Heart of Glasgow is still regarded as THE quintessential book on Glasgow. It stays strictly within the bounds of what has always been referred to as 'the City', that is the area resembling a cross and consisting of the High Street from as far north as the cathedral down to Bridgegate on the Clyde with the east-west thoroughfare stretching accross the High Street through the Trongate and down what was to become Argyle Street. Here, and in the surrounding closes, courts, backlands, feus and glebes all human life was to be found. Jack House's seminal work is presented in the form of a tour ensuring that it will appeal to Glaswegians and visitors alike. On it he introduces the reader to many places, some familiar, some not so, and sadly today, many now long gone. This all acts as a wonderful counterpoint to foreword writer Jack Maclean's Glasgow of today. Since Jack House first wrote this book the city has changed dramatically but within the heart of it, change has been less obvious and the medieval layout of the city still remains. These are the streets that Jack takes the reader through in a book which is neither guide, nor formal history, but something in between the two. It is a journey every visitor to Glasgow should take.
These travel memoirs from Galloway span from between the war years until current times and cover a wide spectrum of people and places in this fascinating corner of Scotland. The subject matter spans Galloway-Irish dialect, rock fishing, potato famine, harvesting, Italian PoW's, woodcutting, poaching, the daily trains, summer fitba', the village sports, the tinkers and inshore fishermen. MacIntosh uses his great skill as a writer to bring to life aspects of rural life which have gone and some which may yet disappear. The characters are all unique and inhabit a marvellous patchwork of places and situations which Macintosh is able to convey in a humorous yet never sentimental way.
It's too late in the year!' they were advised, but they still did it. By canoe from Bowling to Kyle of Lochalsh with numerous stops along the way, Alastair Dunnett and Seamas Adam spent a heady Autumn in the 1934 meandering up the glorious West Coast of Scotland. On their way they sent reports back to the Daily Record informing the readers of their progress and the people they met along the way. Their account makes fascinating reading as they were hailed by onlookers and bystanders wherever they went as 'The Canoe Boys'. Escapades as varied as running the infamous tide-rush of the Dorus Mhor to a balmy harvest working on Calve Island off Mull, quenching their thirst with a mug of drammach (oats and water) are related in superb, lyrical style by Dunnett. This is an adventure story of youthful exuberance and of how life once was lived before the war changed everything for ever. Fully illustrated with archival material and contemporary press cuttings, this cult travelogue will find a new market among the growing number of adventure kayakers taking to Scotland's coastal waters.
This is the story of Robert Smiliie,MP and trailblazing trade unionist who was born into poverty in Belfast in 1857. He moved to Scotland when he was 15 to join his brother James and became a miner at 17 in Larkhall. This opened his eyes to the way miners were treated by the mine owners and he realised that strong unions and the creation of a political party to represent the working classes was desperately needed. He was secretary of the Larkhall Miners and helped form the Lanarkshire Miners' Association. He became friends with Keir Hardie and together they rose through the ranks of the Labour movement. In 1888 he was a founder of the Scottish Labour Party.
Scotland's story cannot be told merely in terms of documentary evidence, for this would be to neglect an integral part of the nation's heritage. The legends, myths, stories and memories handed down from generation to generation must be added to the bare bones of factual record if the character of the country is to be truly revealed. Nigel Tranter was able to combine the two with a masterly hand, expertly weaving the colourful threads of folklore into the fabric of historical fact. Tranter was impeccably qualified to tell the story of Scotland, having written many books detailing the nation's rich past and he possessed an exceptional gift for storytelling. His account begins in the years before records made traditional history possible and ends with the transformation of Scotland during the 19th century into a workshop of the world and a source of pioneers for Britain's empire. In this perennial bestseller, Niigel Tranter's incomparable tale of a nation's enthralling history is the most comprehensible primer on the subject yet published. Before he passed away in January 2000, Tranter had written over 70 novels and several works of non-fiction, almost all of them historical works set in Scotland.
A collection of utterances from the mouths of Scottish schoolchildren over the last 70 years which have been gathered by best-selling author Allan Morrison. These frequently hilarious snippits cover a huge range of situations and subject areas.
