Tales From Viking Times
A vivid look at Scotland's long and difficult road to nationhood, re-exploring some cherished myths and unearthing a wealth of fascinating new detail. Magnus Magnusson's starting-point is Sir Walter Scott's classic version of Scotland's history, "Tales of a Grandfather". Since its first appearance in 1827-29, Scott's book has moulded the views of generations of Scottish schoolchildren. It told the story of Scotland from the point of view of a deeply patriotic Tory who believed that the nation's destiny had been fulfilled with the Union of Parliaments in 1707. Magnus Magnusson takes the reader through Scotland's history from the earliest Mesolithic settlers on the island of Rum to the establishment of the new Scottish parliament in 1999. In investigating the many questions raised by the nation's turbulent and often poignant past, he gives full weight to the "people's history" of Scotland - the living treasure of local legends and tradition which he believes has as much resonance as academic analysis. Where did the "Scots" come from? To what extent was Scotland shaped by the Viking raids and settlements? What happened to the Picts? What is the truth about such historical figures as Macbeth and William Wallace? Was Robert Bruce really inspired by a spider in a cave? What was the significance of the tragic reign of Mary Queen of Scots? Who were the Covenanters? What really lay behind the Massacre of Glencoe? What were the long-term effects of the 1707 Treaty of Union with England? What was the impact of Jacobitism, the '45 rising in support of "Bonnie Prince Charlie" and its brutal defeat at Culloden?