Clearance and Improvement
Land, Power and People in Scotland, 1700-1900
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About the Book
Social and economic changes included an increase in production of food and raw materials, in turn sustaining the remarkable growth of towns and cities over this period. However, in the folk memory of Scotland the social and cultural costs of the revolution loom much larger: the loss of land for many thousands of families; the rise of individualism and the decline of neighborhood; the death of old rural societies which had formed Scotland's character for many generations. The drama and tragedy of Highland history during this period have attracted many authors, whereas the Lowland experience, that of the majority of Scots, hardly any.
This book attempts to redress that balance, and in so doing examines why this extraordinary era, inextricably associated with failure, famine and clearance in Gaeldom, is remembered as one of 'improvements' in the Lowlands, where the folk memory of dispossession, if it ever existed, is long lost in collective amnesia. In so doing, Devine addresses an issue which goes right to the heart of the nation's past.
Sir Tom Devine is the Sir William Fraser Professor Emeritus of Scottish History and Palaeography at the University of Edinburgh. He is the author or editor of more that forty books on Scottish historical studies and related fields. The only historian to be knighted by HM The Queen ‘for services to the study of Scottish history’, he has been described by The Times newspaper as ‘as close to a national bard as the nation has’.
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