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Current Affairs, History, History, Politics & Current Affairs
Publication Date
06 November 2014
Paperback (also available as an eBook)
Available for Sale
Birlinn Limited

The Invisible Spirit

A Life of Post-War Scotland, 1945–75


eBook also available from the iBookstore

‘So good I could all but not put it down: every home should have one’ – Candia McWilliam, Books of the Year, Scotsman

‘The most remarkable book on Scotland I have ever read’ – Ian Hamilton, QC

‘Something that needed to be written’ – David Kynaston, Books of the Year, Guardian

‘A masterpiece, and an entertaining one at that’ – Catherine Czerkawska, Books of the Year, wordarts

‘A spellbinding read. Walking through history with an expert guide’ – Lord Robertson of Port Ellen

Kenneth Roy’s panorama of post-war Scottish life begins with the VE night celebrations in the spring of 1945 and ends with the coming onstream of North Sea oil in the autumn of 1975. It was the formative period in the making of modern Scotland, but it is a period little explored in depth and not fully understood until now. Using a wealth of contemporary accounts, the book tells a complex and often disturbing story of a country riven by poverty, struggling for a sense of its own identity, and ill-served by its masters.

The Invisible Spirit is unsparing in its examination of the failings of the Scottish establishment. It delivers a stinging indictment of political complacency and judicial incompetence and shows that, too often, the interests of Scotland and its people were betrayed. It exposes how, time and again, the truth was covered up in order to protect the powerful and how the press acquiescently accepted a far from reliable official version of events. The book is also, however, the story of ordinary lives, the aspirations, the hardships and the achievements of the Scots themselves. Richly varied in mood from the controversial to the amusing, The Invisible Spirit is both entertaining and compelling. It provides a unique perspective on Scotland at a turning point in its long history.

Kenneth Roy was born and brought up in Falkirk, Scotland. After ten years working as an anchorman in BBC TV News and Current Affairs he became a critic and columnist in the print media, notably Scotland on Sunday and the Observer. He founded The Institute of Contemporary Scotland in 2000 became the editor of online campaigning journal the Scottish Review and chair of the Young Scotland programme, which encourages debate and exchange of ideas among young adults in Scotland. He died in November 2018

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