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Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Light, racy and informative, 19 Oct. 2009
This review is from: The Reivers: The Story of the Border Reivers (Paperback)
Alaistair Moffat is here reprising ground covered by the great George MacDonald Fraser in his The Steel Bonnets: Story of the Anglo-Scottish Border Reivers.

The best tribute to Moffat is to say his work deserves to sit on the same shelf, but is very different. Moffat is unapologetic in being more journalistic: there are numerous boxed asides, definitions, comments and excursions. While these help, they are no alternative to a properly documented references. There is an index and a bibliography; but asserted facts are not footnoted and are not readily verifiable. The appendices are quirky: do we need thirty pages of reprinted ballads, all taken verbatim from Walter Scott's "Sir Walter Scott's Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border (V. 3)"? The thirty-odd photographs, two to an octavo page, are atmospheric, if more chocolate-boxy than illustrative. One will seek in vain for all the placenames mentioned on the prefatory map.

This is a "good read", popular history that does not tax the reader. It covers a fair bit of ground (no pun intended). In-depth historiography it is not; and does not pretend to be.
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Location: London, UK

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