Allan Morrison's penchant for collecting couthy Scots sayings over the years has resulted in a rich seam of books over the past five years. This latest is no different as Allan has given dad's their chance to have their say in this surefire bestseller. 'Away An' Ask Yer Mother!' is a compilation of those phrases and sayings which henpecked and harassed (and well-loved) dad's have uttered to their children over the years. Do you remember these classics? 'YE NEED TAE DAE WHIT YE HAVE TAE DAE, AFORE YE CAN DAE WHIT YE WANT TAE DAE!' 'IT'S OK WI' ME IF IT'S OK WI YER MOTHER.' 'NOW, BE GOOD! AND IF YOU CAN'T BE GOOD BE CAREFUL. AND IF YOU CAN'T BE CAREFUL, DON'T CA'IT EFTER ME!' 'EVERYONE IN THIS HOUSE IS ENTITLED TO MY OPINION!' 'JUST WAIT TILL I GET YOU HOME.' It is recommended that you repeat the father's sayings in this book out loud, preferably with a lump in your throat, a slightly red face, a wagging finger and a loving heart!
Covering people, places, events and fully cross-referenced, the Jacobite Dictionary is an eye-opener on the world of Jacobitism. Spanning the years of the Stuart succession to the Glorious Revolution and beyond, this concise reference book brings essential historical information to the reader at a glance ( denotes an interactive cross-reference). Typical entries are:Jacobite Toasts With the proscription and heavy penalties for all things Jacobite a secret language of signs and symbols evolved including toasts. James Of The Glens See Stewart, James. 'Jamie The Rover' The nickname for the de jure James III. Johnson, William A and J Incognitos used by Prince Charles Edward Stuart Edward, whilst travelling on the continent. Johnston, Seigneur William An incognito used by Prince Charles Edward Stuart whilst travelling on the continent. Johnstone, Andrew (1728-?) Eldest son of James Johnstone of Knockhill, Dumfriesshire. He followed the Jacobites in 1745 with 'Kilmarnock's Horse and acted as a servant to ' Lord Kilmarnock. Possibly his father was also in the Prince's army. Taken prisoner after Culloden he pled not guilty and then guilty. Sentenced to death on 22 September 1746 at Carlisle and to be carried out on 15th November. The Marchioness of Annandale, a relative, interceded, saying that his father had forced him to join the Jacobites. Turned king's evidence and was released into the army 26th September 1747.Covering people, places, events and fully cross-referenced, the Jacobite Dictionary is an eye-opener on the world of Jacobitism. Spanning the years of the Stuart succession to the Glorious Revolution and beyond, this concise reference book brings essential historical information to the reader at a glance ( denotes an interactive cross-reference). Typical entries are:Jacobite Toasts With the proscription and heavy penalties for all things Jacobite a secret language of signs and symbols evolved including toasts. James Of The Glens See Stewart, James. 'Jamie The Rover' The nickname for the de jure James III. Johnson, William A and J Incognitos used by Prince Charles Edward Stuart Edward, whilst travelling on the continent. Johnston, Seigneur William An incognito used by Prince Charles Edward Stuart whilst travelling on the continent. Johnstone, Andrew (1728-?) Eldest son of James Johnstone of Knockhill, Dumfriesshire. He followed the Jacobites in 1745 with 'Kilmarnock's Horse and acted as a servant to ' Lord Kilmarnock. Possibly his father was also in the Prince's army. Taken prisoner after Culloden he pled not guilty and then guilty. Sentenced to death on 22 September 1746 at Carlisle and to be carried out on 15th November. The Marchioness of Annandale, a relative, interceded, saying that his father had forced him to join the Jacobites. Turned king's evidence and was released into the army 26th September 1747.
