The second 100 pages – Magnus Magnusson’s Scotland, The Story of a Nation

Well, certainly failing in the target for reading, but things like the Moonwalk and other pleasures have been getting in the way.

I’ve brought the weighty tome along with me on holiday and have been undertaking to get back on track with my reading. You may have gathered by now that I’m no great shakes on this history lark. Just couldn’t summon any great enthusiasm, preferring fictionalised accounts rather than lists of facts.

Must say that my reading of Chapters 9 onwards have felt like torture – book falling on my nose as I drop off after ploughing through a few paragraphs and so on.

But, having slogged up to the Battle of Bannockburn over my muesli the other morning (yes, I’m such fun on holiday!), I’m finding a little more of the story resonating. As soon as we got to James I and the building of Linlithgow Palace I began to get interested. Reading is of course a personal journey, and I think that I’ll have difficulty in recalling many facts of battles won and lost and parts of the countryside traversed. But I can relate to a king who wanted to build a palace and decorate it in the grandest style of the times. And I liked the tale of how he fell in love with a lady and wrote poetry.

It also seemed that the history as portrayed in this book is a timeline moving from one ruler to the next, one battle to the next in a weary procession. Surely this isn’t the way to interest a non-historian like me? I’d thought at the beginning of the book that I’d be hooked by the sense of place which was being conveyed, and now I find that all these endless battles just don’t do it for me. No idea of how the ‘common people’ lived from day to day – how was it to be a citizen of this emerging nation?

Am I hopelessly lost in my need for domestic details rather than the ‘hanging, drawing and quartering’ of the would-be leaders of men?

3 thoughts on “The second 100 pages – Magnus Magnusson’s Scotland, The Story of a Nation

  • July 23, 2010 at 12:39 am

    You put me to shame Susan! I shall never get over the guilt until I finally finish this tomb. I often find that many of the history books simply relate details from one battle after another, like a history of politics and not much else. I agree – give me the stories of real people’s lives!

  • July 15, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    Yes, that’s the intention. This is a comment made as part of an on-line reading group which I’m participating in. Will definitely be noting places to get out and about to. Thanks for reading!

  • July 15, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Why don’t you visit some of the places mentioned to give you a more personal insight?
    If you can stand , see , touch maybe it be easier to relate?
    Go visit the castles the statues and monuments the towns and villages.

Anything to add?