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Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia

by Fiona Ritchie and Doug Orr

Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, Scots-Irish immigrants made their way into the mountains of the southern Appalachian region. They brought with them a wealth of traditional ballads and tunes from the British Isles and Ireland, which were merged with sounds and songs of English, German, Welsh, African American, French and Cherokee origin. Their enduring legacy of music flows today from Appalachia back to Ireland and Scotland and around the globe. In Wayfaring Strangers, Fiona Ritchie and Doug Orr guide readers on a musical voyage across oceans, linking people and songs through centuries of adaptation and change. This abundantly illustrated volume includes a CD featuring 20 songs by musicians profiled in the book, including Dolly Parton, Dougie MacLean, Cara Dillon, John Doyle, Pete Seeger, Sheila Kay Adams, Jean Ritchie, Doc Watson, David Holt, Anais Mitchell, Al Petteway and Amy White.

Of Me & Others

by Alasdair Gray

Alasdair Gray, one of Britain's finest writers and painters, has won The Guardian Fiction Prize and The Whitbread Novel Award and influenced a stream of authors and artists over the last 60 years. In his autobiography, Of Me and Others, Gray creates a candid insight into his life -- how growing up in post-war Glasgow influenced his thinking; his relationship with his parents; the influence and work of his peers; how he came to create Lanark, an epic series of novels about Glasgow written over a period of nearly 30 years; and his musings on life, death and everything in between. Mixing new and previously published but revised writing, Gray explores his life and reflects on a half-century of artistic work in his witty, self-deprecating prose. Funny, moving and deeply personal, Of Me and Others is the definitive work detailing the life of one of Britain's greatest artists.

As Others See Us: Personal Views on the Life and Work of Robert Burns

by Tricia Malley and Ross Gillespie

Part of the 250th anniversary celebration of Robert Burns's birth, As Others See Us offers 20 arresting portraits of a diverse cross section of Scots, from actor Alan Cumming to Scotland's First Minister to an Ayrshire farmer -- each photo capturing a unique insight into the sitter. The portraits are accompanied by essays written by the subjects about his or her favorite Robert Burns poem and explaining not only why it is special to them, but also what it means to Scots today.

A Wild Adventure

by Tom Pow

Tom Pow's beautiful, powerful poems examine the remarkable life of Thomas Watling. Born in Dumfries in September 1762 and raised by a long-suffering maiden aunt, Watling was convicted of forging Bank of Scotland one-guinea notes and sentenced to 14 years in the recently founded colony of Botany Bay in Australia. The first professional artist to arrive in the colony, Watling's pioneering paintings of birds, animals and the landscape became some of the principal records of the earliest days of Australia. He was pardoned in 1797, eventually returning home to Dumfries where he died some 17 years later.

Daunderlust, Dispatches from Unreported Scotland

by Peter Ross

Peter Ross's weekly articles from around Scotland have been a feature of The Scotsman newspaper for years. Each a gem of insight and wit, they provide a piece-by-piece portrait of a nation as it changes, presenting some of the lesser known aspects of the country. From the painters of the Forth rail bridge to the chip shop owner who sings arias while serving fish suppers, the Scots in these pages come across as eccentric, humorous, moving and extraordinary.

100 Weeks of Scotland

by Alan McCredie

In 2012, photographer Alan McCredie set out to document 100 weeks in the life of Scotland and the people who live there, touching on politics, art, social issues, sport, energy and anything else that caught his eye. He understood the country was going through a particularly vibrant and exciting period and wanted to preserve it in a personal -- and at times idiosyncratic -- time capsule that would reveal the modern Scottish experience. His journey began on Hallowe'en, visiting a children's party, a wresting match and the Samhuinn Fire Festival, all in Edinburgh... and then he took to the open road. His journey ends in the third week of September 2014 when Scots went to the polls to vote Yes or No to Independence.


Full reviews of these books are available in the Autumn 2014 issue of Scottish Life.

Previously Reviewed Books