> Blue Guide: Scotland
A comprehensive, detailed tourist guide to Scotland. No glossy pictures, just lots of descriptive text so you don't miss anything on your journey round Scotland.
Castles of Western and Northern Scotland
One of a series of books on specific areas of Scotland, this one covers 240 castles in its defined area. In addition to black and white illustrations there are plan drawings of a number of the buildings.
The Castles of Scotland
The definitive book on Scottish castles with around 2,000 locations listed and lots of black and white illustrations. Useful sections on ghosts and family names associated with particular castles.
Castles of the Heartland of Scotland
One of a series of books on specific areas of Scotland, this one covers 250 castles in its defined area. In addition to black and white illustrations there are plan drawings of a number of the buildings.
Central Glasgow - an Illustrated Architectural Guide
A prolifically illustrated guide to the many wonderful buildings in the City of Glasgow produced by the Royal Institute of Architects in Scotland.
A Century of the Scottish People, 1830-1950
Prof T C Smout
A detailed social history of Scotland, written in a readable style and full of facts and figures to back up the opinions. See also "History of the Scottish People 1560-1830".
Collins Encyclopaedia of Scotland
John and Julia Keay
The definitive encyclopaedia of Scotland. 1,000 pages on every aspect of the country, its people and its history. Everyone can be an expert on Scotland with this book by their side.
You can read my extended review of this book.
Daily Telegraph Castles & Ancient Monuments of Scotland
Extensive guide to visting castles and other historic sites in Scotland with lots of colour illustrations and maps. It covers around 200 locations across Scotland that are open to the public and is divided into specific areas, making it easier to plan your visits.
192 pages, paperback.
Hans Walter Arends
Scotland is Germany's number one tourist destination and this book has been written in German by a qualified member of the Scottish Tourist Guide Association with those visitors in mind. Historic Scotland's review of an earlier book on Scotland book said "Arends takes a critical but very loyal look ... and readers will find an exciting, interesting and personal view on Scotland that few official publications can deliver." The book is of course also available via Amazon.de
A Doric Dictionary
"Fit like dictionary"? How to converse with the Aberdonians in their own terms. 128 pages. Paperback.
Edinburgh: an Illustrated Architectural Guide
One of a series of books from the Royal Institute of Architects in Scotland, it covers all the main historical buildings in Scotland's capital city with with over 600 black-and-white and colour illustrations and detailed text describing each location. The first edition of this book was described as "the best architectural guide to any city in the UK." The second edition has been expanded and includes some colour illustrations.
236 pages, paperback. (When the link was last checked Amazon only had second-hand copies of this book).
Eilean Dubh: The Black Isle
Andrew Dowsett, James A Moore, Russell J Turner
A book of glorious pictures of Eilean Dubh: The Black Isle, by three professional Black Isle photographers. You can flick through the pages of all the pages (in thumbnail format) to preview the delights inside at Russell Turner's Web site. Not often you can see all the pages of an illustrated book on-line!
120 pages, paperback
The "Father of Scottish Mountain Rescue", Hamish MacInnes, has put his knowledge of mountain climbing and experiences on Scottish peaks in winter (and expeditions at the triple border point of Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana searching for Inca gold) into writing a fast-moving novel based on places he knows well, such as the Great Stack on the island of Sanday. Two ex-Special Forces officers (and a glamorous marine archaeologist) go searching for Templar treasure but come up against competitors who will stop at nothing to beat them. Courage, ingenuity and some high tech equipment are on their side, however, producing a tense and exciting tale.
Flowers of the Forest
Jan was born in Dunfermline in Fife and read English at Edinburgh University. She has published 20 books and is planninng to publish future historical novels with a Scottish backgound. "Flowers of the Forest" shows the cataclysmic event of the Jacobite Uprising of 1745 from the point of view of ordinary Scots. It moves from the eighteenth century Edinburgh to the awesome beauty of the Highlands. It paints an unforgettable picture of Scotland during one of its most exciting and turbulent episodes.
Gaelic Dictionary: Gaelic-English/English-Gaelic
If the little pocket dictionaries are not sufficient for your needs then this one, with a guide to pronouncing the words and giving their origins is just for you.
