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1

22.09.2004, 13:32

Book Reviews by Historic Scotland

Ich stell hier testweise mal die reviews der Hefte Winter 2003 und Herbst 2004 rein.

Weil die Texte relativ einfach sind, hab ich sie nicht übersetzt. Vielleicht hat ja jemand Bock drauf und macht es noch, dann könnte man so etwas auch ins Portal stellen ...;)8)

Im Fließtext sind gelegentlich kleine, nicht sinnentstellende Erkennungsfehler (t statt f oder q statt g), was daran liegt, dass die Texte teilweise auf gerasterten Hintergründen gedruckt sind. Die Titelangaben, Preise und ISBN-Nummern sind aber manuell gegengechecked und sollten richtig sein.


Islander
hell no win forrid thatll no luk forrid
http://northernisles.schottlandportal.de
Islander

2

22.09.2004, 13:34

[k]Heft Winter 2003[/k]

TOWERS OF THE NORTH: THE BROCHS OF SCOTLAND
by Ian Armit. Tempus Publishing. GBP 15.99, ISBN 0 7524 1932 3. Review by Allan Rutherford
OF all prehistoric monuments, brochs, those evocative towers of the north, perhaps capture the imagination more than any other. This interest, which is both popular and academic, may be a consequence of the outstanding survival of a number of brach towers such as Dun Telve (Lochalsh), Dun Carloway (Lewis), Gurness (Orkney) and of course Mousa (Shetland), the best preserved and archetypal brach. When visiting these sites you cannot help but asks quest ions: who built them, why did they build them, what inspired the builders and how did the buildings function. In this extremely readable book Ian Armit provides convincing answers to these quest ions and many more. The book begins by recounting the colourful early history of brach studies with its controversies over origin: were brochs Danish fortifications or were they of native origin? However, the majority of the book draws together work of the last twenty years, both excavation and fjeld survey, to produce what must be considered a statement of the current state of knowledge regarding the development, function and context of brochs, although areas of debate still remain. It convincingly demonstrates that the construction of brochs developed within an existing round hause building traditionally found in the north and west of Scotland, and that the great brach towers such as Mousa, which must have been relatively rare, were 1he apogee of this tradition. Cf equal interest is Armit ′ s discussion of how brochs would have functioned as buildings, tackling such quandaries as were brochs fully roofed and wh at were the functions of features such as mural galleries and wall voids. This is a comprehensive study which will be of great interest to both students of the Iran Age and those with a more general interest in Scottish prehistory.


THE GREAT BRITISH BATTLES: ENGLAND VERSUS SCOTLAND
by Rupert Matthews. Pen and Sword Books, GBP 19.95, ISBN 0 85052 949-2. Review by Pat Connor
The Great British Battles: England versus Scotland is a potted history of 26 battles from the 7th to 18th centuries, although it is stretching the title to include the Battle of Culloden among them. The book begins with the battle of Degastan in 603 and ends with Culloden in 1746, taking in the battles of Bannockburn, Pinkie and Sheriffmuir, among others, along the way. Each chapter follows a similar format of an introduction, which puts the battle in context, a short description of the opposinq armies and the tactics employed, the battle itself, its aftermath and visitinq the battlefield today. The serious military historian is unlikely to qet anything new from this book, but Rupert Matthews ′ narrative writing style makes it easy to read. It is a good book tor the enthusiast or anyone who is interested in discovering a little more about the battles that helped shape the two nations. The book is illustrated by numerous black and white photographs, drawings and maps.