The French visitors to Glasgow looked on blankly, as Big Aggie shouted out instructions to the queue of people waiting to board her tram on Argyle Street. If them that's cummin' oan'll get aff, them that's gettin' aff';ll get oan better!'; These adventures of Big Aggie MacDonald, the Glasgow tramcar clippie with the caustic wisecracking tongue, will take you back to the golden age of the tram. Her rich, biting patter, indiscriminately targeted at all and sundry, is the stuff for which streetwise Glaswegians have become renowned. In Aggie';s day a hurl on a tramcar wasn';t just another journey down to the shops it was also a jaunt in an atmosphere of a constantly changing patois emanating from the likes of Big Aggie. In the realm of the tramcar, Big Aggie was queen and she did not suffer fools, tram inspectors and blue-rinse maidens from Milngavie lightly. They were all targets and always came away from a verbal confrontation with Big Aggie worse off but wiser. This new book by Allan Morrison revolves around seven short stories involving Aggie which are interspersed with 'Tramlines', which are one-liners and jokes attributed to Aggie. This is a perfect source for comic writers and after-dinner speakers looking for tram car material.
This book provides a picture of the Great Glen, stretching from Fort William to Inverness, from AD550 to 1850. It begins with a description of the glen as it is today and an account of its geological development. This is followed by eleven chapters describing major characters or events in the glen. These are: St. Columba, King Brude, Macbeth, Alasdair Carrach (an early chief of the Keppoch MacDonalds), the Battle of the Shirts, the 1st Marquis of Montrose, Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel, Viscount (Bonnie) Dundee, the building of the Military Roads, the 1745 Jacobite Rising and its aftermath and the building of the Caledonian Canal. There is a short final chapter which makes some reference to the poets and musicians of the glen. Brief passages throughout on political and social developments serve to link the chapters together. The book is academic to some degree but perfectly comprehensible to the general reader with any interest in history. It will be particularly welcome to the hundreds of people who walk the Great Glen Way each year.
WHISKY is not only the world's most consistently successful and popular drink, it is also one of the oldest, having been around in one form or another since the first millennium. However, documentary records only commence in Scotland in 1494 when it was distilled as a spirit known as aqua vitae. Its growth since then has been better detailed and a complete lexicon has developed in line with whisky's increasing sophistication and worldwide popularity. The A to Z of Whisky is designed for whisky enthusiasts, lovers of Scotland, academics, journalists, amateur historians, broadcasters and researchers who need to have all the relevant facts and references about whisky close to hand. The entries cover every possible aspect of the spirit (including the American, Canadian and Irish derivatives) from aftershots to zymurgy, and include those curious terms which often crop up in the world of whisky, such as:
viscimetry 'Viscimation is what happens when two liquids of different viscosity mix, creating eddies and visible threads or ribbons. These are referred to as viscimetric whorls ... The most commonly observed instance of viscimetry is where water is added to spirituous alcohol, especially whisky, where the colour makes the effect more observable. Since time immemorial, whisky-drinkers have referred to the phenomenon as "awakening the serpent".' (MacLean, MMoW) In Whisky Magazine, Issue 56, July 2006, Dave Broom writes of Ichiro's Malt 1988 King of Diamonds, 'This has classc Japanese finesse (and excellent viscimetry). Great whisky is about balance and this has it ... in diamonds, not spades.' But this is no dry, didactic reference tome. It is crammed full of anecdote, aside and comment, a great deal of it tongue-in-cheek. This makes using the A-Z of Whisky both an informative and entertaining task. 'I cannot recommend it too highly,' Charles MacLean, whisky writer and author of the Mitchell Beazley Pocket Whisky Book.
Glasgow is no different from any other city when it comes to crime, and in particular, murder.
