Our experts have chosen the best books on Scotland and the history of the Scottish people. Whatever book you're looking for—whether books about the history of Scotland, or books by Scottish writers—we've got you covered.
We have some leading Scottish authors such as Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes books), Muriel Spark, Josephine Tey and Robert Louis Stevenson as well as history from the Jacobites to the Highland clearances and famous Scottish economist Adam Smith.
Celebrated Scottish novelist Val McDermid gives her recommendations on the best crime fiction of 2019. Scottish poet Jackie Kay recommends the best books of Poetry. Another Scottish poet Robin Robertson—author of the verse novel The Long Take, shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize, told us about the books that influenced him.
Scottish culture is best understood as related to, but distinct from, that of Britain or England, says the acclaimed novelist James Robertson. Here, he selects five landmark works of Scottish literature, from Sir Walter Scott’s sweeping, panoramic social novels of the 18th century, through Robert Louis Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde, to Nan Shepherd’s beloved nature writing.
The Break-up of Britain
by Tom Nairn
Independence or Union: Scotland’s Past and Scotland’s Present
by Tom Devine
The Scottish Question
by James Mitchell
The Case for Scottish Independence: A History of Nationalist Political Thought in Modern Scotland
by Ben Jackson
Cinico: Travels with a Good Professor at the Time of the Scottish Referendum
by Allan Cameron
There has been a sharp rise in nationalist and pro-independence sentiment in Scotland since the resumption of the Scottish parliament in 1999. Here, the University of West Scotland political scientist Murray Leith reflects on the changing nature of Scottish identity and separatist visions, as he recommends five key books on Scottish nationalism.
This year marks the centenary of the birth of the novelist, poet and essayist Muriel Spark, a singular voice of 20th century literature. Her 22 novels are slim and entertaining says Alan Taylor, author of Appointment in Arezzo, but beneath the jeux d’esprit lies a fearsome intellect. Here he selects five of her key works.
The Director of the Centre for History at the University of the Highlands and Islands talks to us about the history of the Highland Clearances in Scotland. Interesting reading on 19th Century Scottish history
Adam Smith tends to be seen as the founder of capitalism and modern economics, but he was, first and foremost, a moral philosopher. Dennis Rasmussen, author of The Infidel and the Professor—a book about Smith’s friendship with David Hume—selects the best books by and about Adam Smith.
English Society 1660-1832
by Jonathan Clark
The History of Parliament: The House of Commons, 1715-1754
by Romney Sedgwick ed.
Jacobitism and the English People, 1688-1788
by Paul Monod
1715: The Great Jacobite Rebellion
by Daniel Szechi
France and the Jacobite Rising of 1745
by Frank McLynn
The failure of the Stuarts to win back the English or Scottish throne changed the course of history, enabling the buildup of a highly centralized British state and, possibly, America’s war for independence. Murray Pittock chooses the best books on Jacobitism, the 18th century phenomenon that nearly overthrew the British government.
It’s been a great year for crime fiction – with soaring sales and global bestsellers emerging from writers all over the world. Crime writing is rightly in the ascendancy, says the celebrated Scottish novelist Val McDermid as she selects the best crime fiction of 2019: five books that stand as great novels in their own right.