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The Invisible Spirit: A Life of Post-War Scotland 1945-75 Hardcover – 23 Oct 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: ICS Books; 1st edition (23 Oct. 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 0954652789
  • ISBN-13: 978-0954652784
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 4.8 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 597,135 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'So good I could all but not put it down: every home should have one' --Candia McWilliam, Books of the Year, Scotsman

'The most remarkable book on Scotland I have ever read' --Ian Hamilton, QC

'Something that needed to be written' - David Kynaston, Books of the Year, Guardian

'A masterpiece, and an entertaining one at that' - Catherine Czerkawska, Books of the Year, wordarts

'A spellbinding read. Walking through history with an expert guide' --Lord Robertson of Port Ellen

'The most remarkable book on Scotland I have ever read' --Ian Hamilton, QC

'Something that needed to be written' - David Kynaston, Books of the Year, Guardian

'A masterpiece, and an entertaining one at that' - Catherine Czerkawska, Books of the Year, wordarts

'A spellbinding read. Walking through history with an expert guide' --Lord Robertson of Port Ellen

'The most remarkable book on Scotland I have ever read' --Ian Hamilton, QC

'Something that needed to be written' - David Kynaston, Books of the Year, Guardian

'A masterpiece, and an entertaining one at that' - Catherine Czerkawska, Books of the Year, wordarts

'A spellbinding read. Walking through history with an expert guide' --Lord Robertson of Port Ellen --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Kenneth Roy was born in 1945, the starting point for this book. A former news and current affairs anchorman with the BBC, he founded the Scottish Review magazine in 1995, the Institute of Contemporary Scotland in 2000 and the Young Scotland Programme in 2002.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a big book, physically and intellectually,and a very important book too - but rest assured that it is an incredibly easy read. This is mostly because Kenneth Roy's prose is so clear and so elegant. Above all, it's a book that tackles complex and difficult subjects in an accessible and thought-provoking way. Every chapter stays in your mind and makes you think. The subject matter may be serious, the analysis incisive, but it is also laugh-out-loud funny at times, mostly because Kenneth Roy can see a devastating humour in the most grim situations. He has a sharp and deadly wit and a very fine sense of the ridiculous. Ridicule may well be the best weapon against so much of the material contained within these pages. As the writer points out in his final chapter, 'the reason for re-assembling some of the more deplorable features of Scottish public life is not only to expose...the poor quality of so much of it. It is to make the general...point that the people of Scotland were on the whole badly served by their masters - and by what passed for a free press.'
I lived in Scotland through a significant number of these years and I can vouch for the essential truth of this account, although it is a salutary experience to read it all of a piece like this.
This is a sad and worrying book. Worrying because by the end, you are forced to the conclusion that pretty much anyone who aspires to be a politician, or even to play a significant part in public life, perhaps anyone who craves power, may well be constitutionally unsuited to the role: sic a parcel of rogues indeed.
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Format: Hardcover
There has been a great deal of discussion in recent weeks surrounding Michael Gove's views on what books should be excluded from and included in our children's education. Well, as far as Scotland's children are concerned, Kenneth Roy's book should be added to their reading list of contemporary Scottish history. This book was illuminating, shocking, warm, witty and wonderfully written. For anyone who has not made their mind up about the Independence Referendum they could do no better than curl up with The Invisible Spirit and make sure their vote is placed with a full understanding of how Scotland got to where it is today. The range and diversity of Scottish Life that is examined by Kenneth Roy is truly remarkable. His attention to detail is admirable, as is his astute and incisive ability to pull away the layers of officialdom and bureaucracy that shrouded much of Scotland's public life during the period of examination. I found the book difficult to put down at times, such was the compelling way that Roy told the story of this fascinating country. At the same time, the book can easily be dipped into at various points and used as a reference source, as it is conveniently organised into a chapter for each year of the thirty years journey.

I cannot recommend this book enough for anyone who wants to know more about how Scotland arrived at where it is today, on the verge of a monumental decision that will affect the whole of the United Kingdom. Congratulations to Kenneth Roy on a brilliant piece of writing and a hugely important record of a modern social history.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an absolutely first class book. Despite its size it is compulsively readable.Roy covers 30 years in the life of Scotland.He covers everything from murder trials to devolution proposals.Although the general theme of the book is fairly depressing,that apart from Jimmy Reid and Margo Macdonald, all the Scottish politicians of this era ,are a second rate ,self interested bunch,Roy's style is so good and his sense of humour so dry that sections of the book are laugh out loud funny.As someone who lived through a large part of this period,it was also interesting to come across forgotten names like Tom Allan and Teddy Taylor, again. Read this book before you vote in the independ ence referendum in September. It might push you towards voting Yes.
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