In Bed with an Elephant
This work is Ludovic Kennedy's personal narrative history of Scotland and the Scots with particular emphasis on the vexed relationship with England. Although born in Edinburgh, it was not until he was eight and having a picnic on Culloden Moor that Kennedy learned from his mother that he was Scottish, his father's family coming from Ayrshire, his mother's from the Highlands. He calls himself an Anglo-Scot but one whose roots are more Scots then Anglo. While his career as broadcaster and writer has been spent mostly in England, he is of a mind with Robert Louis Stevenson who, writing of Scotland from as far away as Samoa, mentioned his head being "filled with the blessed, beastly place all the time". This book is not exclusively a history book, a travel book, a political tract or another slice of autobiography, rather a blend of all four. Kennedy writes about the aspects of Scotland that excite him and in particular Scotland's rather stormy relationship with England over the centuries. From the prehistoric settlement of Skara Brae on Orkney, Kennedy moves to a re-telling of the story of the '45 rebellion in which Bonnie Prince Charles emerges as a less than heroic figure. Other highlights include Boswell's and Johnson's Highland jaunt and the adventures of the Stone of Destiny, its capture by Edward I and subsequent recapture from Westminster Abbey by Scottish patriots in 1950. In a fluid narrative style, ranging back and forth in time, Kennedy illuminates both the famous and the less well-known people and incidents from Scottish history.