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on 18 September 2008
I read this book by chance and with no expectation of anything beyond a predictably dull, ghost written memoir. What I discovered instead was a beautifully written evocation of a rapidly vanishing life and culture. Williamson is a master storyteller, and the simplicity of his prose belies his genius. His work casts a unique light onto the lives of a generation of travellers: their ballads, their poetry, their stories and their music. Williamson seems to stand within the continuity of a long oral tradition, one sustained by the very human values of kindness and mutual respect so lacking today. As the man himself says, 'stories was wir education.'
Hamish Henderson, the greatest Scottish folk-collector and himself a legendary figure, was quick to recognise his unique qualities of singer and storyteller: "Duncan Williamson," he said, "is the Scottish folk tradition in one man."
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on 14 August 2010
If DW is remembered by posterity (and I hope he will be) it will be as a storyteller and ballad singer: in the old parlance, a seanchaidhe. Yet this autobiography, transcribed from his telling before he became widely known, concentrates on his career as a horse-dealer; presumably that was where they felt the market was at the time. There is almost nothing about he acquired and practiced his immense repertoire of traditional Traveller stories. In fact, I've read other biographical material on him, like his chapter in Neat's Voice of the Bard, and this has almost nothing in common with it. An awful lot of interesting material is simply left out.

This is still good stuff. It doesn't give you the atmosphere of day-to-day traveller life like Betsy Whyte's Yellow On The Broom; but, against that, it isn't in the least literary and has the real vernacular sense of 'a tale told'. It's just a shame that it wasn't revised to reflect his real claim to fame, and shed more light on his context within his own community. For my money, it's better to read the stories themselves - and better still to listen to them.
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on 3 October 2012
I bought this book, as i,m interested in all things native. Unfortunately i just couldnt get into it. It is based in Scotland, and all the talking is done in an old Scottish accent, which is fine if you came from Scotland.I,m from down South! But please dont be put off by my opinion,it just didnt appeal to me.
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on 27 March 2015
Love this book! I am from north-east Scotland so I am reading about a few familiar places aswell as gaining an insight into a way of life which, though hard by the standards of today, was all about family and tradition and personal choice to live a certain way and not being sucked in to general society. There are some great characters too.........I would have loved to meet some of them and hear their many stories! There is a lot of humour in Duncan Williamson's story-telling and poignancy, too. Buy this book if you like reading about days gone by!
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on 18 November 2010
This is a book recalling the life of a Highland Traveller in bygone days it is mainly written in Scottish dialect so unless you are acquainted with this manner of speech takes you awhile to read, nonetheless it makes a very interesting read, so glad I purchased one for myself and one for a Birthday gift.
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on 6 July 2013
I got this on kindle then got the hardback version as kindle was missing a lot of the photos and illustrations. I'm glad I got the book second hand and it fever me a better feeling for the content and stories. This is one problem with kindle where you don't get to appreciate visual descriptions .
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on 30 June 2013
This book is very interesting, but I am finding it hard going. Maybe its just me and I will get into it as I get further in. Don't be put off someone else will maybe find it easier than me.
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on 25 November 2014
a brilliant cant put down book highly recommened you read
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on 7 August 2014
husband pleased
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on 17 August 2015
Very good
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