In this remarkable collection of lesser-known murder stories from both sides of the Second World War, Donald M. Fraser has trawled the public records, newspapers and court proceedings of the day to bring to life a Pandora's Box of killing in and around the city.< The cases start in 1919 in the East End with the murder of a policeman and conclude with the Glasgow Green and Queens Park murders from 1958-60. He also brings to life the Clydesdale Bank murder which took place in Clydebank in 1931 and reveals, for the first time, the identity of the person responsible for the crime.< The despicable killing and dismemberment of a mother is revealed in the Agnes Arbuckle case of 1927 when she was murdered for a £100 insurance claim. Her son was hanged for his trouble. The Carraher murders of 1938 and 1946 show the trail of havoc wrought by one man who was convicted of two murders, seven years apart and amongst the unsolved crimes are the triple murders on Glasgow Green between 1958 and 1960 and the murder of little Betty Alexander in 1952.< Many of these murders have only been made public through the newspaper reports of the day and are previously unpublished in book form. This is grim, gritty murder writing set against the backdrop of the 20th-century Glasgow that was mean and moody, before it was made over into a modern city that is now feted around the world.
Best known for his fiction writing, Robert Louis Stevenson was also an essayist, journalist, poet and travel writer. His first major work was An Inland Voyage, an account of his journey by canoe from Antwerp to northern France. The companion work to this, Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes (1879), is widely regarded as a travel-writing classic. June Skinner Sawyers has brought together the most comprehensive and representative sampling of Robert Louis Stevenson's prolific travel output, including excerpts from his most famous travel books, travel essays and travel poetry. The result is a collection that is as vivid and compelling as his fiction, and includes a number of lesser-known works from US collections. There are endlessly fascinating portraits of flesh-and-blood human beings, and it becomes apparent that he never grew tired of meeting new people, or of seeking new adventures. The story-teller always finds stories to tell and Stevenson was a consummate storyteller. In the tranquility of a French pine forest by moonlight he considers the importance of friendship; in a leper colony on Hawaii he reflects on physical horror and moral beauty; in all of his writing there is humanity and compasssion. Dreams of Elsewhere also features annotated listings of Stevenson historic sites, landmarks, museums, libraries, organisations, and even music inspired by Stevenson. As Gavin Bell, the critically acclaimed travel writer, states in his foreword: 'Admirers of RLS's work wil welcome this judicious selection of sketches from an itinerant life. Those less familiar with his blythe spirit are in for a rare treat, a voyage of discovery with the teller of tales to where the surf murmurs on Parrot islands.'
The contents of this Ebook first appeared in the Glasgow Evening Times over the course of the last decade as 250-word vignettes on people, places and happenings. They are therefore concise and to the point and allow easy access to the history of Glasgow.
Arranged thematically The Glasgow Almanac covers the social history of the city from its earliest beginnings. The chapter headings are:
Food and Drink
Law and Crime
War and Death
At over 115,000 words this is one of the most comprehensive and affordable Ebooks yet written on all aspects of the city and its people. Arranged with a full index it is be an essential companion tool for anyone requiring knowledge on the city, its people and its history.
How many times have you wondered about the origins of New Year's Eve, or Hogmanay as the Scots term it? This book reveals all as Hugh Douglas takes the reader from the remotest beginnings of this festival through the more recent developments in the 18th and 19th centuries right up to the millennium. There are many surprises in store for the unwary reader. Why a tall dark stranger at midnight, why carrying a lump of coal and why can the first-foot never be a fair person no matter how firm a friend? How was the name derived? Is it from the French, Greek, Scandinavian, German or Flemish? What does Hogmanay mean? Is it pagan, Christian, neither or both? On the lighter side, there are songs to be sung, drams to be drunk and food aplenty as Hugh includes music, recipe and anecdote in this essential companion. There is even a Hangover Helpline for those who have over-indulged!