Colin Milton, Editor
It was a pleasure to find that a new edition of the poems of Charles Murray (1864-1941) has been created by Colin Milton on behalf of the Charles Murray Memorial Fund. Previous editions are out of print and this new volume not only includes all of Murray's poetry (covering some from his very first volume, which were not included in later collections) but also has an extended glossary and an explanation of many of the proper names and allusions in the poems. Colin Milton has written an extensive introduction and appreciation of Murray and his works and is also includes the introductions to the earlier editions as appendices. Not currently available via Amazon, copies can be purchased from Colin Milton via email@example.com.
Handfast: Scottish Poems for Weddings...
The Scottish Poetry Library (SPL) has been a major source of the poems and songs which have appeared over the years in the Scottish poetry and songs section of Rampant Scotland. Now Lizzie MacGregor, assistant librarian at the SPL, has published a book of Scottish poems for weddings and affirmations entitled "Handfast" (the Scots word for betrothal or engagement by the joining of hands). It's a lovely book, full of well selected wee gems. Lizzie has collected a great mixture of "something old, something new" ranging from an extract from a 15th century manuscript, through Burns to present-day writers.
Handsel: Scottish Poems for Welcoming and Naming Babies
Another great book by Lizzie MacGregor, assistant librarian at the Scottish Poetry Library (SPL). With her expert knowledge, she has produced a great selection of Scottish poems celebrating the arrival of a baby or to help in the naming of the new arrival. So whether you have just become a parent or you want to give an appropriate gift to someone who has just had a "bairn", here is a joyous and thoughtful book. Handsel is the Scots word for gift intended to bring good luck, after all!
Norman Adams, Peter Underwood
Hauntings from castles to mansions, oil rigs to caravan parks, told in spine-chilling detail. Are you brave enough to read this book? 208 pages. Paperback
Heritage of Scotland
A comprehensive and well illustrated cultural history of Scotland and its people. 160 pages. Large format hardback.
Highland Homecomings: Genealogy and Heritage Tourism in the Scottish Diaspora
This book explores the cultural connections between people of Scottish descent throughout the world, with their Mother country. It explores the journeys people with Scottish ancestry, who are now dispersed throughout the world, make to the Scottish Highlands and Islands to undertake genealogical research and seek out sites associated with their forebears. Through these genealogical journeys, individuals are able to construct meaningful self-narratives from the ambiguities of their diasporic migrant histories, and so recover a more secure sense of home and self-identity.
This is a first historical novel by American writer Diana Cosby - but it won't be her last. She writes with pace about turbulent times on the Scottish/English border about a Scot who kidnaps an English titled lady and holds her to ransom - and as a pawn in his quest to avenge his father's murder. Although there is an inevitability about these two falling in love (it is a romantic drama, after all), Diana Cosby writes in a way that captures your attention. It's a testament to the quality of the writing that you want the (somewhat steamy) entanglement of the two characters to work out in the end.
A History of the Scottish People, 1560-1830
Prof T C Smout
Prof Smout is an Englishman and some of his interpretations of Scottish history are not always palatable to Scottish readers. But his views are backed up with historical references and facts and are highly regarded. See also "History of the Scottish People 1830-1950".
The Hogmanay Companion
Origins and traditions of the festival Scotland gave the world, plus recipes, drinks, toasts, songs - and how to cope with the morning after! 163 pages. Paperback.
Hoots: an Anthology of Scottish Comic Writing
Edited by Susie Maguire and David Jackson Young
An entertaining collection of prose and poetry ranging from Chic Murray to Ludovic Kennedy and Irvine Welsh. There is Tom Morton's memories of miserable midge-ridden holidays and Angus Dreichmore's Christmas on a croft. The Scots like to laugh as they suffer!
You can read my extended review of this book.
