Edinburgh: The Autobiography
by Alan Taylor
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About the Book
From one of the earliest mentions of its name in the sixth century to the Covid lockdowns of the twenty-first, this is a magnificent portrait of one of the world’s great cities in its many iterations, from ‘Edinburgh, the sink of abomination’ to the Athens of the North and everything – including the home of the Enlightenment, the Festival City, the Aids Capital of Europe and a Mecca for tourists seeking tartan tat – in between.
As the nation’s capital it has been critical to its progress and a witness to epochal events, such the tumultuous reign of Mary, Queen of Scots, the Reformation, the Forty-Five rebellion, the Disruption of the Church of Scotland and the reconvening of the Scottish Parliament. All of these and more feature. But this is not simply a book about the great and good, the famous and infamous. There is testimony aplenty from ordinary folk who may not have made their mark on history but who have contributed to Edinburgh’s ever-expanding tapestry.
There are stories body snatching and murder, drunkenness and drug-taking, sex and shopping, as well rants against inclement weather and the city council.
Alan Taylor has been a journalist for over 30 years. He was deputy editor and managing editor of The Scotsman, and for 15 years was Writer-at-Large for the Sunday Herald. He has contributed to numerous publications, including The Times Literary Supplement, The New Yorker and The Melbourne Age and was co-founder and editor of The Scottish Review of Books. He was editor of the centenary editions of the collected novels of Muriel Spark and has edited several acclaimed anthologies, including The Assassin’s Cloak (2000). He also wrote the bestselling Appointment in Arezzo: A Friendship with Muriel Spark (2017). He also edited Madly, Deeply: The Alan Rickman Diaries (2022).
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