Scotland: A Very Short Introduction, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Since Devolution in 1999 Scotland has become a focus of intense interest both within Britain and throughout the wider world.

In this Very Short Introduction, Rab Houston explores how an independent Scottish nation emerged in the Middle Ages, how it was irrevocably altered by Reformation, links with England and economic change, and how Scotland influenced the development of the modern world.

Examining politics, law, society, religion, education, migration, and culture, he examines how the nation's history has made it distinct from England, both before and after Union, how it overcame internal tensions between Highland and Lowland society, and how it has today arrived at a political, social and culture watershed.

Authoritative, lucid, and ranging widely over issues of environment, people, and identity, this is Scotland's story without myths: an ideal introduction for those interested in the Scots, but also a balanced yet refreshing challenge to those who already feel at home in Scotland past and present.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly.

Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 192 pages, 15 black and white illustrations
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: British & Irish history
  • ISBN: 9780199230792



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Scotland: A Very Short Introduction is a small book packed with a lot of information about Scotland, both historical and current. Broken into sections on politics and government, education, society, religion, culture, Scotland and the wider world, and economy and environment, it addresses the history and issues of each subject.This introduction tells the story of Scotland beyond that of the romantic highlands, whiskey and tartan glamorized by Sir Walter Scott in the early 1800s as a “brilliant public relations exercise” and is a fine overview of the nation.

Review by

This book was a well-organized, brief overview of Scottish history. The author fit a lot into a small book! I especially liked learning more about the Highlands and Lowlands, the language and culture of Scotland. I think it served its purpose well.