No other poet excites such fanatical, worldwide devotion as Robert Burns (otherwise known as Rabbie Burns, Scotland's Favourite Son, the Ploughman Poet, the Bard of Ayrshire or simply the Bard). Ian McIntyre's biography, first published to mark the bicentenary of Burns's death and revised here for the 250th anniversary of his birth, is still considered the best take on a notorious and often over-romanticised life.
McIntyre's meticulous use of documentary and archival sources strips away myth and legend. Here, we meet the man - eminently capable of holding two contradictory political views at the same time, he was just as capable of being in love with several women at once. McIntyre also fully evaluates Burns' songs and poetry and brings to light the importance and quality of his satirical verse. McIntyre is enthusiastic but always objective and his work brings us the clearest, most sharply appreciated portrait of this great poet.
Ian McIntyre was Controller of BBC Radio 3 for nine years and is a former associate editor of The Times. He is also the author of Hester: The remarkable life of Dr Johnson's 'Dear Mistress', also published by Constable, as well as biographies of Joshua Reynolds, Garrick and the BBC's first Director-General, John Reith. He still broadcasts and is a regular contributor to The Times.