June 2024
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Scotiana’s Books for Christmas: Alistair Moffat’s Scotland


Santa's Sleigh, part of a display in Glasgow wikimedia

Santa’s Sleigh, part of a display in Glasgow –  Wikimedia

Dear readers,

The book I’ve chosen today for our Christmas selection  is Scotland, A History from Earliest Times by Alistair Moffat. It is the author’s last published book and a very good choice for people who love Scotland and more especially the history of Scotland.

I had already downloaded the book on my kindle but the beautiful hardback edition arrived yesterday together with another book to which Alistair Moffat has largely contributed. This last book will be my next choice for Christmas. Try and guess what it is… 😉

Many thanks to Father Christmas for having brought me such wonderful Scottish books in his magical sleigh .

Bookmark designed by Tumi K Steyn South Africa

Bookmark designed by Tumi K Steyn South Africa

Alistair Moffat’s Scotland had been ordered from The Book Depository online bookstore and it came with the lovely bookmark you can see above. This bookmark was designed by Tumi K Steyn, from South Africa, and if you read Alistair Moffat’s dedication and the second paragraph of his Acknowledgements which I’ve quoted below, under the front cover of the book, you’ll understand why I was so surprised and moved on discovering it inside the volume.

Alistair Moffat is one of my favourite Scottish authors and his new book will soon join the other four volumes one can see on my “Scottish history” shelf: Britain’s Last Frontier 1st published by Birlinn in 2012, Before Scotland 1st published by Thames & Hudson in 2005, The Faded Map 1st published by Birlinn in 2010 and The Wall also published by Birlinn in 2006

A selection of four books by Alistair Moffat's four

A selection of four books by Alistair Moffat’s four

Mr Moffat’s other titles will certainly join the family one day or other ;-). I do my best to read my precious books from Scotland more quickly but my native tongue being French it’s not so easy though an insatiable curiosity and my love for books like those of Alistair Moffat help me perform miracles!

Alistair Moffat Scotland A History from earliest times Birlinn Octobre 2015

Alistair Moffat Scotland A History from earliest times Birlinn Octobre 2015



“In Memory of Hannah Moffat – the story of Scotland she will always be part of”

“As I was writting the last chapters of this book, my granddaughter, Hannah Moffat, died and my son and his wife and our whole family were shattered by a grief beyond all experience. The image of her little wicker-basket coffin will stay with me to the end of my days. This book is for the wee lass we were never allowed to know but will never forget.”

Alistair Moffat
July, 2015

 I dedicate this page to Mr Alistair Moffat and to his granddaughter Hannah, remembering Sir Walter Scott’s Tales of a Scottish Grandfather which he had written for and dedicated to his grandson, Hugh Littlejohn, Esq …
Mr Moffat is a great historian and a dedicated storyteller. Just have a look at the contents of the book to anticipate the good reading you’re going to have.


  1. The Collisions
  2. The Pioneers
  3. Caledonia
  4. Alba
  5. Old Gods and the Edge of Heaven
  6. The Nation of the Scots
  7. The War for Scotland
  8. Scotland Remade
  9. An Imperfect Union
  10. Rebellious Scots
  11. North Britain

“From the Ice Age to the recent Scottish Referendum, historian and author Alistair Moffat explores the history of the Scottish nation. As well as focusing on key moments in the nation’s history such as the Battle of Bannockburn and the Jacobite Risings, Moffat also features other episodes in history that are perhaps less well documented. From prehistoric timber halls to inventions and literature, Moffat’s tale explores the drama of battle, change, loss and invention interspersed with the lives of ordinary Scottish folk, the men and women who defined a nation.”


‘This is a very readable, well-researched and fluent account’ —Scotland on Sunday
Book of the Week, October 2015 — Press & Journal
‘The great thing about Moffat’s account is that, for all its emphasis on uncertainty, it rattles along with complete narrative certainty, to the extent that great events consistently take even a historically literate reader unawares’ —Scottish Review of Books
Moffat plunders the facts and fables to create a richly-detailed and comprehensive analysis of a nation’s past and references a huge number of sources’ —Scotland Magazine
Alistair Moffat Scottish historian and writer

Alistair Moffat

Sitting on the step outside my office on a sunny summer evening,
when a peace seems to settle,
I sometimes think I can see all of Scotland’s history.
Not through an effort of the imagination
but in the ways in which the five or six hundred generations before us left their marks on the land.

“In AD 43, ELEPHANTS plodded through Colchester.  Brought to awe and amaze all the natives who saw them, war elephants had been carefully feried across the English Channel by a Roman expeditionary force. It was a moment of high drama, of powerful political symbolism (..)

The English Channel represented a tremendous psychological barrier, the stormy, unpredictable, unknown ocean on the edge of the worl. Legionaries and their generals were much happier marching on solid roads than bobbing about on the swells and the tides. There had been mutinies on the embarkation beaches at Boulogne. But, in AD 43, the transports crossed and it was done.”  (Scotland – Chapter 3 “Caledonia”)

Not so easily done in the north… but that’s another story to be read in the book 😉

About the Author

Alistair Moffat was born and bred in the Scottish Borders. A former Director of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Director of Programmes at Scottish Television, he now runs the Borders Book Festival and the DNA testing company, BritainsDNA ( He is the author of a number of highly acclaimed books and is currently Rector of St Andrews University.

On Amazon you can read an extract of the book 🙂

And see below two very interesting videos with Alistair Moffat. 🙂

Enjoy !

A bientôt for our next book selection.




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