Matthew's Reviews > How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World and Everything in It

How the Scots Invented the Modern World by Arthur Herman
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M 50x66
's review
Aug 29, 2007

it was amazing

The first three quarters of this book are absolutely amazing, showing how the Scottish Enlightenment period essentially created all modern political and philosophical teachings in the modernized world.

The book goes in to wonderful historical detail about brilliant individuals who were the product of a social program to bring education to everyone at a time when most people in Europe were illiterate. It discusses such brilliant philosophers as David Hume and Adam Smith, as well as great inventors, such as Watt (well, Watt didn't TECHNICALLY invent the steam engine. He merely improved on the design of Thomas Newcomen's engine.).

However, I felt that the book fell apart towards the end. It felt less like a great historical presentment and more like a shoddy list made for bragging rights. As the book progresses through time, so do the characters involved in the stories, eventually reaching a more modern time when the people discussed were not nearly as interesting as in the early portions of the book. It felt as if the author became tired with describing Scottish history and fell in to a groove of saying, "This guy invented this, and this other guy invented something else."

Still a brilliantly done book and well worth the read.
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