Rampant Scotland Book Review
Collins Encyclopaedia of Scotland
Title: Collins Encyclopaedia of Scotland
Authors: John and Julia Keay
Publisher: Harper Collins, London
Want to become an expert on all aspects of Scotland? Then this is the book for you. Weighing in at over 1,000 pages it will not only exercise your mind but also your arm muscles. Scotland's past, her people, arts, industries, environment, geography, biography and traditions are covered by an army of over 100 expert contributors.
The standard encyclopaedia format of listing all the items in alphabetical order is followed, except that larger subjects, (like Edinburgh, Glasgow, geology or railways, for example), have extended essays pulling together the various elements of their subject. There is also a good index so that you can track down all the references to, say, Bonnie Prince Charlie or Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
John Keay is a writer, broadcaster and historian with a string of books to his name. Julia Keay is also a writer (author of "The Spy Who Never Was") and has written several documentaries for BBC Radio Scotland. They live in Argyll, Scotland.
Due to its sheer scale, this is a unique book which will delight all those with an interest in Scotland and the Scots. The entries are not only well researched but written in a most readable style with lots of black and white illustrations to add to the word pictures. While it is clearly intended as a frequently accessed reference book to answer all your questions about this corner of the world, you will find yourself browsing through the pages exclaiming "Gee! I didn't know that!"
Distilling and presenting information in an accessible format is a Scottish specialty - after all the Encyclopaedia Britannica was founded by a Scot. So it is perhaps not surprising that this very readable and comprehensive reference work has been published. What is more surprising is that there are no other comparable volumes to provide any competition!
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