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The World History of Highland Games

by David Webster

For centuries, Highland games have been a defining feature of Scotland's identity, and now David Webster, who has been involved in Highland games for more than 50 years (receiving an OBE for services to sport from the Queen in 1995), has written their definitive history. Uncovering the true origins behind today's traditions, Webster details the development of the gatherings from ancient Celtic roots to current international status. Complemented by archival prints, lavish illustrations and beautiful photographs, the book will delight anyone interested in the history and development of Highland games around the world.

Simpson, The Turbulent Life of a Medical Pioneer

by Morrice McCrae

James Young Simpson is best remembered for his discovery and promotion of chloroform as an anesthetic, but he was also a skilled and innovative practitioner of obstetrics and surgery, a prolific author and poet, and a supporter of liberal causes such as the medical education of women. Yet, he also had famously bitter professional disputes. He used the emerging tools of statistics to show the validity of his arguments in favor of anesthesia, and when the conservative medical establishment refused to consider his position, Simpson quickly took the fight to the public through a widely distributed pamphlet. As a result, patients were clamoring for chloroform within weeks of its discovery. Although Simpson's contributions to science and medicine are well known, Morrice McCrae fills in the gaps of his personal story, placing the man in the context of 19th-century Scotland and at the beginning of the modern era of medicine.

Patrick Neill, Doyen of Scottish Horticulture

by Forbes W. Robertson

Patrick Neill was the head of the prestigious printing company, Neill & Co in Edinburgh. But his interest in botany and horticulture eventually became his main pursuit in life, and he left his business in the hands of managers. Neill's survey of both private and commercial gardens and orchards in Scotland was a landmark publication...and as a founding member of the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society, he was a key figure in its successful establishment. His most enduring legacy is the Princess Street Gardens in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle. A heavily polluted lake, the area was drained in 1820 and Neill landscaped it with 27,000 trees and shrubs. __This engaging book contains a wealth of historically valuable observations and offers a valuable look into Edinburgh's scientific scene in the early 19th century and one of its most fascinating personalities.

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Full reviews of these books are available in the Summer 2012 issue of Scottish Life.

Previously Reviewed Books