One of Seton Gordon's greatest works concentrates on the Hebrides of Scotland in the post-First World War years as the islands tried to regain their composure and re-establish their social order. Gordon's prose recounts not only the way of life of the people but also the wildlife and wilderness in a classic memoir of a pattern of existence of which only sparse remnants now remain, and which is forever threatened. PART I: SPRING MEMORIES I A SEA-GIRT HOME OF THE PEREGRINE; II A HILL LOCH AND ITS BIRDS; III A HEBRIDEAN PASS IN SPRING; IV A WESTERN CORRIE AND ITS WILDLIFE; V A MAY SNOWFALL IN THE HEBRIDES; VI THE WHOOPER SWAN; VII A DEER FOREST OF THE WEST; VIII STULAVAL; PART II: SUMMER MEMORIES IX A WESTERN HAUNT OF THE PTARMIGAN; X LOCH CORODALE -- A HILL-SET TARN; XI BEINN MHOR OF SOUTH UIST; XII SUMMER SHIELINGS; XIII A UIST HEADLAND; PART III: AUTUMN, WINTER AND OTHER MEMORIES XIV THE FISH OF THE HOWMORE; XV HEKLA: A PEAK OF SOUTH UIST; PART IV: SOME BIRDS OF THE HEBRIDES; XVI A WINTER CLIMB: BEINN MOR MULL; XVII WINTER ON BEINN CRUACHAN; XVIII THE SERPENT OF GLEN MOR; XIX THE ISLAND PIPER ; XX THE LIFE OF A HEBRIDEAN CROFTER OF SOUTH UIST; XXI A HEBRIDEAN EMIGRATION XXII THE TWITE, OR MOUNTAIN LINNET; XXIII THE DUNLIN ; XXIV THE LESSER TERN; XXV THE COMMON GULL; XXVI THE SHORT-EARED OWL; XXVII THE HEN HARRIER; XXVIII THE DECREASE OF GAME BIRDS IN THE WEST
These are the memoirs of one of Scotland's best known whisky distillers and covers his time in the industry from 1963 until the present day. In that time John McDougall has worked in some of Scotland's most famous distilleries in Speyside, Ayrshire, Islay and Campbeltown as well as holding head office posts in Glasgow before setting up his own whisky brokering and distillery construction consultancy business based in Kelso. These memoirs are all about the characters that John has dealt with in the many differing places he has worked and portray as complete a picture of the distillery shop floor, the stillroom and the mashroom and the changes that have been made in them over the past 45 years as possible. Co-authored by whisky authority Gavin D. Smith (A-Z of Whisky) this delightful evocation of the true goings on in the whisky trade will delight anyone with an interest in the subject.
The Northern Division used to be the name given to the police force which operated within the Glasgow City boundaries until the creation of the Strathclyde Police Force. Its recruits were largely drawn from ex-servicemen who were demobbed after the Second World War and, as a result, they became known as 'The Big Men'. Their name was well-deserved as they set about clearing Glasgow's streets on the gangland 'neds' who had overrun the city during the war. They did not 'take prisoners' and they gained a fearsome reputation for no-nonsense street policing. This biography is written by a man who was close to them. Joe Pieri's cafe, the Savoy in Cowcaddens, used to be a haunt for policemen on the beat with a blue police box situated just outside. The back shop of the Savoy often had a policeman in it, keeping an eye on the blue light atop the box as he made out his beat journal or drank a welcome coffee. The Cowcaddens beat was the toughest in the city, one which helped form the reputation of Glasgow as 'no mean city'. But from the friendships which Joe made with the policemen on this beat, he has been able to maintain a living record of what those days were really like. The 'hard' image which Glasgow was tagged with for years has finally been laid to rest and it is now very similar to many other cities of similar size in the UK. The fact that it is regarded as a city of culture now has a great deal to do with the way in which crime was kept in check after the Second World Wr by the 'Big Men.' This is a revealing insight into the men on the beat who are now part of police folklore. Numerous interviews with retired bobbies give a unique portrait of the old Glasgow.
