How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World & Everything in It

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This is heavier going than most popular books, in spite of the surely at least partly tongue-in-cheek title, but it's fascinating - the more so, for me, since learning that most of my ancestors that I thought were Irish were actually Ulster Scots. There's a lot of history and a great deal of philosophy.

The book seems very much to be written from an American perspective, and, considering how great a part immigrant Ulster Scots played in the formation of this country, that's probably the most interesting way to approach this material. It turns out that there is a great deal about America that comes straight from the Scots of the 1700s. Even the American dialect is much closer to the sound of the Ulster dialect of English than to the modern English dialect (to my ear, based on examples spoken at, and many 'backwoods' or 'hillbilly' words turn out to be derived directly from the Scots language (not Gaelic, but a close sibling of English). It's interesting as well to have the information to see through the romantic myths about Scotland.

I had this book out of the local public library for several months (they used to allow indefinite renewals until someone else requested the book), because I kept meaning to go back to it and finish it, but somehow the fiction books kept getting in the way. I was lazy. The first two-thirds of the book were worth reading, though.

Posted: Tue - June 1, 2004 at 06:55 PM   weblog:   category:
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