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Banner in the West
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Publication Date
01 June 2010
Available for Sale
Birlinn Limited
16pp b/w plates

Banner in the West

A Spiritual History of Lewis and Harris
by John MacLeod - Find out more about the author

'Every Gael should read this book' – The Scotsman

'The vast amount of research involved shines through every page' – West Highland Free Press

'Magisterial' – Stornoway Gazette

'Feisty and fascinating' – The Scottish Review of Books

From the unfathomable Standing Stones of Callanish to the quiet dignity of Christian commitment, the people of Lewis and Harris have, for millennia, sought for eternal meaning through their struggles in a robust, stripping environment. Even today, as their Gaelic world is increasingly besieged by change, migration and the impact of the mass-media, their distinctive spirituality continues to fascinate a wider world.

Today, the Long Island is, to many, Britain’s “last stronghold of the pure Gospel”; a place still defined by heartfelt religion – a community where, for instance, the threat of a Sabbath ferry service can still arouse considerable passion. In this sparkling account of island faith – from unknown, Megalithic builders to a war of Free Church schism waged on the Internet – award-winning journalist John MacLeod outlines the gripping religious history of this Hebridean community.

This is a story that has never been related before, by any author, from the dawn of this island community to the present day – the tale of a people as indomitable as their landscape and a faith as profound as the Hebridean sea.

John MacLeod was born in Lochaber in 1966. After graduating from Edinburgh University, he began his career at BBC Highland in Inverness and quickly established himself as a freelance writer. He won Scottish Journalist of the Year in 1991 and contributed regularly to The Scotsman and The Herald. He is presently a columnist with the Scottish Daily Mail and is the author of several books. He lives on a croft on the west side of Lewis with a small, elderly dog, two melodeons, a 4-oven Aga and far too many chickens.

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