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Capital of the Mind: How Edinburgh Changed the World Hardcover – 21 Aug 2003

3.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray (21 Aug. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719554462
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719554469
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 24.2 x 4.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,161,708 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


James Buchan has written a hugely readable and comprehensive review of this volatile period in the city's life. Fascinating anecdotes and arguments sparkle across its pages, and...CAPITAL OF THE MIND is an absolute joy to read. (Irvine Welsh, Guardian)

James Buchan tells the extraordinary story with a novelist's narrative zip and brilliant flashes of detail ... as Buchan says in this marvellous book, "there is no city like Edinburgh in all the world." (Sunday Times)

Vigorous and entertaining (Sunday Telegraph)

A work of prodigious research and clarity of thought (Irish Examiner)

Thought-provoking examination of the role played by Edinburgh in the creation of the Enlightenment (Scottish Sunday Herald)

With a novelist's flair for pace and a prodigious eye for detail ... Capital of the Mind brings 18th-century Edinburgh vividly to life. The narrative ... is fascinating (The Field)

A brilliant piece of work, by far the best biography of my hometown (Irvine Welsh, Guardian)

There have been many books about "The Athens of the North", but none as authoritative as this (The Times)

Edinburgh ... laid the mental foundations for the modern world (Sunday Telegraph)

Buchan vigorously advances the argument announced in his title, and he writes intellectual history like the novelist he is (Independent)

Buchan does a scholarly job of describing this transformation (Halifax Daily News)

He brings us the look and smell and feel of Scotland ... The book is a triumph of fact-based, imaginatively-expressed writing (Magnus Magnusson, New Statesman)

For such a learned history, Mr Buchan has a clear writing style, a light touch and a irreverent sense of humour. In the more gently paced chapters on such intellectuals as David Hume and Adam Smith, he combines deft broad strokes with intricate details, shading in apparently dry subjects with innumerable and delightful anecdotes that bring the old city to life. (Economist)

An entertaining intellectual history ... Pungently evoking the Old Town and the planning of the new, masterfully condensing the lives and works of such titans as David Hume and Adam Smith, coolly anatomising the bogus Gaelic epics of Ossian and the newfangled cult of sentiment, and watching half-amused, half-outraged, as Boswell and Johnson career through his pages, Buchan brilliantly tells a complex story (Guardian)

Book Description

In this wonderful account we experience the look, feel and smell of 18th century Edinburgh, and experience too the birth of the modern world.

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HALL OF FAMEon 13 March 2004
Format: Hardcover
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on 4 May 2007
Format: Paperback
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on 29 August 2009
Format: Paperback
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on 6 June 2014
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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on 14 January 2004
Format: Hardcover
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