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on 18 November 2013
The item description has this book being published in 2010. It wasn't. It was published in 1986. This is a simple reprint, with no revision of the text whatsoever.

The positives (well, positive): as a basic description of what certain records are (for example, sasines), it's great. Obviously, it offers nothing that a very quick web search won't tell you, but perhaps it's nice to have it in print (albeit, in this case, with pretty poor print quality).

However, that comment points to its very serious shortcoming. The internet doesn't even exist in its pages. Considering the vast quantity (and, in many cases, wonderful quality) of online resources now available to Scottish local historians, not to at least list some of the most important, let alone review their usefulness, is appalling. Local historians just don't do research the way it is described in this book anymore (well, some of it, but as an overall view of the research process it is redundant).

I appreciate that to include these new materials would require more than a revision, indeed probably a substantial re-write. However, by not even attempting to revise the text, it is now not just redundant but factually incorrect - most of the contact details provided in the text don't apply anymore. Some of the research offices mentioned aren't even in the same buildings (in one case, not even in the same town) anymore, and the phone numbers are useless.

****EDIT - it would appear that amazon have deleted the edition which claims to be from 2010 (for which this review was written), and then attached this review to secondhand copies of the first edition. Obviously, this changes the review. It is still a fair assessment of the first edition - that it is useless as an account of how Scottish local history is practised today - but the opening comments now make no sense.

In short, there is little point in having this book. If you want it as a statement of the Scottish local history as it was practised in the 1980s (which you might, as an historical artifact), second hand copies of the first edition are freely available on the web for less than £3.

****FURTHER EDIT And now amazon have again attached it to a "new edition".
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