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History, History
Publication Date
09 October 2014
Hardback (also available as an eBook)
In stock
Birlinn Limited
8pp colour plates

A Higher World

Scotland 1707-1815


eBook also available from the iBookstore

‘Engaging and very readable . . . an essential read for those wanting to get under the skin of modern Scottish history’ – Scottish Field

‘Ambitious and well produced’ – Scotsman

‘highly readable . . . a highly convincing and entertaining book’ – Country Life

‘This book is essential reading for anyone interested in the formation of modern Scotland’ – Scots Magazine

‘An elegant writer and skilled storyteller’ – The Press and Journal

Michael Fry here applies his uniquely wide-ranging procedures of Scottish historical analysis to the eighteenth century, which gave this small nation its one era of truly global significance. He adds: ‘Never again was it to be so exemplary: unless, perhaps, in the twenty-first century.’

In his journey from the Union of 1707 to its centenary and beyond, Fry takes in vivid scenes from all over the country, ranging up and down the social scale from peeresses to prostitutes, from lairds to lunatics, and covering every major aspect of national life from agriculture to philosophy. Most other Scottish histories published in recent times concentrate on social and economic history, but Fry insists that any true understanding of the nation, in the past as in the present, needs to pay at least as much attention to politics and culture.

The social history and the economic history show us how Scotland was integrated into Britain. The political history and the cultural history show us why the integration was never complete. In this book readers will see both sides surveyed. In that way they will come also to understand how the nation’s rebirth in our own day remains possible.

Michael Fry was educated at Oxford and Hamburg Universities. He has held academic positions in Scotland at Strathclyde and Edinburgh Universities, in the US at Brown University, and in Germany at Leipzig University and the Max Franck Institute, Frankfurt. He is the author of ten books on modern Scottish history, including The Dundas Despotism (1993), The Scottish Empire (2001), Wild Scots: Four Hundred Years of Highland History (2005) and Edinburgh: A History of the City (2009). He has contributed to most major Scottish and British newspapers, and has been a regular columnist for the Scotsman, the Herald and The Sunday Times.