Shop now Shop now Shop now See more Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now DIYED Shop now Shop Fire Shop now Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Format: Kindle Edition|Change
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 7 November 2007
This is one of my very favourite books and one of my most treasured possessions. It is one of those books that you pick up and cannot put down. . . . . I return to it time and time again. On the face of it, it is, simply, the story of a man who, single handedly, built a two mile stretch of road, over difficult terrain, in a wild and remote place. . but it is much more than that. . . and the many layers of it reveal themselves to the reader in much the way that a really good poem reveals itself. . . Calum MacLeod was a passionate man who, believed that Arnish, where he lived, at the depopulated north end of the island, could provide everything that was needed to sustain life . . . and that if he built a road linking the north to the rest of the island the people would return . . . He was a fascinating man . . the story is a fascinating story (far more fascinating than my wee description) . . the book is written beautifully, it is not sentimental and the story and the island are not romanticised . . . a truly, inspirational, magical book.
0Comment| 60 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 January 2008
When I began reading about Calum's road project, some of the evocative writing of Lewis Grassic Gibbon and man's battle with unforgiving nature came to mind. Set on the island of Raasay, this is an account of one man's dramatic response to decades of local authority indifference, in this instance the continual prevarication over replacing the track that serves the rough northern part of this island with a motorable road. Calum gives up the lobbying in despair and takes on the task himself, reading up on how it should be approached and labouring on the task with shovel and wheelbarrow in between his various other duties such as running a croft and tending the lighthouse on North Rona.
However, `Calum's Road' is not just about a one-man construction project. It is the story of demographic change on Raasay across two centuries. Using sources such as testimony from the 1884 Napier Commission, it narrates how, during the nineteenth century, the island's population was evicted from the fertile south to make way for sheep and deer and how they were contained in the rocky north by Raasay's own `Berlin Wall', Rainy's Wall. When the effects of the Wall are eventually breached, it is then the north of Raasay that loses its population. It is this reverse migration that Calum MacLeod tries to stall by the construction of his road. He gains particular satisfaction by making a physical breach of Rainy's Wall during the course of his one-man mission.
This is not just the story of a road and the man who built it, but is the story of a Hebridean community which reflects dynamics that have a familiar ring throughout much of rural Scotland. The author presents a moving human narrative in his telling of this story.
0Comment| 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
This is a fantastic story about a fantastic man. It is funny and informative and really, really moving. I cried at the end, although it's actually a very positive story about hope and accomplishment.
0Comment| 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 19 February 2011
Lets face it, this isn't the most readable book, and I found myself wanting to hurry through parts of it. For that reason you might expect a lower rating and indeed, but for the subject matter, it would have been lower. The story that this book tells transcends the writing style. It tells a story of the heartless treatment of the crofting inhabitants of Scotland from the time of the Clearances all the way through till the 1980's. I have lived in Scotland for nearly 50 years, have heard all about the Clearances, but knew nothing of the almost systematic depopulation of the crofting community by successive governments through the 1960's and 70's and the appalling and heartless way that these small communities were treated by officialdom at that time. It also tells the story of a wonderful man who would not give up although his community was reduced from over a 100 to 2, because he knew that that he was doing the right thing. We talk today of people who are 'grounded' - here is the definitive person. This is a book filled with tragedy, which will leave a tear in your eye, yet is at the same time a triumph - wonderful, everyone should read it, these things should never happen again.
11 comment| 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 7 October 2009
I'd been meaning to read this book for years, as I found the basic story fascinating, and was interested to hear the detail and the background to it. Roger Hutchinson paints a clear picture of how the situation that Calumn found himself in arose, which is interesting in itself. But the stoicism and determination of the man himself make Calum an extraordinary character - I just wish there were more like him on the planet, as it would be a far better place! A wonderful tale of how persistence pays - especially if you don't depend on others and are prepared to get your hands dirty - quite literally! It's a real story of our times, well researched and written, and a joy to read!
0Comment| 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 23 March 2008
This is a great read, part history, part politics and part single mindedness all combine to give a view of the problems Raasay residents in particular, but also of wider Scottish society have faced. Passion and the harsh reality of life for the islanders are always present in the text. Calum should be an inspiration to all in the way he lived.
0Comment| 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 9 May 2014
If all else fails and the authorities write off your dying commumity when all it needs is a road, what does one do? Most on Raasay moved to the south of the island, or away completely. Calum Macleod Decided to build a road himself. That he complted it, finally forcing the authorities to asphalt the finished article, gives you an idea of what the book is about and what a hard man Calum was. Yet he is just a man. Would that I was just such a man. This is a wonderful book and in homage to his effort I am visiting Raasay this year to run Calum's Road. Roger Hutchinson has produced a must-own book for Highland and Island fans.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 9 October 2006
Being my great-uncle, I had always known of Calum macleod but this book showed me what a great man he really was. This book is a fair book that does nor romantisise Calum which many people do, it gives the facts about calum and his life. This book takes a bit to get into as it goes alot into the history of rassy ( the island were Calum lived) but even that is intresting and informitive. This books starts slow but by the end of it you will also see what a great man Calum Macleod was and what a achevment his road was.
44 comments| 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 21 March 2007
This is an absorbing read. You can almost feel the passion of the people of Raasay in standing up for what they believe in, and one man eventually getting a result, against all the odds. Calum Mcleod never gave up until he realised his dream..This is an inspiration in every sense of the word to follow one's heart and if you fight hard enough, it will happen..I am now chomping at the bit to read more of Roger Hutchinson's works.
0Comment| 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 5 July 2010
I just finished reading this book whilst a tropical depression brought windy and rainy weather outside on a dark evening in the Cayman Islands. Apart from the outside temperature, the weather alone would have reminded me of the many school holidays I spent on my grandfather's croft in Lewis in the 70s, but in reading this powerful book the feeling was so, so much stronger.

I could suddenly remember the smell of the peat fire, the tired but happy feeling of riding back from the moor after a day of bringing peats in, the exhausted and less happy feeling of finally getting a hot bath after a long, cold and wet day stooped over a raised bed planting potatoes.

Calum's road is a remarkable story of one man's determination, but it is much more than that. It is a richly detailed and unhurried description of life in Northern Raasay and now, for one reason after another, it changed little until eventually the community died.

It takes you back to a simpler time, but never lets you forget it was also a hard life, one far harder than our modern ways can fathom, but one with an inherent balance achieved over the centuries.

If you have not yet visited the Western Isles, I urge you to do so, but if you do, take your time. Take at least a week, and take time to just "be".
0Comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Need customer service? Click here

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)