Neal Ascherson is one of Britain's finest writers in an undefinable genre that fuses history, memoir, politics and meditations on places. His books on Poland and his collected essays on the strange Britain to which he returned from Europe in the mid 1980s were deeply influential. In 1995, Black Sea won critical praise in many languages and several ...
Neal Ascherson is one of Britain's finest writers in an undefinable genre that fuses history, memoir, politics and meditations on places. His books on Poland and his collected essays on the strange Britain to which he returned from Europe in the mid 1980s were deeply influential. In 1995, Black Sea won critical praise in many languages and several literary prizes. Stone Voices is Ascherson's return to his native Scotland. It is an exploration of Scottish identity, but this is no journalistic rumination on the future of that small nation. Ascherson instead weaves together a story of deep time - the time of geology and archaeology, of myth and legend - with the story of modern Scotland and its rebirth. Few writers in these islands have his ability to write so well about the natural context of history.
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Publishers Weekly, 2003-04-15 Journalist and historian Ascherson (Black Sea, The King Incorporated) takes a close look at his native country-its history, its landscape, its populace, its aspirations for independence-in this richly textured portrait of a nation "at home in hard, stony times." For many, thanks to Braveheart, Scotland may conjure images of William Wallace crying freedom. But Hollywood drama aside, Ascherson's examination of Scottish movements for sovereignty, both political and cultural, and Scots' concerns for equality and popular rights during their turbulent history show how such a spirit rings true today. Culminating with the passage of the referendum establishing Scotland's first modern Parliament, Ascherson's account offers vivid scenes from the author's cross-country promotional campaign and intimate details of a nation's doubts and faith in the face of great political change. Ascherson investigates the elements that have shaped Scotland's oft-debated history as he meets them face to face, including emigration, religious and racial intolerance, regionalist feuds and influences, bilingualism and the abundant interpretations and reinterpretations of what is considered "authentic" history. Ascherson also pays close attention to the Scottish geology-with its shallow, wind-thrashed soil and barren, boulder-filled valleys-that makes it a beautiful but difficult land for its people to inhabit. An enlightening read, Ascherson's volume will encourage readers to attend to Scotland's future, as well as to the forces that affect their own freedoms. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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