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How the Scots Invented the Modern World Hardcover – 1 May 2002

4.3 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Publications; 1 edition (1 May 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609606352
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609606353
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 3.2 x 23.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 400,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

" Finally we have a book that explains how the . . . Scots created the modern civilized values America and the Western world still uphold. This is a great book, one which is now even more relevant than ever." -- Michael Barone, "U.S. News & World Report," coauthor of" The Almanac of American Politics"
" Arthur Herman provides a convincing and compelling argument. . . . He is a natural writer, weaving philosophical concerns seamlessly through a historical narrative that romps along at a cracking pace." -- Irvine Welsh, "The Guardian
"
" Herman' s book tells an exciting story with gusto . . . its range and narrative verve make it an entertaining and illuminating read." -- "Sunday Times" (London)
" A skeptic could easily be converted by Herman' s deft presentation . . . this work sets a high academic standard yet is carefully leavened with colorful anecdotes."

"Finally we have a book that explains how the . . . Scots created the modern civilized values America and the Western world still uphold. This is a great book, one which is now even more relevant than ever."--Michael Barone, "U.S. News & World Report," coauthor of" The Almanac of American Politics"
"Arthur Herman provides a convincing and compelling argument. . . . He is a natural writer, weaving philosophical concerns seamlessly through a historical narrative that romps along at a cracking pace." --Irvine Welsh, "The Guardian
"
"Herman's book tells an exciting story with gusto . . . its range and narrative verve make it an entertaining and illuminating read." --"Sunday Times" (London)
"A skeptic could easily be converted by Herman's deft presentation . . . this work sets a high academic standard yet is carefully leavened with colorful anecdotes."

Finally we have a book that explains how the . . . Scots created the modern civilized values America and the Western world still uphold. This is a great book, one which is now even more relevant than ever. Michael Barone, "U.S. News & World Report," coauthor of" The Almanac of American Politics"
Arthur Herman provides a convincing and compelling argument. . . . He is a natural writer, weaving philosophical concerns seamlessly through a historical narrative that romps along at a cracking pace. Irvine Welsh, "The Guardian
"
Herman s book tells an exciting story with gusto . . . its range and narrative verve make it an entertaining and illuminating read. "Sunday Times" (London)
A skeptic could easily be converted by Herman s deft presentation . . . this work sets a high academic standard yet is carefully leavened with colorful anecdotes. " --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

ARTHUR HERMAN, author of The Idea of Decline in Western History and Joseph McCarthy: Reexamining the Life and Legacy of America s Most Hated Senator, received his doctorate in history at Johns Hopkins University. He is the coordinator of the Western Heritage Program at the Smithsonian Institution, an associate professor of history at George Mason University, and a consulting historical editor for Time-Life Books. He lives in Washington, D.C.

"From the Hardcover edition."" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As a Scots-American, I can relate to author Arthur Herman's outstanding in-depth review of what Scots in the past have contributed, and in fact still do,to the progress in every field of endeavor that affects the whole world. I see now only too clearly the shortcomings in information I experienced in 5 years of history classes in high school in Scotland - a course replete with inanities of dates, English royalty and the like. Herman tells it as it is and gives all the facts in a smooth transitional way covering many centuries of events. Makes me proud of my Scots heritage and I can recommend this book for all who want to know and understand the origins of Western freedoms and the impact that Scots have made in engineering, science, mathematics, religious beliefs, humanities et al.
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Format: Paperback
Reviewing Thomas Cahill's How the Irish Saved Civilization evoked a nagging question: "Why hasn't someone done this for the Scots?" Now, someone has, and a highly worthwhile read it is. Herman tears down a few misconceptions about the Scots as he rebuilds their image as original thinkers and practical achievers. Herman is not the first to consider John Knox as the taproot of the Scottish expression. Knox's Calvinist severity, however, often clouds the fact that the Scots severed from the Catholic church only a generation after Henry VIII achieved that for England. And they accomplished it without the power of a monarch. Herman sees Knox's thinking as planting seeds leading to a flowering of democratic ideals.
These ideals weren't lofty theoretical flights, however. In an excellent summary over two chapters, Herman outlines the Scottish Enlightenment and the men who created it. Unlike the Continental Enlightenment, the Scots version had a deep religious base. They sought their deity through rational investigation, searching for its expression rather than pushing it to a distance as did the Deists. These Scots saw "the proper study of mankind" as a practical question leading to social betterment. Education became a universal in Scotland at a time when most schooling remained under the cloak of religious authority.
Herman contends the Act of Union as of immense benefit to Scottish society at many levels. The chief result was the elimination of prejudicial economic policy. As long as they remained independent, the Scots were unable to compete with English mercantilists. While many Scottish nationalists see the Act of Union as a subversion of local values, Herman, along with many Scots, view it as providing new opportunities.
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Format: Hardcover
Most books I've attempted to read on Scottish history were marred by either a dull academic style or an over-romantic view of half truths. We finally have a book without all this baggage. Written by an American gives us a unique independant perspective on Scottish achievement, shedding light on the great Scots that shaped modern history. Herman does an excellent job laying out his views on controversial subjects such as the Act of Union in 1707 as a masterstroke for the Scots or the divided opinion to Bonnie Prince Charlie's '45 rebellion.
This should serve as addictive reading for anyone with a keen interest in Scotland.
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Format: Hardcover
This book should be required reading for all MSPs, Scottish schools, and anyone who wears a kilt in Scotland (the symbol of servitude). I would also include anyone who thinks that Sir Water Scott provided a sound basis for Scottish representation and development

For those in Scotland who have lost all sense of Civic pride in their community.
From visits and from articles in the Scottish Review on the web, lack of civic pride and real community extends the length and breadth of the country for all the guff spoken at Burns nights and the 'whose like us' blather who view anyone outside theri own kail patch as a foreigner.
Unlike their forebears in too many places with drugs, graffitti, lack of true self awareness and the loss of trying to better their selves who would want to be like them?

This book has been around for some years but apparently not enough for anyone in England who says if Scotland wants independence let them have it.
As this book indicates it will be a dark day for England and for Britain as a whole if this were to happen.
Britain will once more be just another little spot on the map of the world.
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Format: Hardcover
For any Scotsman (like me), this must prove an enthralling read. The idea of the 'Scotsman on the make' is well established, but imagine what it does to our fluttering national ego to learn that this same 'Scotsman on the make' was actually MAKING the whole modern world and everything in it!!! Heady stuff!
But, actually, this is a false pleasure. A similar case could be made for just about every major European country and a few minor ones (Holland, Portugal, and Greece). This makes me wonder about the whole point of having such a book. The writer is apparently an American academic, and with a name like Herman we can't suppose he is one of our long lost clansmen whose ancestors were exiled to the wild and barren New World after 'coming out' in the '45.
I therefore suspect the author is being a little manipulative. By overstating his case, raising a few hackles, and puffing up the pride of a little nation that is more susceptible to this kind of pat on the back than most, he knows he's going to shift some books. Maybe he even intends to do a whole series, working his way down to the Baltic States or Iceland. Or maybe he's just trying to ride the Braveheart phenomenon.
But remember Scottish Greatness - like the greatness of any European country - didn't occur in a vacuum. Herman recognizes this by concentrating on the 18th and 19th centuries when Scotland had entwined its fate with that of its large neighbour to the South.
Rather than stirring up petty, parochial, 'down-with-England' nationalism, therefore, the achievements catalogued in this book should remind readers how beneficial to Scottish greatness the Union with England was. This, more than anything, gave Scotland the stage that its recent upsurge in petty nationalism threatens to take away.
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