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Whisky, Kilts, and the Loch Ness Monster: Traveling through Scotland with Boswell and Johnson Hardcover – December 21, 2010


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Whisky, Kilts, and the Loch Ness Monster: Traveling through Scotland with Boswell and Johnson + My Heart's in the Lowlands: Ten Days in Bonny Scotland
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 223 pages
  • Publisher: University of South Carolina Press (December 21, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570039488
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570039485
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,172,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Those who have traveled through Scotland know it as the myth-shrouded, precipitation-drenched northern kingdom of the island of Great Britain—a ruggedly beautiful place. The author did just that, clocking 2,789 miles by car and ferry (Scotland has numerous costal islands), but he did so with a particular agenda: to retrace the three-month journey undertaken by 1773 by England’s famous man of letters, Samuel Johnson, and his ever-faithful companion, James Boswell. Starr constantly references the activities and attitudes of the duo as he puts in his own many-miles-per-day travel, but in no way is this narrative technique distracting; rather, it adds a layer of interest for the contemporary reader, allowing us to compare and contrast past and present in this still-remote part of Europe. Equally well integrated are Starr’s digressions into events in Scottish history. As with any good travelogue, engrossing anecdotes abound; and the author’s writing style is direct, comfortable, effortless. (“Edinburgh is memorably striking to the eye,” for instance.) This delightful book ends with a discussion of the issue of Scottish independence. --Brad Hooper

Review

We read travel books in order to quicken the corpse of desire so much so that we imagine tramping over the hills and far away. Bill Starr carries us along as he follows Johnson's and Boswell's path across Scotland with the highly sensible intention of seeing what he can see. What he shows us is wondrously satisfying: castles and history, single malt Scotch, breakfasts, and days sweet and sour with appealing meanderings.
Sam Pickering

More About the Author

My new book, "Whisky, Kilts, and the Loch Ness Monster" has been named one of the finalists for the Foreword Review's Travel Book of the Year award! I'm a native of Atlanta who spent many years in South Carolina, 30 of them as as editor and writer for The State newspaper in Columbia. In 2003 I became the executive director of the Georgia Center for the Book. I'm the author of "Southern Writers" with the splendid photographs by David Spielman, and "Guide to South Carolina Beaches." My new book is "Whisky, Kilts and the Loch Ness Monster: Travels Through Scotland with Boswell and Johnson" It's a light-hearted look at the Scotland James Boswell and Samuel Johnson saw in their 1773 journey with contemporary observations from 2007 when I re-traced their steps.

Customer Reviews

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Lovers of Scotland, Johnson and Boswell, as well as travel odysseys would enjoy this book.
wogan
I was looking for a modern book related to Johnson and Boswell's late 18th century travels in the Scottish Highlands and this filled the bill.
Art Busbey
I read it aloud to my three travel companions as we drove around Scotland the next 15 days.
Mary

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By wogan TOP 100 REVIEWER on February 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
William Starr is an admirer of James Boswell and Samuel Johnson; so he basically followed their journey through Scotland. You do not have to be an admirer of Boswell or Johnson , nor for that matter `Braveheart', although it helps. He does capture Scottish weather perfectly," in Scotland pleasant weather can be as rare as single malt served on ice". The history of the areas traveled through is done well, describing both Boswell and Johnson's journey and his, and some of the detours he took and many castles he toured. The stories of Rob Roy, Robert the Bruce and more often, that of William Wallace (Braveheart) are told. The constantly challenging weather is a endless background.
For one who mentions the joys of single malt, there really is not very much of that information in the book, nor really much on kilts or the Loch Ness monster; but the journey is interesting and described well. Lovers of Scotland, Johnson and Boswell, as well as travel odysseys would enjoy this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mary on October 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Started reading this book over the Atlantic on the plane to Glasgow. I read it aloud to my three travel companions as we drove around Scotland the next 15 days. It worked to jump around to just focus on where we were headed at the time. It provided us with lots of insights and laughs. He was so right about the American 70's music playing everywhere!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marsha Jones on September 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having recently visited Scotland made reading this book very interesting, but at the same time I wish I had read it BEFORE the trip as things I saw would have been even more meaningful. The book contains numerous references to historical events, but they are presented in a delightful and easy to read manner. Many things are mentioned that encourage further research or reading. One truly comes away with a vivid feel for the climate of this far north country.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gregory J. Auger on March 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book was in the hands of my local librarian when I first saw it, and I put in a request to be next in line. I'm glad I did. This is a delightful travel book, comfortable as the chair I sit in to read. I've always intended to reread Boswell's Life of Johnson, and now I will. And I've long thought about taking a trip to Scotland, and now I'll do that as well. This is a well-written leisurely travel narrative written by a highly professional writer that provides a good sense of what a traveler will encounter if he decides to leave the tourist traps and take off on his own. Much of the book takes place in later winter; this is useful information, as I will now certainly not go to Scotland in later winter.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By bookmanbookwoman on February 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
James Boswell and Samuel Johnson were two justly celebrated writers who made a famous journey through Scotland in the 18th Century. Now author Starr retraces that pilgrimage through Scotland in a fascinating mix of literature, biography, and curiosities.
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