The Scottish Enlightenment
This book is subtitled (in North America) as "The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World and Everything in It". In the UK, the hyperbole is toned down a bit to "The Scottish Enlighteenment: The Scots' Invention of the Modern World". Herman has been professor of history at both George Mason and Georgetown Universities and is also the Co-ordinator of the Smithsonian Western Heritage Program. He points out that after the Union of the Scottish and English parliaments in 1707, there were many who thought that this would lead to the decline of Scottish Culture. Indeed many educated Scots of the time tried to get rid of their local accents and referred to Scotland as "North Britain". So the flowering, a few decades later, of what became known as "The Scottish Enlightenment" is even more remarkable. That was a time when Scottish thinkers such as David Hume and Adam Smith established the basis of modern politics, economics morals and cultural life and Sir Walter Scott redefined (with a certain amount of literary licence) what it was to be a Scotsman. Their ideas gave inspiration to the American Revolution and, combined with the indigenous Scottish Presbyterian work ethic and inventiveness, put Scotland at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution. For many reasons, Scots were also at the forefront of the expansion of the British Empire both as soldiers and administrators. If you are looking for arguments to demonstrate the contribution that Scots and those of Scots descent have made to the world, you'll find some bonnie bullets in this book!
392 pages, hardback and paperback.
I Never Knew That About Scotland
A collection of information that is full of surprises and hidden gems about Scotland. Divided into sections by county (those that existed until 1974, that is)and illustrated with delightful line drawings. This is a book to browse through and learn more about Scotland and the Scots.
276 pages, hardback.
In Search of Scotland
Edited by Gordon Menzies
Based on a BBC Scotland TV series which was a welcome antidote to English-biased history documentaries. The book is well illustrated with a good selection in both colour and black and white. In addition to chapters on the origins of the Scottish people and their wars, it covers aspects such as the Scots in Europe and the contribution of the Scots in the modern world. Each chapter has a different contributor and is edited by the producer of the TV series.
In Search of Scotland
Incredible to think that a travel book first published in 1929 should still be as popular and as fresh as this one. I first took this book from my father's bookshelf many years ago and recently bought my own copy. While the style is perhaps a bit dated (though the prose is often worth quoting and the book is hard to put down), the wealth of information gives a fresh insight into many areas of Scotland and its history. Paperback. 337 pages.
Lament: Scottish Poems for Funerals and Consolation
Lizzie MacGregor, assistant librarian at the Scottish Poetry Library (SPL), has published a book of Scottish poems on a number of subjects and this one provides a wonderful selection of poems which give comfort at times of loss and grieving. Most of us find it difficult to express ourselves on such occasions. Just as the lament of the Scottish bagpipes can provide a unique musical tribute, the warmth and gentleness of Scots words give solace at a difficult time. And of course poets often seem more be able to find the right words to match our feelings and emotions.
Land Lines is a beautifully illustrated book offering the reader the ultimate literary tour of Scotland. It is an illustrated journey through the landscape and literature of Scotland, with specially commissioned photographs by Marius Alexander and Paul Basu. This book is for Scots everywhere, visitors passing through and for all who appreciate great Scottish writing, captured with the beauty of the land that has inspired it.
You can read an extended illustrated review of this book.
The dust-jacket of this book of Scottish humour declares "It's a wee hoot" but they are being unduly modest for Allan Morrison has done it again. Already the author of Cummoangetaff!
(The Adventures of Big Aggie MacDonald, the Glasgow Tramcar Clippie), " Haud Yer Wheesht! (Your Scottish Granny's Favourite Sayings), " Oor Wee School...wis a Rare Wee... (Classroom Capers from Scottish Schoolchildren) and " Ye Cannae Shove Yer Granny Aff a... (Scots Grandchildren on Their Grannies), Allan Morrison has produced a large compendium of Scottish-related jokes. The subject matter covers the expected areas - kilts, bagpipes, Scots at worship, football, golf, prudence and money, Scottish history plus the Scottish parliament, police - and the English. But unlike other books of its type, it has a large proportion of new humour rather than some of the old chestnuts.
The Lion in the North
Sub-titled "One thousand years of Scotland's history" this is a most readable history of Scotland by the master Canadian historian with many illustrations.
Luckenbooth - an Anthology of Edinburgh Poetry
Edited by Lizzie MacGregor
This collection of poems about many aspects of Edinburgh has obviously been edited by someone who has fallen in love with Scotland's capital city. There are works by the likes of Robert Louis Stevenson and Sir Walter Scott, but there is also a focus on 20th century authors - as we would expect from Lizzie MacGregor, an assistant librarian at the Scottish Poetry Library. Readers may be find some old friends, such as Ferguson's "Auld Reekie", but with a knowledgeable editor at the helm, there's plenty of new poetry too. The light-hearted "Peevers in Parliament Square", for example, is a joy.
