Judges' Comments


John Law, A Scottish Adventurer of the Eighteenth Century

by James Buchan

Published by Maclehose Press

Enormously readable, fascinating account of a Scottish economist and financial speculator. Largely ignored in the land of his birth, Law was a global Scot who offered his backers, primarily at the French court, plausible visions of untold wealth, although he himself died, broken and poor, in Venice.

 

The Sea Kings: The Late Norse Kingdoms of Man and the Isles, c.1066-1275
by R Andrew Macdonald
published by John Donald

Admirably clear exposition of the complicated two centuries-long history of the jostling maritime territories – including the often-neglected island of Man - that were absorbed into what became the kingdom of Scotland. Effectively illustrated. Commendable too is the short guide for the interested reader to sites worth visiting. 

 

The Darkest Dawn: The Story of the Iolaire

By Malcolm Macdonald and Donald John MacLeod

Published by Acair

A forensically detailed record of a tragedy that continues to haunt Lewis and the Western Isles. Immensely moving, this beautifully produced, marvellously illustrated book will be a lasting memorial to those men returning from the War who lost their lives when the Iolaire sank within sight of their homeland on 1 January 1919.

 

Lord Seaforth, Highland Landowner, Caribbean Governor
By Finlay McKichan
Published by Edinburgh University Press

A rigorous study of the head of one of Scotland’s leading landed dynasties. It examines key themes during transformational decades in Highland, British – and Caribbean - history, including Seaforth’s attitude to and sympathy for plantation slaves, but also incorporates insights into the personality of a man who was profoundly deaf and partially mute.

 

Frederick Douglass and Scotland: Living an Antislavery Life
By Andrew Pettinger
Published by Edinburgh University Press

Timely and engaging account of a short period in the remarkable life of a fugitive from American slavery which reveals awkward ambiguities in the attitudes to slavery and slave owing of prominent Scottish institutions, above all the Free Church.


Alexander III, 1249-1286: First Among Equals

by Norman Reid
Published by John Donald

Long-awaited, the outcome of exhaustive research and deep contemplation, this multi-faceted book offers fresh perspectives on a little-known but important Scottish king and a pivotal period in the history of the emergent Scottish nation. 

 

Though not shortlisted the Judges wants to give a Special Mention to:

 

The Armorial of Sir David Lyndsay of the Mount
By Alex Maxwell Findlater
Published by National Library of Scotland

Largely a reference book of interest to the specialist, the publication of these two richly illustrated volumes is to be commended; not only for their visual qualities but also for establishing the significance of the seminal armorial of Sir David Lyndsay and of heraldry more generally for Scotland’s noble and gentry families in the medieval era.