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Portrait of the Scottish Poor

Rosalind Mitchison, 5 June 1980

The State of the Scottish Working Class in 1843 
by Ian Levitt and Christopher Smout.
Scottish Academic Press, 284 pp., £7.50, December 1979, 0 7073 0247 1
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... mapped the results. They have then set out to display and discuss the total picture. Proffessor Smout’s is the most original and creative mind at work on Scottish social history, and the discussion has depth and perception as well as human warmth. The report, broken down by modern methods, has made possible detailed examination of the material quality of ...

Homage to Braudel

Geoffrey Parker, 4 September 1980

Civilisation matérielle, économie et capitalisme, XVe – XVIIIe siécle 
by Fernand Braudel.
Armand Colin, 544 pp.
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... same way (Scotland, paradoxically, is well covered, thanks to Braudel’s reliance on the work of Christopher Smout; Ireland is largely ignored). To be sure, the standard general works have been thoroughly used – Ashton, Gras, Mathias and the rest; so have some major studies on important sectors of economic activity – such as P. G. M. Dickson on ...

Dismantling the class war

Paul Addison, 25 July 1991

The Cambridge Social History of Britain, 1750-1950. Vol I.: Regions and Communities 
edited by F.M.L. Thompson.
Cambridge, 608 pp., June 1990, 0 521 25788 3
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The Cambridge Social History of Britain, 1750-1950. Vol II.: People and Their Environment 
edited by F.M.L. Thompson.
Cambridge, 392 pp., June 1990, 0 521 25789 1
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The Temper of the Times: British Society since World War Two 
by Bill Williamson.
Blackwell, 308 pp., £30, August 1990, 0 631 15919 3
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... distinctive features of the economic, political and religious history of Scotland up to 1850. For Christopher Smout the subsequent history of Scotland is marked by a decisive break at the end of the First World War. ‘Before that,’ he writes, ‘all was confidence and the expectation of further enrichment, whatever shortcomings there may have been in ...
... Scots history ‘broke through’ it seemed largely thanks to the jolt given by the work of Chris Smout and Harry Hanham: a Cambridge Liberal and a New Zealander. Part of the problem was the shattered nature of Scottish historical explanation, alternately cosmic and dwarfish: emblematic in the fricative genius of MacDiarmid coupled to the impossibile public ...

Fraternisation

Eric Evans, 26 July 1990

Scottish Society 1500-1800 
edited by R.A. Houston and I.D. Whyte.
Cambridge, 298 pp., £30, February 1989, 0 521 32522 6
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... truly ‘British’ history. Within Scotland, at least, much has changed in the past two decades. Christopher Smout’s History of the Scottish People, 1560-1830, published in 1972, was pioneering social history, and much of Professor Smout’s subsequent work on religion, literacy and the economy in Scotland has been ...

The money’s still out there

Neal Ascherson: The Scottish Empire, 6 October 2011

To the Ends of the Earth: Scotland’s Global Diaspora, 1750-2010 
by T.M. Devine.
Allen Lane, 397 pp., £25, August 2011, 978 0 7139 9744 6
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The Inner Life of Empires: An 18th-Century History 
by Emma Rothschild.
Princeton, 483 pp., £24.95, June 2011, 978 0 691 14895 3
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... histories, serious but highly readable, were reappearing as Ash wrote: Rosalind Mitchison, T.C. Smout and Christopher Harvie were among the most successful authors. They wrote mostly narrative or social history, revealing unknown territory to generations who had learned almost nothing of Scotland’s past at ...

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