Saturday, January 11, 2014

Stone Voices by Neal Ascherson

Subtitled The search for Scotland, this is a voyage into the historical Scottish psyche. The stones of the title refer to the geology of Scotland, the ancient standing stones erected by ancient Scots and most of all to the Stone of Destiny, used for centuries in the coronation of the monarchs of Scotland then the monarchs of England. In 1996 the Stone was returned to Scotland in a symbolic gesture.

Stone Voices outlines the history of Scottish cultural identity from ancient times to 2002 when the book was written. Rather too much is written about the Bus Tour for Devolution which the author participated in during the 1997 Referendum campaign. Otherwise this is a fascinating and insightful exploration of Scotland, her geology, archeology, myths, legends, history, cultural attitudes and relationship with the world. Ascherson covers both internal relationships such as the divide between Highland and Lowland Scotland and external relationships including the extensive and successful Scottish settlements in Poland during the early seventeenth century.

Recommended reading as we draw ever closer to a new referendum on the future of Scotland.

Stone Voices by Neal Ascherson published by Hill and Wang (Macmillan). 

And if you're really keen on being well informed on the forthcoming referendum, you may wish to read the White Paper on Scottish Independence.

1 comment:

A Cuban In London said...

Lovely review. I'm about to finish a book written by an Irish author but which takes place in Scotland. Fascinating. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.