KINGS AND WARRIORS, CRAFTSMEN AND PRIESTS IN NORTHERN BRITAIN AD 550-850
by Leslle Alcock. Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, monoqraph 24.
Review by Aonqhus MacKechnle
The author is one ofthe dominant figures behind the transformation of our understanding of Scotland ′ s early medieval period: what used to be called the ′ Dark Ages ′ - an age of Picts, and so on. The book is a vastly expanded version of Alcock ′ s six 1988-89 Rhind lectures, comprising 23 chapters divided into five themes (eg, ′ structures of society ′ ). The period opens with the crystallisation of a new political environment and emergence of a powerful kingdom of Dalriada and ends with the Vi king period and creation of the new kingdom of Alba (Dalriada and Pictland). The t ′ erritory covered reflects an imprecise political and cultural division within Britain; hence ′ Northern Britain ′ , as
Islander

3

22.09.2004, 13:40

[k]Heft Autumn 2004[/k]

POCKET MOUNTAINS SERIES
By Nick Williams, Pocket Mountains Ltd, GBP 5.99
per guide, ISBN 0-9544217-3-6, Review by Matthew Shelley
These slim and beautifully-produced guides are just the right size to fit inyour packet or bag as you set out on any of the adventurous treks they describe. The pictures are superb, the maps are handy, the descriptions enticing and the directions concise. As the Pocket Mountains name suggests the series of six guides tends to cover walks that are best suited to those who want to dedicate an entire day to exploring Scotland ′ s high and wild places. Clear information is given about the difficulty of each walk, plus the time it is likely to take to complete each stage and in total. There are also valuable tips on specific local conditions and the Ordnance Survey map to carry. The routes are circular and there are 40 in each volume. The books, which cover regions such as the islands, the central Highlands or the Cairngorms, also contain interesting nuggets about folklore, history and place names. Overall they do a thoroughly good job of being practical, informative and entertaining.


PERTH: THE ARCHAEOLOGY AND DEVELOPMENT OF A SCOTTISH BURGH
By David Bowler, Tayside and Fife Archaeological Committee (available for TAFAC Hon Treasurer, 21 Burleigh Crescent, Inverkeithing, KY11 1DQ), GBP 10.00, ISBN 1360-5550, Review by Peter Yeoman
Perth has been key to the development of Scotland and the town today still hints at Perth ′ s favoured status, havinq qrown up in the shadow of Scone, that focus of Scots ′ royal power. This marvellous book clearly lays out how the town has developed over Jthe last 100 years, based on a fascinatinq journey throuqh documentary and archaeoloqical evidence, coupled with a unique assessment of the part the topoqraphy has played. Perth has produced same of the finest medieval archaeoloqy anywhere in western Europe, chiefly due to the waterloqqed preservation of orqanic materials caused by the regular floodinq of the Tay. The book features an innovative se ries of maps, which show how the medieval town would have looked when affected by various flood events, includinq the rare disastrous sort wh ich destroyed the royal castle at Michelmas 1209, leavinq a small island centred on St IJohn ′ s Kirk. This book demonstrates the sensitive nature of the riches of the past, both above and below-qround in Perth, and why it is so important tor this to be conserved tor the future.


DESIRE LINES: A SCOTTISH ODYSSEY
By David R Ross, Luath Press Limited, GBP 9.99, ISBN 184282 0338, Review by Ranald Maclnnes
The author of Desire Lines is a 6 ′ 5" motor-biking stalwart of Scotland ′ s ′ Tartan Army ′ of football supporters. I ′ m therefore relieved to report that he has written a readable and pacy account of themed historical journeys around Scotland. There ′ s nothing he likes better than a battle, and the bloodier the better. But he also has a keen eye for Scotland ′ s scenic drama and very skilfully draws the reader into a world of unfolding beauty which is often tainted with the blood of atrocities. Beginning inauspiciously at the Southwaite Services on the M6, the free-wheeling writer invites the reader to hop on the pillion and enjoy as the Scottish historical landscape speeds by. Subjects as diverse as the Radical revolt of 1820, the Antonine Wall, Scone Palace and Greyfriars Bobby are covered. And if there is an underlying theme to all of this, it is Scotland ′ s political status. The bock is liberally sprinkled with the writer ′ s clearly heartfelt views on Scotland ′ s past and present political woes. David R Ross has looked at Scotland ′ s history with a fresh eye and a deep patriotic feeling which has to be admired. In linking place and history he has done a great service to everyone interested in Scotland ′ s past.


LINES ON THE LANDSCAPE
CIRCLES FROM THE SKY

By Trevor Garnham, Tempus Publi
Islander

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