This book examines the power of the past upon the present. It shows how generations of Scots have exploited and reshaped history to meet the needs of a series of presents, from the conquest of the Picts to the refounding of Parliament. Dauvit Broun, Fiona Watson, and Steve Boardman explore the violent manipulations of the past in medieval Scotland. Michael Lynch questions well-entrenched assumptions about the Scottish Reformation. Roger Mason looks at the transformation of 'Highland barbarism' into 'Gaelicism'. Ted Cowan examines the 'Killing Times' of the covenanters, and David Allan the seventeenth century fashion for creative family history. Colin Kidd discovers the victims of Pictomania in Scotland and modern Ulster, and Murray Pittock uncovers the comparable mania driving Jacobitism. Richard Finlay links the cult of Victoria with the queen's idea of herself as the heiress of the Scottish monarchy. Catriona MacDonald considers the neglect of women and the dangers of reconstructing history to suit modern sensitivities. Finally David McCrone provides a sociologist's perspective on the continuing dialogue between the past and the present.
By exploring how the people of Scotland have variously understood, used and been inspired by the past this book offers a series of insights into the concerns of previous generations and their understanding of themselves and their times. It throws fresh light on the evolution of history in Scotland and on the actions and ambitions of the Scots who have formed and reformed the nation.
Edward J. Cowan, Emeritus Professor, formerly Professor of Scottish History at the University of Glasgow and Director of the university's Dumfries Campus, previously taught at the Universities of Edinburgh and Guelph, Ontario. A fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, he is much in demand as a speaker, journalist and broadcaster and has been a Visiting Professor in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US. His most recent publications are The Wallace Book (revised edition 2010), For Freedom Alone: The Declaration of Arbroath 1320 (revised edition 2008), and Folk in Print: Scotland's Chapbook Heritage (2007). He is currently working on a book on The Arctic Scots. Richard J. Finlay is senior lecturer and Director of the Research Centre in Scottish History at the University of Strathclyde. He is the co-editor with T. M. Devine of Scotland in the Twentieth Century (EUP 2000) and the author of A Partnership for Good? Scottish Politics and the Union since 1880 (Canongate, 1997).