Clearance and Improvement

by T. M. Devine

Clearance and Improvement

Based on thirty years of research by Professor Tom Devine, this book is a collection of essays covering the great transformation of rural Scotland which broadly occurred between the 1760s and the middle decades of the nineteenth century.




SKU: 9781906566234 Categories: ,


’This is a fascinating book, in the way that only a book informed by fresh research can be.’ – Holyrood Magazine

Social and economic changes included an increase in production of food and raw materials, in turn sustaining the remarkable growth of towns and cities over this period. However, in the folk memory of Scotland the social and cultural costs of the revolution loom much larger: the loss of land for many thousands of families; the rise of individualism and the decline of neighbourhood; the death of old rural societies which had formed Scotland’s character for many generations.

The drama and tragedy of Highland history during this period have attracted many authors, whereas the Lowland experience, that of the majority of Scots, hardly any. This book attempts to redress that balance, and in so doing examines why this extraordinary era, inextricably associated with failure, famine and clearance in Gaeldom, is remembered as one of ‘improvement’ in the Lowlands, where the folk memory of dispossession, if it ever existed, is long lost in collective amnesia. In so doing, Devine addresses an issue which goes right to the heart of the nation’s past.

Professor Tom Devine, OBE, FBA was educated at Strathclyde University, Glasgow where he graduated with first class honours in History in 1968 followed by a PhD and D.Litt. He rose through the academic ranks from assistant lecturer to Deputy Principal of the University in 1992. In 1998 he accepted the Directorship of the centre for Irish and Scottish Studies at Aberdeen, where he is also Glucksman Professor of Irish & Scottish Studies. In early 2006, he assumed the Sir William Fraser Chair of Scottish History at the University of Edinburgh, widely acknowledged to be the world’s premier Chair of Scottish History. In a unique arrangement he will also continue to hold his Aberdeen university professorship. He is the author or editor of some two dozen books including international best seller The Scottish Nation (1999).


ISBN: 9781906566234

Publication date: 02/03/2017

Format: Paperback (also available as an eBook)

Publisher: Birlinn Ltd

Stock status: Published

Categories: Birlinn/Polygon , History