Saturday, November 24, 2007

Five best books capturing the spirit of Scotland

Alex Salmond, a former economist for the Royal Bank of Scotland and the leader of the Scottish National Party, named a five best list of books "that reflect the spirit of his native land" for Opinion Journal.

One title on the list:
How the Scots Invented the Modern World by Arthur Herman (Crown, 2001).

To understand the central truths of Scottish character and culture, from their origins to today, you could do no better than to look into "How the Scots Invented the Modern World." Arthur Herman covers it all: Scotland's contributions to democracy, capitalism and banking, as well as to literature and the arts. From the Scottish Reformation of the 1600s to David Hume and the Enlightenment in the 1700s, from Robert Louis Stevenson in the 1800s to the devolution of 1997 that restored the Scottish Parliament for the first time in nearly 300 years, Herman conjures the spirit of a people rooted in education and reason. His description of the opening of Edinburgh's first medical school in 1726 is particularly telling: "Edinburgh taught its doctors to be hands-on generalists, who could spot a problem, make a diagnosis, and apply treatment themselves."
Read about the book that topped Salmond's list.

--Marshal Zeringue