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Volume 11 Issue 3 – Scottish Review of Books

Volume 11 Issue 3

The SRB Interview: Jackie Kay

March 21, 2016

Opening one of Jackie Kay’s books is like walking into a busy metropolitan bar that has accommodated within its walls the deep past, character and charm of a country pub. You know you will encounter stories comic and sad, that you will never leave thirsty, and that the mind will feel renewed with...

Volume 11 Issue 3 – Editorial

August 14, 2015

EVEN today, when we are blessed with an avalanche of history books, many Scots remain painfully ignorant of their nation’s past. This is not a problem for which there is an instant panacea. For too long, influential Caledonian cringers and whingers have argued that if children in school are force-fed...

SRB Diary: In the Rhine Valley

March 21, 2016
by Iain Bamforth

Auf dem Grunde des Rheines. The figures in the principal fountain of the little village of Goldscheuer, just across the Rhine from Strasbourg, are a reminder that, for more than two millennia, gold which had been washed down with other ores from the mountains of the Aar region of Switzerland was extracted...

Sutherland’s Law

March 21, 2016
by John MacLeod

NOTHING in all of Scotland’s history – the weepy career of Mary, Queen of Scots; the ’45 and its appalling aftermath; the hammer-blow of the Great War on communities and industry; Margaret Thatcher’s premiership, or the high drama of the late independence referendum – is as emotive a topic...

We’re All Doomed

March 21, 2016
by Dani Garavelli

ON April 20, 1535, a strange cosmic sight appeared above the city of Stockholm in Sweden. For several hours, three suns seemed to shine out of the same sky, with haloes of light radiating out from each of them. It was a time of great religious upheaval, so it was natural the crowds that bore witness...

Growing Up with Glasgow

March 21, 2016
by Harry McGrath

MY grandmother, Mary McGrath (née Dunn), lived much of her life on Saracen Street in Possilpark, Glasgow. She was married to John McGrath, a biscuit salesman, and they had a daughter and two sons. John’s parents were wed in the Catholic Chapel in Moy, County Tyrone and the marriage certificate describes...

The Moor’s Last Sigh

March 21, 2016
by Michael Fry

THERE is a good argument for saying that the capture of Quebec in 1759, and the subsequent absorption of Canada into the British Empire, was owed first and foremost not to the English hero, James Wolfe, who fell in the moment of victory, but to one of his officers, Captain Donald MacDonald of Clanranald....

Panama Hell

March 21, 2016
by Rosemary Goring

WHEN rumours leaked out that the Scots were considering setting up a trading colony in Panama, the Prince of Orange, William III, denounced them as ‘raging madmen’. Even the Pope waded into the growing chorus of disapproval, condemning a venture that threatened to undermine the Catholic believers...

Still ‘Yes’?

March 21, 2016
by Jamie Maxwell

IN case you hadn’t noticed, Scots are struggling to find consensus on the origins of modern Scottish nationalism. Supporters of independence see the roots of their movement as essentially civic: a political response to the alienating effects of Westminster ‘misrule’. Unionists, meanwhile, advance...

Crowd Power

March 21, 2016
by Colin Waters

FEW things are likely to leave me feeling less festive than a festival. Which is unfortunate: I live in Edinburgh, home of the world’s largest annual arts festival. Each year, the same, but worse. Ticket prices that could bring tears to a sultan’s eyes; egos observable from outer space; unpromising...

Rebel Inc.

March 21, 2016
by Brian Morton

If you were planning to run a revolution from a post office now, you’d have to take a number and wait in line. The nodes of cultural communication as well as of social power have shifted since 1916, more democratic in some aspects, infinitely more entrenched and imperial in others. The editors’...

Oor Willie

March 21, 2016
by Zoë Strachan

WILLIAM McIlvanney chose ‘Growing Up in the West’ as the title of his contribution to Karl Miller’s 1970 collection of essays, Memoirs of a Modern Scotland. ‘It is perhaps not too fanciful to suppose,’ he writes, ‘that special contour lines of experience invisibly demarcate certain regions...

SRB at the Theatre

March 21, 2016
by Joseph Farrell

IN this case, there are two faces, two attitudes to life, two plays, both one-act, one-woman pieces, written by Peter Arnott, featuring identical twins, Isobel and Morag, played by the one actor, Janette Foggo, staged in successive weeks at Oran Mor, but begging for some imaginative producer to bring...