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Customer Review

145 of 153 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Joy to Read!, 10 Nov. 2009
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This review is from: A History Of Scotland (Hardcover)
I understand that there is some disagreement in academic circles about the quality of the BBC series with which this book is associated. I don't wish to comment on that, but I would like to say that there are some people who are in the top rank of those who have a gift for producing extremely readable writing - and Neil Oliver is one of them. I only bought his book a couple of days ago, and am already almost half-way through what is virtually un-put-downable. He has a gift for clarity, for just enough detail which is invariably fascinating, for presenting the essence of what one needs to know, and for making clear how all the material as it is introduced hangs together with what has already been, and what is yet to be. His account is well-balanced, so that there are no shining heroes or black villains, but flesh and blood people engaged in a common struggle for prestige and power, as well as for peace and freedom. He is clearly in love with, and in command of, his subject, and communicates this to his readers on every page. I don't know if his history is one hundred per cent accurate - and what history ever is? - but I do take the view that his book is 'a cracker'. Buy one for Christmas, and you'll discover that it's not just for Christmas, but for reading and re-reading throughout many a year to come. My thanks to Neil Oliver for one of my best 'reads' of 2009.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 18 Nov 2009 14:03:37 GMT
High praise indeed - thanks for your helpful review. I think it's important (for me, at any rate!) that a history book is 'readable': perhaps too many previous books have been a bit scholarly or heavy, and therefore are harder to get into or simply don't hold the reader's attention for long. I'll certainly give this one a try.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Mar 2010 02:20:05 GMT
Last edited by the author on 8 Mar 2010 02:21:35 GMT
A. Smith says:
Yes, high praise indeed considering this reviewer has given the book 5 stars when he (or she) is quote - 'almost half way through'.
I have no doubt that the reviewer will find the other two thirds of the book just as enjoyable but perhaps he (or she) should have waited until he (or she) had actually finished the book before writing a review. At the very least it's only common courtesy to those of us trying to make an informed decision on whether or not to buy it.
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