Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Invention of Scotland: Myth and History Hardcover – July 16, 2008
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
About the Author
The late Hugh Trevor-Roper (Lord Dacre of Glanton) was Regius Professor of History at the University of Oxford and a prolific scholar. His last book, Europe’s Physician: The Various Life of Sir Theodore de Mayerne, was published by Yale University Press in 2006.
Top Customer Reviews
First, the myth of the "Scottish constitution," in which a sort of constitutional monarchy existed in Scotland in pre-UK times (and which is reinforced in the movie Braveheart, in which the Scots are portrayed as fighting for "freedom"), is debunked. The notion of a strong national identity, stretching from the Highlands to Lowlands, which was wrapped up in a kind of genetic love of democracy, is in fact shown to be an anachronism.
Second, the author presents evidence that the works attributed to Ossian, the supposed ancient Scottish answer to Homer, are pretty convincingly shown to be a forgery, though nevertheless accepted as genuine by many of a nationalistic bent. Fingal, Ossian's seminal work, turns out to contain numerous echoes of Shakespeare and the King James Bible, among others.
Third, the topic of dress. Nowadays the kilt is understood to be the quintessentially "Scottish" article of clothing. Readers will be surprised to learn that, as the author documents, the kilt appears to have been invented by an Englishman for his employees, while the precise clan-based tartan identification system was invented by a pair of brothers in 1842.Read more ›
The premise of his book TIoS is that Scotland is great. The trouble is, nobody knew it. For most people, i.e. the English, ancient Scotland was a barbaric place devoid of culture, civilization and history. Starting in the 1400s Scottish historians, philosophers and writers set out to document a long, ancient and valid Scottish lineage. When none existed, history, literature and even dress of the Scots were "invented" and myths surrounding these societal fundamentals were developed, strongly embraced, and perpetuated.
TIoS is well written and documented extensively. The literary myth and ensuing controversy surrounding James MacPherson and Ossian took up a tedious majority of the book. It was disappointing, given the depth of detail, that the author did not include a single line or excerpt of Ossian/Macpherson's work. I wish that there were a couple of illustrations of original Highland dress. The author's descriptions were good, but I would like to see what the original costume, especially the belted plaid, looked like. A map of Scotland also would have been helpful.
The book left me thoughtful. Now I wonder about our own and other countries' glorious national inventions. It was told in a respectful and very knowledgeable way. It was trudging at times, often bogged down and dry, needed a better editor.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
At first sight, this awful book appears to be written under the influence of Social Constructionism. But Trevor-Roper was not a social constructionist in any of his other books. Read morePublished on February 7, 2012 by othoniaboys
The Invention of Scotland: Myth and HistoryAuthor Hugh Trevor-Roper seems to be one of those self-loathing Scots who are against "all-things-Tartan". Read morePublished on October 19, 2008 by A6 Bubba