Friday, June 22, 2018

Review: How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World and Everything in It

How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World and Everything in It How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World and Everything in It by Arthur Herman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's no secret that I love my public library. I'm also proud we're part of the chain of Carnegie libraries, public institutions started or boosted by a grant from Andrew Carnegie back in the day.

But what kind of society produced a robber baron who wanted to use his megamillions to promote literacy and civic involvement? It was the Scots, according to Arthur Herman in this wonderfully readable history of the modern Western world. Economic systems, good governance, modern medicine, civic engagement, universal literacy--especially universal literacy--are all legacies of a tiny nation north of England.

I recommend this book in particular to anyone who's a student of American, Commonwealth or British history. I would have enjoyed it even if I wasn't planning a trip to the Highlands this summer, and it was a fabulous adjunct to my travel guides and memories of my previous visits to Scotland.

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