The Scots: A Genetic Journey Hardcover – 1 Mar 2011
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'One of four most versatile Scottish writers' --Alexander McCall Smith - The Herald
About the Author
Alistair Moffat was born and bred in the Scottish Borders. A former Director of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Director of Programmes at Scottish Television, he now runs the burgeoning Borders Book Festival as well as a production company based near Selkirk. He has written six previous books that are published by Birlinn. Dr James F. Wilson is a population geneticist. His DPhil is from the University of Oxford where his initial studies with Professor David Goldstein led to the identification of the first genetic signatures of Norse Viking ancestry in the British Isles. This led to the BBC series Blood of the Vikings , which traced the legacy of the Vikings in the British Isles through a genetics survey. A keen genealogist, Jim is a native of Orkney but also has roots in Shetland.
Top customer reviews
All of that is fine and good and there are some interesting stories and anecdotes along the way, but this is not STRICTLY a genetic history of Scotland. This reads more like a history of Scotland, offered in various threads that do not always tie so well to one another, with genetics as something of an afterthought appended to the discussion of the various peoples and invasions that led up to the creation of medieval Scotland. The Viking invasions - in light of genetics - are described as recent events. The problem is that the book fails as a clear, coherent history of Scotland and it is certainly not a serious genetic history either. Compared to much more serious, yet highly readable works like Cavalli Sforza's "The Great Human Diasporas" this book falls short of the mark vis a vis genetic history. There are not enough maps and charts of Scottish genes for this to be considered a serious resource for those interested in the genetic make up of the Scottish people.
That said, if you are unfamiliar with the history of Scotland and new to the emerging science of genetics or are proud of your Scottish ancestry you might come away satisfied with the tales the authors have to tell.
By using skillful writing techniques to reflect our current generation of Scots back through the Middle Ages and earlier, The Scots-A Genetic Journey, introduces the concept of the global human village. We are truly all Jock Tamson's bairns. Great read-looking forward to their next book which I understand is going to widen the net from Scottish ancestry to include British heritage as well.
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