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on 14 April 2010
This is such a readable book that you don't notice the meticulous research and referencing. I felt I knew not only Burns but his many friends, lovers and correspondents. Whichever way you look at Burns he is an enigma. McIntyre does not gloss over Burns's questionable choices and sexual incontinence, nor does he try the retrospective cod psychology which is so prevalent in modern biography. You are free to make your own mind up. As I started to read this book I knew and loved many of Burns's works and that love has been enhanced in some cases by finding out more about the circumstances of Burns's writing them but, beware, I have been sadly disillusioned in others. Burns was seemingly capable of quite monstrous chutzpah and disingenuity often for very slight discernible reason. He was also pretty much of a loser although a tremendously sparkling and charismatic one. I would have loved to have met him - I think.
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on 4 March 2014
This is my favourite of the many biographies of Burns and the one to which I most frequently refer. (Carswell is a close second). It was first published in 1995 under the title 'Dirt and Deity', which seems far more appealing and in some way sums up the Bard. It is arranged chronologically with the years at the top of each page, which is useful for finding poems written in those years and checking other facts. McIntyre is no hagiographer and presents Burns in a wry light Extensive foot notes, which are usually relevant and useful. Good index too. His review of the Burns cult that arose after his death down to the present day would be a worthy monograph on its own.
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on 25 February 2010
A well-written and absorbing story of the Life of Robert Burns. It takes the reader chronologically through events in his life, incorporating poems and letters he wrote or received, and also puts these into historical context so that the reader gets a better feel for what was shaping Burns' thoughts and actions at the time of writing. What I especially liked about this book is that the writer doesn't attempt to pass judgement, or to speculate too much on the reasons for Burns' life choices, but simply tells the tale and allows the reader to draw his or her own conclusions.

This book isn't 'dry' or scholarly, and is well worth reading.
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on 4 June 2012
Ian McIntyre produced the wonderful biography of the Scotland's most famous poet to commemorate the 250th anniversary of his death.

He collected heaps of documents, letters, extracts of Burn's diaries, all of which contain his romantic life of having and developing relationship with various ladies, and the description of his manner at various events and his enthusiastic and dedicated literary activities, some of which were conjunction with the state. Those comprehensive documents and meticulous findings give the readers a true picture of the Scotland's most admired poet.

Having been brought up with the poor farming community, it inspired him to produce the work for the poor peasants and lower class working people. Sadly, he only lived 37 years. Mr McIntyre `s accounts include Robert Burn's last period of life and his posthumous achievements and recognition which were appreciated by various scholars and international educational institutes.

This is an authentic biography of Burns.
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on 9 February 2013
Has a lot of detailed information on Burns and I found it helpful in constructing an immortal memory. Not easy to find specific information on particular people in Burns life. Need to search through.
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on 4 September 2015
Excellent read..so much detail ,letters and such give a good idea of his character,and how others viewed him .
It brings the 18th century to life.
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on 8 September 2013
A bit pedantic in style, and does not capture the zeitgeist of the time he lived as e.g Robert Holmes does in his work
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on 23 November 2015
I have taken to reading Burns and I am enjoyinf this book
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on 11 May 2015
heavy going
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