by Rosalind K. Marshal
Off the west coast of Scotland lies the tiny island of Iona, a place forever associated with an Irish monk. In 563 Columba stepped ashore, founded his famous monastery and went on to became Scotland's best-known Celtic saint. Columba's wood and wattle buildings have long since vanished, replaced by a Benedictine abbey of stone, but after the Reformation, the abbey, too, fell into neglect, languishing for 200 years as no more than a romantic ruin. Then in the early 20th century, it was restored by the Church of Scotland's Iona Cathedral Trust and the charismatic and controversial George MacLeod, founder of the Iona Community, and became an experiment in Christian living that flourishes to this day. Historian Rosalind K. Marshall charts the many developments on Iona throughout the centuries and ponders the question of why this tiny island has had such an enduring influence, and still attracts thousands of people each year to experience its unique atmosphere of tranquil spirituality.
edited by David Torrance
David Torrance's second volume offers readers more than 60 speeches made by Scots or by others in Scotland, all chosen for their enduring historic significance. The volume ranges widely over both topics and time periods (religion, independence, socialism, sports, Irish Home Rule and Miss Jean Brodie to the legendary speech of the Caledonian chief Calgagus in 83 A.D. and Alex Salmond's historic election victory in 2007 which has led to upcoming vote on Scottish independence). These words, and the people who have spoken them, helped to create modern Scotland, while also revealing the character of a nation.
by Alexander Hayward
Steam traction engines, or steam tractors, were used widely in Scotland from the 1880s until the 1940s -- mainly for transporting goods, powering threshing mills, plowing fields and, in steamroller form, constructing roads. The Traction Engine In Scotland describes these machines and their uses in text and archival photos, and places the National Museum Scotland's 1907 Marshall traction engine in its historical context, detailing its construction, acquisition by the museum and subsequent restoration. The 144-page, landscape-sized book is a pioneering study of stream traction engines and steamrollers in Scotland -- a comprehensive look at the rise, progress and decline of these marvelous machines and their manufacturers. The book is filled with 130 archival photos of the machines hard at work all across the Scottish landscape.
Full reviews of these books are available in the Spring 2014 issue of Scottish Life.