Neal Ascherson takes on the intimidating task of trying to unravel the tangle of untidy history and correlate the continuities throughout the years of Scotland. He makes the valid point that many countries, particularly England, are very meticulous with their history, but bonny Scotland is different. The history of that country has been left intact, warts and all, with no hint of shame or attempt to conceal what did or did not happen.
Stone Voices is a scavenger hunt for the relationships, themes, and dreams that encompass all that is Scotland. To make the book all the more interesting, Ascherson weaves into the historical accounts the eventful bus tour he was a part of during the 1997 referendum campaign that precipitated Scotlandís first modern Parliament. The book includes fascinating exploration of the evolutionary process of the Scottish throughout the centuries of immigrations; the coexistence and sometimes conflict of their search for the real Scotland with the myths created by others; and the famous Scottish sense of independence. Lessons can be learned from Stone Voices, not just about Scotland but also about the freedom that we all still yearn for today.
For those of you who do not care a great deal for history, fear not: Ascherson has a gift for taking even dry material and making it interesting. For those of us who love history, we have found a little piece of heaven. The descriptions are so acute that one almost feels present at the described event. It is obvious that a tremendous amount of research went into this book. The pacing and structure and excellent, and it is a comfortable read.
Stone Voices is a good book for those with an interest in history and even those who normally do not like history because Ascherson can make anyone find history fascinating.