Long recognised as one of Britain's finest mountain writers, this collection brings together the best of Jim Perrin's essays and articles on climbing.< Perrin has selected these from four decades of describing and commenting on the experience of rock-climbing and the characters of the climbing community and includes rare, uncollected pieces, substantial new essays, ones that have been long out of print, and a lengthy and frank autobiographical introduction from one of the wild and subversive cult and grassroots figures of the British sport.< Contents: Introduction: by Robert Macfarlane (author of Guardian First Book Award-winner Mountains of the Mind)< 1: Streets, Outcrops, Space: A Personal Journey< 2: The Climbs: Street Illegal; The Gate of Horn; Right Unconquerable; Fictive Heroes; Visions and Virians; Three Cornish Climbs; Cathy Powell; Fools Rush In; Fantan B; Small Climbs in Germany; Hubris; The True & Authentick History of Fachwen; The Great Crack; Small Local Difficulties; Day Trip to Dalkey; A Note on Commitment; Lizards & Rampant ; Hippos; Handy Pandy; Bogles & Bog-trots; In Dreams Begins Responsibility.< 3: The Climbers: Paul Williams; Joe Brown; Will Perrin; Stevie Haston; Al Harris; H.W.Tilman;< Batso & the American Dream; John Hoyland; Pat Littlejohn; Robin Hodgkin; Peter Biven; Dave Cook; Johnny Lees; My Last Climb with George Homer; John Syrett; The Ice-climbers; Eric Shipton; Jack Longland; John Redhead.< 4: Ascent: Eating Bar Meat; Trains, Cafes, Conversations; The Way the Holds Run; Fear is the Spur; Contumely of the Conquistadors; Grace; The Lost and Perfect Hold; Grade Drift; The Night Moves; The Way You Climb is the Way You Are; Fictions; Person/Product/Practise; Silk of the Body; No Success Like Failure; Base Camps; The Way & the Outcrop; Very Severe; In Praise of Competence; Image/Imagine; Working on the Rope Moves; Ours; A Valediction (Forbidding Mourning); Rain; Charming Cracks; The Overgrown; Confidence; Moves; Version and Verse; "Denn bleiben ist nirgends"; Kaleidoscope of the Senses; For Arnold Pines.
During the twilight years of the British Raj Trevor Braham spent much of his boyhood in India where, in the mid-1930s, he attended a boarding school in Darjeeling for four years. Dwelling within sight of the magnificent spectacle of Kangchenjunga and its satellite peaks exerted a strong influence upon him, arousing later ambitions. After early trips to Sikkim he joined the Himalayan Club marking a threshold of half-a-lifetime of adventures and activities in the mountain ranges spread across the northern regions of the Indian sub-continent, from Sikkim in the South-east to Chitral in the North-west in an environment very different from the present day. His halcyon years extended from 1942 to 1972, part of the earlier period corresponding with the Himalayan Golden Age in the 1960A 's when an international frenzy developed for climbing the world's highest mountains. In between he enjoyed summer climbing in the Swiss Alps, joining the Alpine Club and the Swiss Alpine Club.As one of the Himalayan Club's earliest members, he was invited to give the opening address at its 80th anniversary celebrations held in Mumbai in February 2008. Trevor Braham's final work on his life and times in the Himalayas is an insight into the Golden Age of Himalayan exploration when he spent all of his free time until he married on numerous expeditions into the world's greatest mountain range. This is a telling insight into a time when mountains were not subjected to the all-out onslaught of tourit climbers ticking off the peaks as they went, leaving a landscape littered with waste. These are the recollections of a bygone era in mountaineering, never to return.
The sport of mountaineering was pioneered 150 years ago by a diverse cross-section of Victorians, following in the footsteps of earlier local explorers who ventured into the upper regions of ice and snow in search of game and minerals. By the early years of the 19th century, a growing interest in the study of geological and glaciological phenomena attracted scientific interest in the origins of the Alps. It was only in the latter half of that century when, by the 1850s, interest in the largly unexplored Alpine peaks began to capture the public imagination, and a sharp increase developed in the numbers of those who tried to scale them. So intense was the level of exploration and achievement that the next decade was labelled the Alpine Golden Age. By the turn of the century the new sport had not only expanded vastly, but had begun to acquire a degree of respectability. The development of new skills and techniques resulted in greater accomplishments, whilst retaining the spirit and traditions of the pioneers. In this book the mountaineer and writer Trevor Braham illustrates aspects of the character and achievements of some of the early Victorian climbers, and their response to the unique attractions of mountaineering. These include Leslie Stephen (the father of Virginia Woolf), Alfred Wills, John Tyndall, Adolphus Warburton Moore, Edward Whymper (the first to conquer the Matterhorn), Albert Frederick Mummery and many more. Trevor Braham's comprehensive history on this perod of Alpine mountaineering is essential to any mountaineer's bookshelf.
