Read Scotland 2018 discussion

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message 1: by Elliot (new)

Elliot Since I've joined several months in, here are the books I've already read:

1. A History of Scotland by Rosalind Mitchison. This was an okay read, but it taught me a lot, as I had essentially no previous knowledge about Scotland before reading this book.

2. Life of a Regiment: The History of the Gordon Highlanders from Its Formation in 1794 to 1816. Vol I, Charles Greenhill Gardyne. I stumbled across this book in the bibliography of a book about the British army during the Napoleonic wars, and there was one quote from it that piqued my interest. I am happy that I found it, as this book was a great read! It's certainly not for everyone, but as a lover of military history, I found all the anecdotes fascinating. It was interesting to learn about the culture of the soldiers, and it was inspiring to read about their courageous campaigns.

3. Ivanhoe, by Sir Walter Scott. This was a fun read, and I always enjoy reading books written in such a old style.

4. The Fair Maid of Perth, by Sir Walter Scott. I just finished this one, and it was and up and down experience. It started slow, but the last hundred pages or so were definitely more interesting.

5. The Clans And Tartans Of Scotland, by Robert Bain. I am currently reading this little book, just to learn more about the culture and traditions of Scotland. It contains brief descriptions of many of the clans, and is an interesting read so far.


message 2: by Elliot (new)

Elliot I just finished my sixth book, although in some ways it doesn't feel like it belongs with the others. It was The Black Watch by Charles Grant, a very brief summary on the famed Black Watch regiment of Highlanders. The best part of this very brief (48 pages) book was the collection of plates of the various uniforms over the centuries.
In my opinion, there are no better uniforms in the world than those of the Highland regiments!


message 3: by Elliot (last edited May 09, 2018 09:37PM) (new)

Elliot I also just realized that one of the books that I read earlier in the year also counts towards this challenge, as it was written by Magdalene de Lancey, who was born in East Lothian, Scotland. This book (#7 so far), A Week at Waterloo in 1815 by Magdalene de Lancey A Week at Waterloo in 1815 recounts Magdalene's time spent nursing her dying husband in the week after the battle of Waterloo. It is a truly moving story, and I highly recommend it to everyone!


message 4: by Nikki (new)

Nikki (nikkiivie) | 22 comments Elliot wrote: "I also just realized that one of the books that I read earlier in the year also counts towards this challenge, as it was written by Magdalene de Lancey, who was born in East Lothian, Scotland. This..."
I'm assuming that's a true account? Sounds like something I would love...


message 5: by Elliot (new)

Elliot Yes, it is entirely true!


message 6: by Elliot (last edited May 16, 2018 10:11PM) (new)

Elliot Update, I finished my 7th book, Clans and Tartans of Scotland by Robert Bain by Robert Bain. This was an interesting book which gave brief summaries of many clans, along with a photo of their clan tartan.


message 7: by Elliot (new)

Elliot 8. Faraday, Maxwell, and the Electromagnetic Field: How Two Men Revolutionized Physics by Nancy Forbes and Basil Mahon.

I was inspired to read this from my physics class that I was in during the winter. I found the concepts of electricity and magnetism to be very interesting, and from the snippets in the textbook, I discovered that the men behind these discoveries were even more interesting. This book was a perfect introduction/summary to learning about Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell, why they were so important, and what they actually discovered.

I enjoyed this book, and I am now ready to tackle a full-scale biography of Maxwell just because he was such an amazing man.

If you are at all interested in physics, this book is a good, brief read about amazing people making wonderful discoveries and ultimately changing the course of humanity.

P.S. Maxwell was Scottish, so that is why this book is being included in this challenge.


message 8: by Elliot (new)

Elliot 9. The Life of James Clerk Maxwell byLewis Campbell. This biography of James Clerk Maxwell was an interesting read that gave me a glimpse into the great man's life. Through the plethora of letters and essays included in the text (it seemed as though about a third of the text consisted of letters), I was able to see what an incredible man he was. Not only were his contributions to science groundbreaking and astonishingly important, but he was a loving son, loyal friend, devoted husband, and all-around amazing human being. After reading this biography I am inspired to model some of my behavior on this wonderful man.


message 9: by Elliot (new)

Elliot 10. How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World and Everything in It by Arthur Herman. I enjoyed this book, and I certainly learned a lot. In particular I learned quite a bit about Western philosophy. It's incredible how many influential philosophers came from Scotland, and how much influence these men had.

