about the dangers of nationalism without addressing the highly reactionary nature of British nationalism, which cuts across all Westminster parties, including Scottish Labour. The other is to respond to the barrage of propaganda by defending or even glorifying the SNP.

Hassan's account escapes both of these. It asks important questions about ingrained conservatism in large parts of Scottish society, and about our national egalitarian myths. These are welcome contributions to what's often a sterile and partisan debate. Anyone with an interest in the referendum's main conflicts will need to buy this book. While nobody will agree with everything in it, it's a positive step forward for mainstream ideas in Scotland.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read, 20 July 2014
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This review is from: Caledonian Dreaming: The Quest for a Different Scotland (Open Scotland) (Kindle Edition)
really good. Informative and thought provoking. I like that Hassan sets out the facts in a clear understandable manner. I would urge others to take the opportunity to read this book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scotlands Big Year - understand it past ,present and future, 2 May 2014
This review is from: Caledonian Dreaming: The Quest for a Different Scotland (Open Scotland) (Kindle Edition)
Gerry Hassan gets beyond the myopic fights for political power and exposes the limitations of that old way of doing politics. He shows how every opportunity for change - has potential to be an opportunity for visionary change or populist regression. Ultimately though he shines a light on Scotland's potential . If you want to fully understand what that is and what has to be overcome in order to move towards it read this excellent book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A vital book for those who want to really know Scotland, 5 May 2014
This review is from: Caledonian Dreaming: The Quest for a Different Scotland (Open Scotland) (Kindle Edition)
How do you understand the future without understanding the past? And how do you start to understand the past when both rose tinted glasses and blinkers are firmly and perhaps even deliberately in place?
In Australia there were allegations by a previous Prime Minister that those who sought an honest discussion of the country’s painful past – to raise awareness of the Stolen Generations and other atrocities inflicted on Indigenous people – were presenting a ‘black armband view of history’.
In contrast, what Gerry Hassan warns of might be called a ‘pocket carnation’ view of Scotland’s history and even present. His book Caledonian Dreaming is a warning of a dewy-eyed, somewhat romantic postcard picture of where we are and a distorted, even naive, explanation of why. It exposes the caricature of Scotland being held aloft and the inevitable realities and tensions being glossed over.
Any country that wants to be at peace with itself, to address its problems and to embrace a just and sustainable future must not only confront, but welcome the real story – the good, the bad, the ugly.
Contradictions are important. Divisions are illuminating. Recognising that there are winners and that there are losers will help take us into a more sophisticated and useful exploration of not only where we want to go, but how.
So Gerry Hassan’s Caledonian Dreaming is not just an important contribution to the debates about and beyond constitutional change. It is a wake up call to anyone who purports to know Scotland. It is a vital reading for anyone who wants to know Scotland.
He presents ‘six myths’ – including that Scotland is good at holding power to account; that it is at ease with diversity; and that Scotland is egalitarian. I only have to remember the words of someone who recently told me ‘you work for a charity, it is your job to worry about poverty – I don’t and so I don’t need to care’ to know that that latter one is as a distorted a picture of Scotland as that offered by Mel Gibson and the Loch Ness Monster.
And, as with any good read, there is are some tantalising gems left hanging. I’m left wanting more – not least to unpack just how deliberate this state of affairs is. Hassan uses words such as ‘excluded’, ‘incorporated’ and ‘constrained’. But I want to know are these simply unintended results, a de facto situation we have allowed ourselves to fall into? Or are we looking at a rather more orchestrated, consciously created picture? Who does it serve and why do the rest of us settle for light-touch explanations that not only obscure, but let us all off the hook?
I often say to people that ‘politics is the art of living together’. Hassan says we need a ‘critique of the limited politics and vision of what has passed for politics pre- and post-devolution’. He is, of course, right. But more than that, he might just as well be saying we need a critique how we live together, a critique of the limited nature in which we have looked after our most vulnerable and the lack of vision for how we could do so better.
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4.0 out of 5 stars fair and balanced, 20 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Caledonian Dreaming: The Quest for a Different Scotland (Open Scotland) (Kindle Edition)
Relatively balanced and good explanation of historical shaping of politics and what the future ambition is.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nane the wiser!, 16 Aug 2014
By 
Mr. A. G. Sutherland (Stonehaven, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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Coming from a council house background and being the first person from my whole family to get to family to get to university - a true example of social mobility - you would think I had the background and brains to understand this book. Unfortunately the cocktail of chip on shoulder, sociological and rarefied academic mumbo jumbo meant I didn't have a clue what Gerry was on about. Still worth a read to see what the alternatives are, though and to understand the entitlement and blame culture that is the real reason why Scotland is falling behind.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another 5 star Look at Scotland and Independence, 1 May 2014
By 
D. R. Sullivan (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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Hassan has once again turned his considerable intellect to looking at a Scotland. It is his always brilliantly illuminating way, he gives us all hope that there are those thinking of Scotland who live here and really experience her. It is a must read for those that have a keen in interest in Scotland and or who love it. Hopefully it will inspire all to love it.
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