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Part of a "Traveller's History" series, Fisher's Scotland paints a bleak, bloody picture of the country most of us associate with clans, tartans, and Robert Burns. The title is something of a misnomer. Fisher, who serves as archivist to the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry and administrator of Drumlanrig Castle, and has produced a biography of William Wallace, gives us a political history that largely ignores Scotland's unique culture and landscape. The fascinating Chapter 1, "The First Scotland," acquaints us with the original Scots who came from Europe to create an agrarian, coastal society before the appearance of the Romans and, later, marauding bands of Vikings. The remainder of the book is a gloomy recounting of battles for power, on the field and in the bedroom. In his attempt to provide a comprehensive history, Fisher misses the mark for his prospective audience of travelers; his text reads like a dry lecture of names, dates, and bare events lacking in background color. The book includes maps, a list of rulers and monarchs, a chronology of major events, and a historical gazetteer, making it a handy reference source. Recommended for libraries needing a concise history of Scotland.DJanet Ross, Sparks Branch Lib., NV Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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