10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
The Amazing Story of the Highlands of Scotland,
This review is from: Song Of The Rolling Earth: A Highland Odyssey (Paperback)
This book is a hidden gem. Before reading it I noticed that on the back of the paperback that it's categorized as a "memoir". Thank goodness I didn't let that put me off - in my experience memoirs all too easily drift into dull and pompous self-aggrandizement. The genius of this book is that John Lister-Kaye uses his own personal experiences, his breadth and depth of knowledge and his lovely writing style to bring the extraordinary story of the Highlands of Scotland to life. It's a massive and often sad story, but the minutest details of the personalities, the wildlife and even the geology of the Highlands just jump off the page. Big insights are tucked away, for example the massive influence of the Victorian landowning classes "world view" on what we now believe to be classic Highland scenery. Thanks to the certainty with which they classed all creatures either as "game" to be treasured and preserved at all costs, or "vermin" to be reviled and obliterated, they produced "deserts" of heather-clad moorland, devoid of natural diversity. The history of human endeavour in this unforgiving landscape, the massive and turbulent geological story and the fascinating creatures who've adapted themselves to live here are all explored with knowledge and panache. This is so much more than a memoir, it should be required reading for all who care about the Highlands of Scotland, its people and its wildlife.