The scope of the book is large, but Herman handles it well and manages to go into detail while still covering a large span of time.


message 10: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Forkin (ellen_forkin) | 350 comments Mod
Elliot wrote: "10. How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World and Everything in It by Arthur Herman. I enjoyed th..."

It sounds really interesting. My knowledge of philosophers is quite poor, and I certainly can’t name a Scottish one... I might try this book out :)


message 11: by Jack (last edited Jul 17, 2018 12:27PM) (new)

Jack Deighton | 52 comments Ellen wrote: "Elliot wrote: "10. How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World and Everything in It by [author:Arthur Herman|48950..."

"My knowledge of philosophers is quite poor, and I certainly can’t name a Scottish one..."

David Hume.


message 12: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Forkin (ellen_forkin) | 350 comments Mod
Jack wrote: "Ellen wrote: "Elliot wrote: "10. How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World and Everything in It by [author:Arthu..."

Ah! I know his portrait better than I know his work.


message 13: by Elliot (new)

Elliot Adam Smith is probably the other most influential Scottish philospher.


message 14: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Forkin (ellen_forkin) | 350 comments Mod
Elliot wrote: "Adam Smith is probably the other most influential Scottish philospher."

Thanks Elliot, if I ever get into philosophy, I’ll keep these folk in mind. Happy reading :)


message 15: by Elliot (new)

Elliot 11. As part of the August read, I read The Expedition of Humphry Clinker by Tobias Smollett. This book was a fun read that I enjoyed!


message 16: by Tarissa (new)

Tarissa (inthebookcase) | 52 comments Elliot wrote: "11. As part of the August read, I read The Expedition of Humphry Clinker by Tobias Smollett. This book was a fun read that I enjoyed!"

Woohoo! Looks like you reached your goal level, Elliot. Congrats on that!

I'm glad you enjoyed 'Humphry Clinker'. I'm not quite half-way myself, but at least it is an interesting read.


message 17: by Elliot (new)

Elliot Thanks! I hope I'm able to exceed my goal, and I have plenty of time left to do so.


message 18: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Forkin (ellen_forkin) | 350 comments Mod
Elliot wrote: "Thanks! I hope I'm able to exceed my goal, and I have plenty of time left to do so."

Elliot wrote: "11. As part of the August read, I read The Expedition of Humphry Clinker by Tobias Smollett. This book was a fun read that I enjoyed!"

Well done on your challenge Elliot! That’s fab! So glad you enjoyed Humphry Clinker, I’m just getting into it...


message 19: by Elliot (new)

Elliot I have just begun reading The Steel Bonnets by George MacDonald Fraser by George MacDonald Fraser, the author of the Flashman series. I am thoroughly enjoying the book so far. His writing is lively and insightful, and I'm sure the topic (the border conflicts between Scotland and England) would be of interest to any Brits here. I'm fascinated with it all, and I'm an American who has no local knowledge.


message 20: by Elliot (new)

Elliot 12. The General Danced At Dawn, And Other Stories The General Danced At Dawn, And Other Stories by George MacDonald Fraser by George MacDonald Fraser.

This was such an entertaining book; I highly recommend it to anyone (although having some knowledge about highland regiments/the army is useful). You can find my review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 21: by Elliot (new)

Elliot 13. The Steel Bonnets by George MacDonald Fraser. This was an illuminating book that examines the border conflicts between England and Scotland, primarily in the 16th century. The writing was interesting and engaging, and I was constantly learning.


message 22: by Elliot (new)

Elliot 14. Another gem by George MacDonald Fraser, McAuslan in the Rough, and Other Stories. These McAuslan stories are tremendously amusing, and at times quite touching and poignant.


message 23: by Elliot (new)

Elliot Wow, it's been months since I've updated this list!

15. Quartered Safe Out Here: A Harrowing Tale of World War II by George MacDonald Fraser.
This book is his memoir of his service in Burma during the closing months of the war. Both entertaining and thought-provoking, this memoir explores Fraser's experiences and thoughts on the war. His mastery of portraying Cumbrian accents in his dialogue adds so much realism to the characters in the story.

Some will find his views unpalatable, but he makes no bones about hiding what he felt at the time and what he still feels. Overall, this was a brilliant read. I highly recommend it to those looking for a WWII memoir.


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