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Scotland: A Concise History
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Scotland: A Concise History

3.61  ·  Rating Details  ·  162 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
It is a complex one too, but Sir Fitzroy Maclean disentangles the threads and enlivens his brisk account with both wit and scholarship. Pictures from authentic contemporary sources illuminate his story--its romantic figures and bloody battles, its politics and religion--and provide a rich visual record of Scotland's art, craftsmanship, and intellectual life. For this revis ...more
Paperback, Revised, 256 pages
Published March 17th 2001 by Thames & Hudson (first published 1970)
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K.M. Weiland
Mar 05, 2016 K.M. Weiland rated it it was amazing
I honestly think I got more out of this slim volume than I have any of the countless other sources I've read about Scotland. Their history really clicked for me within the larger context of Great Britain and the world--both the romanticized bits and the decidedly un-romantic bits. Every chapter was interesting (although I admit to glazing over a little bit when it got to modern-day politics), and I found myself underlining and annotating time again. Thought-provoking and entertaining.
Nathan Albright
Feb 10, 2016 Nathan Albright rated it it was amazing
Shelves: challenge
It cannot be denied that the history recorded in this volume is a deeply melancholy one. According to the witty and canny but also patriotic author of this book, in this history which begins in the mists of antiquity, in Roman attempts at invasion and subjugation, and that continues to the late 1900’s, as this book was first published in 1970 (the particular version I read was published in 2000), the history of Scotland is one where many of the same patterns reveal themselves over and over again ...more
Apr 21, 2012 Bryce rated it it was ok
Planning a trip to Scotland, I thought I read a "concise" history of Scotland. While this book was informative and full of interesting diagrams, maps, art and photos of Scotland, its focus in on the Scottish Kings from the 11th to the 18th centuries. The book is a bit choppy since it covers seven centuries of turbulent history in less than about 180 pages. Without the monarchal pedigree at the beginning of the book and a map of Scotland at the time, it would have been near impossible to keep all ...more
Jun 16, 2011 Bruce added it
This book was revised in 2000, and so it is fairly recent in its coverage. A well presented and crafted volume, it is an overview of Scottish history from its known beginnings. There are helpful illustrations. The presentation is strictly chronologic rather than topical, and the text is clear and succinct. The author is a clear Scottish partisan, and some of his characterizations, especially of English royalty, seem to have no pretence of being objective or of presenting alternative views. The f ...more
Matt Kelland
Jan 07, 2013 Matt Kelland rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A concise history of the government and battles of Scotland. Dryly presented, with less information than Wikipedia. It covers up to 1100AD in under 15 pages, half of which are pictures. The new section is a recitation of who was appointed to which posts in the new Parliament. Nothing about the social or cultural aspects, nothing about anyone except royalty & nobility, it's just a list of power struggles. Read some Nigel Tranter. You'll learn more and have more fun.
"Clans of Scotland" (disc 3: MacLean Clan) is a must-see to see a picture of and understand the background of this author.

Great pedigree chart of the Stuarts from Duncan I to Charles Edward and Henry.

If you wonder about Mr. McLean's leanings this will give you a clue: "[The Duke of Cumberland] carried out [the battle of Culloden] with characteristically Teutonic thoroughness and gusto." p. 181
Feb 25, 2008 Boris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought it would help inform my reading of Walter Scott. It does that admirably. I can now look up the Covenanters and the like.