Mark of the Scots : Their Astonishing Contributions to History, Science, Democracy, Literature, and the Arts
Duncan A Bruce
A comprehensive survey of the contribution made by Scots from science to arts and politics to exploration. Full of facts and information about all the Scots who have made their mark on the world.
The Orkney Guide Book
A glorious book full of information and pictures of these Northern isles. As Charles Tait is a professional photographer, the book is full of great photographs. The text is informative and provides a lot of Historical background as well as current information. It has everything you need to know about Orkney and over 500 photographs and maps. After a virtual reality visit to Orkney via these pages you may be encouraged to visit these northern isles for real - I know that I was!
255 pages, paperback.
The Picts and the Scots
Lloyd and Jenny Laing
Explanations about the origins and culture of te earliest inhabitants of Scotland. Lots of (mainly) black and white illustrations of the sculptured stones and sites.
Relish Scotland: Original Recipes from the Regions Finest Chefs
Duncan Peters (editor)
Relish Scotland provides an insight into the signature dishes of chefs in a fine selection of Restaurants and Hotels scattered across the nation with great places to eat in Glasgow and Edinburgh, from Dumfries and Galloway to Skye, from Scottish Borders to Aberdeenshire. The contents section is attractively set out, almost menu style with starters, mains, desserts and restaurants so that you can mix and match or reproduce a complete meal. The sections themselves give an introduction to each of the establishments and are attractively illustrated by excellent photographs of the venues, chefs and the finished dishes. The recipes comprise ingredients list and (for the most part) commendably short method instructions, which do inspire an attempt at a dish that might grace the tables of one of Scotland's finest restaurants.
There is an extended review of this book by travel writer Vivien Devlin here
The Rough Guide to Scotland
By 17 researchers
Packed with information about getting around Scotland, what to see, where to stay and where to eat. When asked for tourist information about places in Scotland, this is one of the two reference books I use. No illustrations apart from maps.
Scotland Highlands & Islands
A guide book to the whole of the Highlands and Islands covering practical advice on all the tourist locations and attractions as well as places to stay, eat, walk, climb, ski - or just relax! With local maps and black and white line drawings.
374 pages, paperback.
Taking a different approach to Scotland's Place Names, David Dorward's book takes many of the elements that go to make up the names of Scotish locations and provides their origin, going on to give examples of place names using these elements. There is also a complete index if you are looking for a specific place name.
170 pages, paperback.
Scotland's Roman Remains
This is a classic handbook and guide to the Romans in Scotland with details of all the main places where the Romans left their mark on Scotland. There is a gazetteer which is useful for visitors and an extensive section on the Antonine Wall which ran across the width of Scotlnd from the river Clyde to the river Forth. With maps and black and white photos.
196 pages, paperback.
Scotland Visitors' Atlas and Guide (A-Z Street Atlas)
A-Z Map Company
These days, Google Maps offer a fantastic service but browsing a printed map to plan a route or find a location or tourist attraction along the way has its advantages on occasions. And one with 100 large, clear pages is just ideal for home reference or in the car. It not only covers the whole country at a scale of slightly over three miles to the inch but has a large section of individual town plans.
104 pages, paperback.
Compiled by Andrew Martine
Scotland's weather is ever changing and this delightful anthology of prose, poetry and graphics provides an equally varied collection.
The Scots Cellar
F Marian McNeill
A celebration of not just whisky but beer wine, cocktails, ale and recipes too. A compendium of history, traditions, sociology, hospitality, conviviality - and bacchanalian songs and poems. 290 pages. Paperback.
A Scots Parliament (Itchy Coo)
This is one of series of 16 books under the title of "Itchy Coo" to encourage schoolchildren to use Scots words which they come across every day. This one is a useful guide to the origins of the Scottish Parliament from medieval times through the Union of the Parliaments to the present day. And the entire book is written in Scots. 128 pages. Paperback.
Edited by Iseabail MacLeod
A treasure trove of the Scots language, divided into categories for easy reference. Over 20,000 Scots words with an English index making this a useful dictionary as well.