2009 marked the 300th anniversary of the rescue of Alexander Selkirk, the Fife mariner who became the inspiration for Daniel Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe". The story is told not only by the author but also through the words of those who knew Selkirk with three colourful contemporary accounts of Selkirk's island experiences on Juan Fernandez - two by the sailors who rescued him from the island, 300 miles off the coast of Chile (Capt Edward Cooke and Capt Woodes Rogers) and one by Sir Richard Steele, who talked with Selkirk after his homecoming. Selkirk had spent four and a half years on the island. Wilson also delves into Defoe's construction of Crusoe from Selkirk's experiences and his youth in Fife. He also covers the dramatic circumstances of his abandonment on the island when he asked to be stranded rather than risk drowning in the unseaworthy Cinque Ports.Selkirk was right, the ship sank and the crew perished. Having been adopted as master of the ship that rescued him, Selkirk got his privateering career immediately back on track and, thanks to the success of this expedition, became a rich man. When he returned as such to Lower Largo - entering the church in all his new finery - his family and the common people almost fell at his feet. But this triumphant moment did not last. He became bored and nostalgic for his island (often sitting at a point overlooking the Forth to try to conjure it up) and, after starting a relationship with a local girl, he - and she - went backdown to London.The story does not have a particularly happy ending. While his Fife lass felt uncomfortable in London society, Selkirk abandoned her in two ways - he took another woman as a wife and went off to sea again, as lieutenant aboard HMS Weymouth. While the ship was sailing off the west coast of Africa in 1723, it was struck by yellow fever and Alexander Selkirk was among the many crew members who died. He was aged 47 and the 'new' woman finally won the long and ugly tussle over his remaining fortune.
The lands in the north of Britain in what we now called Scotland, then occupied by Celtic settlers, never became part of the Roman empire, in spite of being invaded several times. The northernmost frontier of the empire was fortified for only a few years after the battle of Mons Graupius in AD 84, when the Caledonians were defeated by Gnaeus Julius Agricola. Work on the construction of an alternative frontier, represented by the elaborate defenses of the Antonine Wall, began in about 142. It was maintained hardly longer than 25 years, and by 180 the Roman invaders had retreated back to Hadrian's Wall. After further Celtic activity, a temporary truce was negotiated personally by the emperor Septimus Severus in 209. Thereafter, until their empire began to collapse, the Romans maintained a fragile hold on Hadrian's Wall in the face of furious attacks by marauding Picts and Scotti (Scots), and a combined operation by land and sea in 367 against the whole of Roman Britain by the northern Celts in an alliance with the Franks and Saxons. "The Last Frontier" is a fresh account of these momentous events and the background to them, based on a reassessment of the original sources and on recent archaeological evidence. Extracts from Latin texts, including Tacitus, who wrote a biography of Agricola, are in new translations. The author also sets the involvement of Rome in the context of the development of Scotland from prehistoric times to nationhood.
What is often forgotten about Robert Burns is that he was a prolific writer of letters and had the ability to correspond with people from every walk of life. Whereas his poems and songs were composed in the Scots dialect, his letters were written in perfect English prose. Many of his letters to his platonic lover, Clarinda, are to be found here along with many from Clarinda to Burns. The depth of feeling portrayed in this correspondence between two young people is compelling reading. His letters of advice to his young brother, William, are both serious and amusing. A letter of apology following a night of revelry at Friar's Carse is a masterpiece in its own right, as indeed are many more. Burns wrote like a man possessed. His quill could stab like a rapier or be used as a broadsword to cut down his enemies. It was a tool in his seduction of the fair sex and was also used to flatter his aristocratic friends. He revelled in his correspondence with Mrs Francis Anna Dunlop simply because she was a descendant of William Wallace. He describes in graphic detail the problems he encountered with the family of Jean Armour, revealing his intention to flee to the West Indies. This selection of letters offers a fascinating insight into his lifes, his many romances, his fame and fortune and then his slide back to poverty and early death.