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VINE VOICEon 3 August 2014
TM Devine is serious historian and this is a serious history book, strong on facts and reasoned analysis, not so strong human interest stories or polemic. You get a wealth of facts about emigration from Scotland the product of extensive research, with some measured and mostly cautious commentary. As such is can be quite hard going at times if you are reading out of general interest as I was, rather than because you are studying for an exam. For all that though I found it mostly fascinating revealing a whole side of the country of my birth that I was mostly unaware of.

Devine takes a themed rather then chronological approach with chapters on the Church, the military, the role of women etc. which I found a little frustrating as it sometimes made it difficult to see the bigger picture and how these different themes intertwined.

My main problem with the book though is the almost dismissive handling of the highland clearances - something that I think Scots would see as central to any Diaspora. Devine clearly believes their importance is overplayed and devotes only one short chapter too them. He is clearly dismissive of the John Prebble view of Highland history, which informed so many Scots including myself. But frustrating never really fully engages with the debate, and when he mentions the clearances later in the context of recruitment to the army seems to contradict his earlier claim that they only occurred in the islands. I have no doubt he has an interesting case to argue I just wish he had made it more forcefully. .

Overall though a book anyone with a n interest in Scottish history should read.
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on 2 April 2018
What an awful lot of information without giving you any feeling about the actual people involved. the book became totally impersonal, a lot of dates and numbers but it never grabbed my attention and I started skipping it and probably missed some interesting facts.
Overall a bit disappointing because the author never went into why the people emigrated, what happened to them when they got there - no stories about the individuals involved. Academically a very thorough book but written for academicians and not for the interested amateur
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on 28 April 2014
No-one does Scottish History better than T M Devine. If you are thinking of buying this you are already interested in Scottish history and particularly perhaps in the way that Scottish cultural tentacles spread around the world by migration and emigration. Those of us who have only made it so far as England can marvel at the bravery of those who migrated properly. Back in 2007 I visited an exhibition devoted to Scottish influence in New Zealand in Te Papa Tongarewa - the MUSEUM OF NEW ZEALAND and was struck forcibly by the influence of Scottish migrants particularly on South island. This is a very accessible read and worth your time.
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on 4 January 2016
Carefully unsentimental but nevertheless very moving. For me,it is the book that made sense of my family's wanderlust over many generations. If your family is similarly inclined you may find it similarly illuminating. An antidote to simplistic 'clearances victim hood'
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on 14 November 2012
Professor Devine has written an absorbing book about the scottish diaspora.He deals with all aspects past and present in the turbulent history of Scotland, its restlessness, desire for adventure overseas, contributions in science, education, military prowess. the arts and enlightenment. Here is a full projection of what it means to be Scottish and Scotland's contribution to the world.At a crossroads today, is Scotland to be the first nation in the UK to strive for full independence or to cling to the union from which she has benefited for 3 centuries.Professor Devine leaves us to ponder the outcome in the near future.
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on 3 January 2015
This book was chosen as a gift, for my husband, who is 80 and an Aberdonian. He tells me it is not a book to be read as a paper-back, because there is so much History in it and so much to ponder and absorb. I am sure he will value it and keep it as a treasure. Thank-you.
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on 20 January 2016
This is an extremely informative and interesting book written from a very balanced view point. It puts the clearances into perspective. I found it hard to put down.
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on 13 February 2015
Bought as a Christmas present for a relative. Came in good time for Christmas and was enjoyed.
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on 26 September 2014
A magnificent detailed review of Scotland's loss of population over the centuries, which puts the Highland Clearances in perspective at last.
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on 28 July 2015
Another fantastic read that is written by a talented man
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