It's a bit on the light / popular side, with plenty of illustrations.
Oct 09, 2012 Eva rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not as interesting as Robert the Bruce. A little dry, but that is to be expected from a factual history book. Great for research.
Rob Mawer
Sep 04, 2014 Rob Mawer rated it really liked it
A good run through and time line of events in Scotland. Goes very well with a touring holiday of the country and helps fill in a few of the historical gaps you may come across whilst visiting the country. Although I'm sure there are more detailed books on specific events, this is a great overall history of Scotland and a very comfortable read. I recommend this book to anyone with even a fleeting interest in Scottish history and it's very well written to boot.
Dec 05, 2015 Joe rated it it was amazing
So this definitely lives up to its billing as a concise history. It moves along quite well, it's easy to keep up with who's who, especially with the map and chart of kings and queens in the front. I realized partway through that I really wish it had been a social history as well, but that's not the author's fault. And good lord, the English are invading ALL THE DAMN TIME! Seriously, it's clearly some kind of mental derangement. Leave Scotland alone already!
Apr 06, 2015 Ralph rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Never realized the complex comings and goings, back and forth battles, allegiances, and barbarity of the Scotland/England history. The final few pages discuss the feelings towards "home rule" up until the late 1960s. The recent vote that kept Scotland as a subservient part of England adds a next step in the long history of these two.
Feb 14, 2014 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I own an original 1970 hardcover edition of this work that I got as a discard from the local public library. This isn't the greatest work on Scottish history. The book does, however, have over 200 illustrations on glossy paper. I would recommend this work for children or young adults as an introduction to Scotland and its history.
Virginia Albanese
Aug 03, 2015 Virginia Albanese rated it liked it
Preparation for a trip to Scotland. Could have been even more concise: from it's earliest inhabitants until mid 1700s everyone was fighting everyone else with changing allegiances every few years with brutal beheading, torture and burnings.
Thomas Balsillie
Mar 20, 2016 Thomas Balsillie rated it it was amazing
Just finished and it is a very, simple, easy read - also a great read for those wanting to know about the history of Scotland, and England and how they came to be.
Richard Aitken
Jan 04, 2016 Richard Aitken is currently reading it
just started but very complex
Dixie Lee
Phew, a lot of history, but a good book. Now I think I understand a little more about Scottish history.
Melissa Bond
Feb 28, 2013 Melissa Bond rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read quit a bit about Scotland for ancestral research, and this book has to be the most thorough for a crash course in Scottish history. Quite impressive is the examination of origins making up Scotland today, especially the importance Norway played in the fusion of their culture into Scottish bloodlines.
Sep 03, 2012 Reggie rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
As the title says, this is a "Concise History". If you're looking for a broad overview of the history of Scotland, this is the book for you. I would recommend this as a good book to carry with you for reference if you visit Scotland.
Aug 30, 2007 Corey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Exactly what it says- a great outline of Scotland's history. An comfortable read with pictures of paintings and artifacts, time lines, etc. Interesting comments and notes of cause and effect. A good basic history.
Amy Jarecki
Sep 07, 2012 Amy Jarecki rated it it was amazing
I'm a novelist and this gives me just enough information so that I can target deeper research in specific eras. Definitely a well used book on my shelf.
Dec 20, 2013 Randy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some criticism of this book was given because of the emphasis on Scottish-Irish connections. In my opinion, that is what makes it all the more worthwhile.
Jun 09, 2013 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent primer in Scottish history. Well written and informative, this book does not ever get bogged down or boring. Highly recommended.
aldo zirsov
Sep 18, 2009 aldo zirsov rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
We are the highlanders...
The Immortals from Scots...
We declare war against dragons a.k.a naga...
We are the dragon/naga slayer...
Dec 27, 2011 Captmashpea marked it as to-read
It is for school and the beginning is a little confusing to see what they want to speak about but I am excited to read it
Apr 27, 2010 Debs rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 2004, college
Like the title suggests, a concise history of Scotland; perfect preparation for my overseas trip in 2004.
William  Shep
Oct 29, 2008 William Shep rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great introductory work to the passion and intrigue of the panaply of Scottish history.
Mar 31, 2013 Gena rated it liked it
Pretty straightforward, traditional job. Useful as I head off to Scotland this week.
May 20, 2013 Josh rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Good, short, but well-written overview of Scottish history. The title says it all.
May 27, 2012 Bill rated it liked it
An ethnocentric diversion in my reading.
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Major General Fitzroy Hew Royle Maclean, Bt, KT, CBE.

Graduate of Eton and subsequently King's College, University of Cambridge.

Veteran of WWII. In 1941, he chose to enlist as a private in the Cameron Highlanders, but was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant the same year. He was one of the earliest members of the elite SAS. By the end of the war, had risen to the rank of Brigadier.

Member of Parliament (M
More about Fitzroy MacLean...

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