Tir a' Mhurain
The Outer Hebrides of Scotland
In 1954, when the world was living under the shadow of nuclear war, the acclaimed modernist photographer Paul Strand spent three months among the people of the Outer Hebridean island of South Uist, a community whose traditional way of life was under threat from a plan to build an American missile base. This collection of black-and-white portraits of Scottish people, landscapes and architectural details documents his stay.
A Biography of Tom Johnston
As Scottish Secretary in Churchill’s war cabinet, Tom Johnston helped lay the foundations of the NHS; later, he brought electricity to remote parts of Scotland. Tracing his ideals to his early career as a campaigning journalist, this biography celebrates his fighting spirit and lasting achievements.
Tales from the Tent
Jessie's Journey Continues
Having grown up in Scotland’s Traveller community in an old bus with her parents and seven sisters, Jess takes to the road in caravans, stopping at campsites and lay-bys in pursuit of work – berry picking, haystacking and fortune-telling. Alongside recollections of her family and her first loves and losses, she recounts campfire tales of ghosts, mythical beasts and supernatural encounters.
The Summer Walkers
Travelling People and Pearl-Fishers in the Highlands of Scotland
Known to the Highlands crofters as ‘the Summer Walkers’, the travelling tinsmiths, hawkers, horse-dealers and pearl-fishers are indigenous, Gaelic-speaking Scots who go from village to village, buying, selling and entertaining. First published in 1996, this book documents a way of life vanishing even then: the work, songs and stories of the Travelling People – mainly of Sutherland and Ross-shire – are described in their own words and with their photographs. Finally, there are notes on Traveller origins, ‘cover tongue’, routes and campsites.
Requiem for a Himalayan Kingdom
Sikkim, a tiny Buddhist kingdom sandwiched between India and China, survived the withdrawal of the British Empire and the Chinese invasion of Tibet. Then, in 1975, it was quietly annexed by India, bringing its 300-year-old dynasty to an end. Drawing on interviews and archive material, and retracing a 1922 journey by the author's grandfather, this book tells the remarkable story of this forgotten Shangri-La, its last king and his American wife, and the global power struggles that spelled its doom.
Scotland for Gardeners
The Ultimate Guide to Scottish Gardens, Nurseries and Garden Centres
Arranged by geographical area and illustrated with colour photographs, this comprehensive guide to Scottish gardens includes a detailed description of each location, recommendations on the best time of year to visit and what to look out for, an introduction to the history of gardening in Scotland and information about specialist nurseries, garden centres, wildflower walks and public parks.
A Rum Affair
A True Story of Botanical Fraud
In 1954, Professor John Heslop Harrison published his discovery of several plants on the island of Rum that were found nowhere else in Britain – they had, he claimed, survived the Ice Age. John Raven, a gifted amateur botanist, went to investigate and revealed Harrison’s claim as untrue, but academic botanists closed ranks and Raven’s report was never published. Karl Sabbagh tells the story of the two men and this strange episode of botanical fraud.
Not a Plack the Richer
Argyll's Mining Story
After explaining the geology of the Argyll region and why mining minerals there proved so frustrating for the landowners and prospectors who complained that they never made a plack (a four-penny piece) from the mines, Marian Pallister’s history of Argyll mining for coal, lead, copper, zinc, silver, nickel and gold, silica and strontium, looks at the working conditions and the lives of the miners and their families, the decline of the mines and their legacy to the region.
Memoirs of a Foreign Correspondent
Looking back over 45 years’ involvement with Russia, the foreign correspondent recalls his youthful experience working as a translator and living in a half-built apartment on the outskirts of Moscow. He witnessed the tyranny of the Soviet Union, the chaos of the Yeltsin years, and the new autocracy of Vladimir Putin, for whom he worked as a media consultant. Poignant, funny and chilling, his account offers an insight into the politics and everyday life of the country.
Minister of Money
Henry Duncan, Founder of the Savings Bank Movement
A parish minister in Dumfriesshire, the Reverend Henry Duncan (1774–1846) was also a poet, novelist, geologist and social reformer. This biography explores the ways in which he fused the at-times antagonistic traditions of Presbyterianism and the Scottish enlightenment in his greatest achievement: the founding of the world's first community savings bank. Designed to help the ‘industrious poor’ save for times of hardship, the idea would eventually lift many out of poverty.
An Island and Its People
On the southern end of the Outer Hebrides, Mingulay was abandoned by its inhabitants in 1912 and is now owned by the National Trust for Scotland. Ben Buxton, who investigated its archaeological sites in the 1990s, tells the story of the island and its three neighbours, Berneray, Pabbay and Sandray, since the earliest human occupation; and he describes the lives, work, lore and religion of its isolated population and the hardships that forced them to leave.
Hidden Heritage of the Three Towns
Once three distinct settlements, Devonport, neighbouring Stonehouse and the historic port of Plymouth now comprise the modern city of Plymouth. This history of the area looks beneath the extensive bomb damage and the modernist redevelopments that swept away much of the old street layout to reveal how Plymouth developed, and describes the lives of its citizens, identifies relics of the past and tells the stories of notable people and events.
The Great Garden
Castles at Achinduin and Coeffin, an Iron Age broch at Tirfuir, two Bronze Age cairns, the remains of the medieval cathedral of Argyll, and evidence of lime-burning industry at Sailean: the relatively fertile island of Lismore (Lios Mòr, ‘the great garden’) at the mouth of the Great Glen has attracted settlement since the Neolithic era. From prehistory to the present, Robert Hay traces the fortunes of the island and the conflicts over its possession, from Vikings to Campbells.