Scottish Battles - from Mons Graupius to Culloden
Not just details of the main conflicts but a history of the historical context in which they were fought.
Scottish Castle and Fortifications
Richard Lewis Campbell Dargie
Beautifully illustrated book on the history of a selection of Scottish castles and fortifications. All the main castles are covered, certainly all those that are on the tourist castle trails. Dargie has written over 30 books and acts aas historical consultant to the BBc so he knows how to communicate well.
128 pages, paperback.
Scottish Football Quotations
A second volume of quotes from footballers and commentators. Scotland on Sunday described it as "Funny and sad, serious and hilarious, thoughtful but also scented with the hot odour of the downright silly."
The origins and meanings of all the popular and many of the lesser-known forenames in use in Scotland.
You can read my extended review of this book.
The Scottish Nation: 1700-2000
Prof Tom Devine
A huge book (over 600 pages) which was published in 2000 and, for a book on Scottish history, became an instant "best seller" even in hardback (it is now available in a paperback edition). I like Tom Devine's books as they do not always follow the previously accepted views of historians but he backs up his assessments with well-researched facts, sometimes based on modern research and analysis. The depth of the book may be more than some general readers would require.
Scottish Place Names
Although it's a small book it packs in a lot of information about the origins of almost 2,000 place names in Scotland. Shows the influence of Gaelic, Norwegian, Latin and Anglo-Saxon on Scotland's place names.
96 pages, paperback
A step-by-step guide for ancestor-hunters in Scotland and elsewhere, written by a Welshman to help his Scots wife trace her roots.
This is the book I reach for first when asked "can you tell me about my family name?" One of the Collins Pocket Reference series it is packed with information about the origins and histories of over 1,000 names.
Singing Sleuth Goes Home
On the face of it, this is a "whodunnit" - but it has so much more... First of all there's the major Scottish element -and not just that it's set in Scotland and includes Scottish characters. The author has clearly done a lot of local research so there's plenty of local colour from around Inverness as well as the Scottish legal system and local culture, tourism and whisky distilling. Then there's the romantic element, as Alec DunBarton takes his American fiancée back to his Scottish home - a hotel where a writers' conference is taking place. Then Alec's mother creates problems for the couple with her Presbyterian objections to them sharing a bedroom while planning their wedding. Award-winning American author D.B. Barton also uses her experiences of writers' conferences and the motley collection of characters who turn up at such a gathering - in this book, any one of them could be the perpetrator of the murder of an egotistical literary agent. It's a while since I've read a detective story, but all the various elements resulted in me rattling through the pages, wanting to find out what happens next. Of course, I ended up being surprised by "whodunnit"!
200 pages. Paperback.
Slogans and Warcries of Scotland of Old
This is much more than just a catalogue of the slogans and warcries of Scottish clans, districts, towns and families of both the highlands and lowlands of Scotland. It tells the stories of how and why the slogans and warcries of individual clans were begun and is lavishly illustrated with pictures of Scotland, its individual clans and the areas where they were based.
200+ pages, hardback.
The Surnames of Scotland
George F Black
The standard, authorative reference book for all known Scottish surnames with staggering detail on origins and early history of over 8,000 surnames found in Scotland. 889 pages. Hardback.
Tom Shields: Free at Last
Culled from the humourous column in the "Herald" newspaper, highlighting some of the more absurd examples from around Scotland.
Traditional Scottish Cookery
All the traditional mouthwatering recipes from marmalade to kippers, oatcakes and shortbread. 288 pages. Paperback.
Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors
Produced by the Scottish Records Office this sets out all the resources available to those researching their family tree. 153 pages. Paperback.
Why Did the Haggis Cross the Road?
Not just jokes about haggis - Nessie, kilts and tartan, football, bagpipes, whisky, thrifty Scotsand Scottish insults all get their own chapter in this big wee book of jokes with a Scottish flavour.
155 pages, paperback.
The World's Best Scottish Jokes
Lots of the standard Scottish jokes about kilts, whisky, thriftyness. 96 pages. Paperback
Ye Ken Noo!
Written in response to the question "What have the Scots ever done," the answer is a compendium of brief biographical details of over 1,600 notable Scottish personalities and their impact in every field of human endeavour.