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How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The…

How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western… (original 2001; edition 2002)

by Arthur Herman

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Title:How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World & Everything in It
Authors:Arthur Herman
Info:Broadway (2002), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Tim's Books, Your library

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How the Scots invented the modern world by Arthur Herman (2001)

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  gpaisley | Jun 18, 2016 |
This is a cheeky, lively book, revealing the advantages of the earliest application of the policy of universal public education.... I got rather more about the Scottish Enlightenment by reading the relevant parts of the "Story of Civilization" by Will and Ariel Durant.

Herman’s book does suffer from overreach, even distortion. For instance, he claims that Gibbon’s masterpiece, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire owes a great deal to Scottish models of history and that Gibbons was “intellectually a Scott.” He gives Scots a lot of credit for the American Revolution on such flimsy grounds as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison being educated in schools on the Scottish model.

- easy to read just a couple pages or an anecdote at a time,

- Unfortunately, I was greatly disappointed. Not only was the prose deadly dull, but the humor was so subtle and so deeply buried

- Lots of information about lots of influential people and events. Lots of people you know about I bet you didn't know were Scots.

- an intellectual history of the Scottish Enlightenment, approximately 1700 to 1900.
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  kgreply | Jan 1, 2016 |
This is a cheeky, lively book, revealing the advantages of the earliest application of the policy of universal public education. The style is carried on successfully though I got rather more about the Scottish Enlightenment by reading the relevant parts of the "Story of Civilization" by Will and Ariel Durant. Good introduction to the topic that has spawned several imitators. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Jul 29, 2014 |
I have a Scottish friend who is always quick to point out how the Scots are behind all the great advances in history, so it was little surprise that he recommended "How the Scots invented the modern world".

The author makes some interesting points about Scotland and its role in influencing European history but, as other reviewers have pointed out, Herman seems to stretch the idea of "Scottishness" to support his thesis so much I was fully expecting him to claim Tesla as Scottish. Still, I thought it a worthwhile read, and the fact I was in South Korea when I read this was an interesting experience in itself as one would struggle to find a more diametrically opposed nation to Scotland than the Republic of Korea. ( )
  MiaCulpa | May 15, 2014 |
This was the perfect book to read over the holidays: easy to read just a couple pages or an anecdote at a time, but interesting enough to distract me from everything else that was going on when I needed a break. I'd like to follow up with How the Irish Saved Civilization! ( )
  MelissaZD | Jan 1, 2014 |
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Is it not strange that at a time when we have lost our Princes, our Parliaments, our independent government, even the Presence of our chief Nobility, are unhappy in our accent and pronunciation, speak a very corrupt Dialect of the Tongue which we make use of, I say, that in these Circumstances, we shou'd really be the People most distinguished for Literature in Europe? -David Hume, 1757 (Part One: Epiphany)
The constant influx of information and of liberality from abroad, which was thus kept up in Scotland in consequence of the ancient habits and manners of the people, may help to account for the sudden burst of genius, which to a foreigner must seem have sprung up in this country by a sort of enchantment, soon after the Rebellion of 1745. -Dugald Stewart (Part One: Epiphany)
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People of Scottish descent are usually proud about their history and achievements.
The Tron Church stands on Edinburgh's High Street, almost at the midpoint of the Royal Mile, which rises to Edinburgh Castle at one end and slopes down to Holyrood Palace at the other.
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Just as the German Reformation was largely the work of a single individual, Martin Luther, so the Scottish Reformation was the achievement of one man of heroic will and tireless energy: John Knox.
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Presents interesting ideas on how from Scotland many ideas underlying Liberalism and modern capitalism were developed.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0609809997, Paperback)

"I am a Scotsman," Sir Walter Scott famously wrote, "therefore I had to fight my way into the world." So did any number of his compatriots over a period of just a few centuries, leaving their native country and traveling to every continent, carving out livelihoods and bringing ideas of freedom, self-reliance, moral discipline, and technological mastery with them, among other key assumptions of what historian Arthur Herman calls the "Scottish mentality."

It is only natural, Herman suggests, that a country that once ranked among Europe's poorest, if most literate, would prize the ideal of progress, measured "by how far we have come from where we once were." Forged in the Scottish Enlightenment, that ideal would inform the political theories of Francis Hutcheson, Adam Smith, and David Hume, and other Scottish thinkers who viewed "man as a product of history," and whose collective enterprise involved "nothing less than a massive reordering of human knowledge" (yielding, among other things, the Encyclopaedia Britannica, first published in Edinburgh in 1768, and the Declaration of Independence, published in Philadelphia just a few years later). On a more immediately practical front, but no less bound to that notion of progress, Scotland also fielded inventors, warriors, administrators, and diplomats such as Alexander Graham Bell, Andrew Carnegie, Simon MacTavish, and Charles James Napier, who created empires and great fortunes, extending Scotland's reach into every corner of the world.

Herman examines the lives and work of these and many more eminent Scots, capably defending his thesis and arguing, with both skill and good cheer, that the Scots "have by and large made the world a better place rather than a worse place." --Gregory McNamee

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:00 -0400)

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Now in paperback, this lively bestseller traces the history of Scotland's many contributions to our culture, drawing on the most recent research of scholars and historians to demonstrate just how central the Scots have been throughout the rise of the West.… (more)

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