Saturday, August 13, 2011

4 Books on the Scottish Diaspora: 2 New Ones, 2 Not so New Ones

A while ago I noticed that Tom Devine had given a talk on his forthcoming book, To The Ends of the Earth.  Since I didn't know about the talk, let alone the book, I went to Amazon to investigate. I found not one new book relating to he Scottish Diaspora, but four. Two have not yet been published, the other two are new to me.

Highland Homecomings: Genealogy and Heritage Tourism in the Scottish DiasporaHighland Homecomings: Genealogy and Heritage Tourism in the Scottish Diaspora by Paul Basu was published in 2006. I heard Paul speak at a conference when I was in Glasgow and was really fascinated by his project. From the product description on Amazon: "The first full-length ethnographic study of its kind, Highland Homecomings examines the role of place, ancestry and territorial attachment in the context of a modern age characterized by mobility and rootlessness. With an interdisciplinary approach, speaking to current themes in anthropology, archaeology, history, historical geography, cultural studies, migration studies, tourism studies, Scottish studies, Paul Basu explores the journeys made to the Scottish Highlands and Islands to undertake genealogical research and seek out ancestral sites."  The book is expensive, so hopefully your local library can obtain a copy for you to borrow.

The Scottish World: A Journey Into the Scottish DiasporaThe Scottish World: A Journey Into the Scottish Diaspora by Billie Kay was published in 2008. I don't know anything about him or the book, but based upon the description it sounds like a general survey/list of nifty things Scots have done around the world. From the Amazon description: "While others have questioned the self-confidence of the Scots, Kay has traveled the world from Bangkok to Brazil, Warsaw to Waikiki and found ringing endorsements for the integrity and intellect, the poetry and passion of the Scottish people in every country he has visited."

American Scots: The Scottish Diaspora and the USAAmerican Scots: The Scottish Diaspora and the USA was written by Duncan Sim a Reader in Sociology at the University of West Scotland. I've read many works on migration studies by sociologists, but this is the first I've seen on Scottish migrants. This work, according to the description, "... describes workings with American Scots and reports on detailed interviews which cover family histories and issues of identity and belonging. It deals with diaspora events, such as National Tartan Day, and concludes with some discussion of the continuing nature and importance of expatriate identity. The book will be of interest to those studying notions of identity, such as sociologists, geographers, or political scientists. It provides a fascinating study of how American Scots relate to their 'home,' and it offers insight into how those in Scotland perceive Scots who live abroad." It is released in the UK on 23 September; there is no release date for the US.

To the Ends of the Earth: Scotland's Global Diaspora, 1750-2010
To the Ends of the Earth: Scotland's Global Diaspora, 1750-2010by Tom Devine will be published in the UK on 25 August and in the US on 25 October. From Publisher's Weekly via Amazon: "In this follow-up to The Scottish Nation: 1700–2007, University of Edinburgh history professor Devine casts his net more widely to describe Scottish emigration throughout the world. A poor land in the 18th century, Scotland lagged behind England's Industrial Revolution. By 1850 it had caught up, but Scots continued to leave in record numbers. They made an early, bad impression in revolutionary America because most were loyalists, but this was soon replaced by the ongoing stereotype of the thrifty, superachieving Scotsman. There was no shortage of failure and bad behavior, but Devine admits that, wherever they settled, Scots were overrepresented among business, education, military leadership, and missionary work. He explores the source of that success in chapters on Scottish demographics, religion, and economics, devoting as much space to his nation's culture as its emigrants. Although not an academic study, the book contains more statistics, tables, and critical arguments than the average history buff would want, but readers willing to skim will enjoy an enlightening experience."

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