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Social History
Publication Date
01 January 2001
Available for Sale
Birlinn Limited
b/w throughout

Night Falls on Ardnamurchan

The Twilight of a Crofting Family
by Alasdair Maclean - Find out more about the author

"You hear the ocean and the voice of a salt-laden gale in this sharp, thoughtful, eloquent memoir," - Hilary Mantell

Weaving his own humorous and perceptive account of making a living from the land with extracts from his father’s journal - a terse, factual and down-to-earth vision of the day-to-day tasks of crofting life Alasdair Maclean creates an unusual and memorable story. At the same time this moving and beautifully-written book also illuminates the shifting, often tortuous relationships between children and their parents, revealing the author’s own struggle to come to terms with his background and the isolated community he left so often, and to which he returned again and again.

’What matters is that there should emerge from these pages something of the rise and fall of a crofting hamlet in a remote and little-known region of these islands, and that this should be displayed through an account of the life and hard times of my father, who was the last man to practise the art of crofting in that hamlet. If, parallel with this account and rounding it off, there should also appear a little of myself, who watched that life and that death and who, perhaps, survived it, I trust the reader will not think it too great an imposition.’
- Alasdair Maclean

Born in Glasgow of Highland stock, Alasdair Maclean left school at fourteen to work in the Clydeside shipyards. National Service in the Merchant Marine followed and then service in the British and Indian Armies. He returned to Scotland to read English at Edinburgh University before returning home to Sanna in Ardnamurchan. A poet of some repute, this is his only book of non-fiction.