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Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Peatbogs, Plague & Potatoes: Review

Peatbogs, Plague & Potatoes

There I was, minding my own business, when the postman knocked twice. It was a parcel! I love parcels and so raced upstairs to Mission Control to rip it open.

What a splendid chap! My ‘brother with the hair’ had managed to purloin a book from a work colleague, just on the off-chance that I might enjoy it. In the accompanying card he did say he thought it might be a “load of old pants” as the lad he pinched it from had said it was quite heavy going… But never one to look a gift-horse in the mouth, I braced myself, and dug into the book as a night-time reader.

Within the first few pages, I was hooked. This isn’t a skim-reader. It demands and deserves attention. Not a single word is wasted! Skip a bit and you are lost. Go back and re-read it if it hasn’t sunk in.

With climate change on everyone’s thoughts these days, Emma Wood has set out to write how climate change and geology shaped Scotland’s history. Most Scots, and a few English, know about the political history of Scotland, but few, I would venture, understand how massively important Scotland's geology and climate change has been in the country’s turbulent past.

The book covers Scotland from the start of geology itself, when the rocks were laid down 3 billion years ago, through the various ice ages, up to the present day. It talks of the land’s first settlers, and how the huge swings in climate affected their lives and how humans adjusted and coped with these events. It travels through time examining how these swings in the climate affected agriculture and settlement patterns.

In brief, it gives you a comprehensive account as to why things are as they are right now. Armed with this information, you will see that the modern phenomenon of climate change is just the latest in a long line of events that the Scots have had to adapt to. With all the outrageous nonsense talked nowadays about climate change, this book shines like a beacon of reason.

A ‘MUST READ’ book!

Peatbogs, Plague & Potatoes: Emma Wood, Luath Press.

22 comments:

  1. I haven't read this one but the same area is covered by So Fair and Foul A Day: A History of Scotland's Weather by Alastair Dawson. There's also plenty of interesting information in Land of Mountain and Flood: The Geology and Landforms of Scotland by Alan McKirdy, John Gordon and Roger Crofts.

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    1. Thanks for that Chris. I am getting quite a bit of time to read at the moment so I shall gobble them up!

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  2. Looks like my sort of book that.
    And i need something new to read.

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    1. Well worth it. Speaking as a Welshman brought up in England (whose schooling seemed to ignore Scotland in history lessons) I found the historical information fascinating. Coupled with the information on climate changes and geology, it made a glorious read.

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  3. It's good to hear of a worthy book, and to see a review of it. I do a fair bit of reading - as much as time will allow - and it's probably my main pastime after walking. As well as keeping a tally of what I've read, I add short reviews of outdoor-relevant tomes to my blog.

    Climate change is an interesting topic. I'm sure I can't be the only committed walker, outdoor enthusiast and environmentalist who is incredibly suspicious of anything done by Government in the name of Climate Change. It seems to me the only "change" they are interested in is that they can milk from us in the pretence of environmentalism, and "green" is nothing more than a desription of what they think we must be!

    That's not to say we should ignore the potential problems resulting from Climate Change - far from it - and we do need to develop a sensible energy policy. But the planet will adapt to change - it's what it does. Whether we do or not is an entirely different issue!

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    1. It always amazes me that media bang on about "carbon" this that and the other, when in fact they actually mean carbon dioxide...

      You may beinterested in seeing this film: LINK

      It's a couple of years old now but still holds true.

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  4. So Fair and Foul A Day: A History of Scotland's Weather by Alastair Dawson.
    I can endorse that as a good read!

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  5. http://www.thegwpf.org/opinion-pros-a-cons/5128-matt-ridley-the-winds-of-change.html

    Hi Alan and friends. The worm may be starting to turn. It strikes me that you or Chris Townsend might be in the running for the offered prize.

    I have been battling my MP, the monumentally stupid Albert Owen (Lab, Ynys Mon), for a while now to no good effect. Luckily common sense seems to be prevailing.

    By the way there is no problem calling Albert a stupid bastard on your blog. I have done it to him in person. He just laughs and helps himself to another taxpayer funded cake. C***.

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    1. Peter: Another brilliant contribution!

      It made me giggle, at least!

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    2. That posting from the Spectator was excellent.

      No doubt Anon will be along in a minute to fight the pointless cause, or maybe he has given up.

      Will Salmond ever see the rationale though, or is his head buried so far up ...........

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    3. In fact it was so good I have updated my blog with it.

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    4. Excellent, indeed Sir! Perhaps the message is finally getting through. The pity of it all is that it is all so late and so much countryside and lives have been ruined by this industry.

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    5. What is more worrying is how much damage will still be done to some of greatest and most beautiful countryside before the politicians go beyond rhetoric.
      Considering the education that many of them have had, it is truely astonishing how gullible and totally lacking in common sense they are.

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    6. When you look at your average MP's education the majority have not come from the sciences. Hence the problem.

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    1. I have reviews coming up on old favourites recently re-read: Eric Newby's "A short walk in the Hindu Kush" and Mr Brown's "Hamish's Groats End Walk"

      :-)

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    2. Hamish's books are a regular 'read' - his Munro trip is an annual feast! The very special atmosphere of the Highlands at that time is, alas, no longer. To be taken back to a different time, try any Rev T Ratcliffe Barnett's books if you can find them eg 'The Road to Rannoch and the Summer Isles' (1923) or 'The Land of Locheil' (1927).

      "Many a time I have wandered through Crathie and up Glen Markie to let the place slide into my soul".

      We like them anyway!

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    3. That quote does it for me. I shall have to hunt this one down! Cheers, Gibson.
      :-)

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  7. Thanks, Alan; I've added it to my list of books to read. I love to have a book on the go; I've just finished John Wyatt's 'The Shining Levels' and found it every bit as good as its reputation.

    'While flocks last' by Charlie Elder is next for me.

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    1. We should start a "Bloggers Book Club"... Just a thought...

      :-)

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  8. There is another excellent book which takes the history of Scotland from Neolithic to present times. Although very definitely historic in content it also refers to the causes of changes by their climatic nature. But when all said and done from the Medieval warm period when the wealth of our agricultural society funded the major cathedrals of this country to the little ice age when people scated on the Thames and we have old painings showing shops being set up on the ice with braziers to keep warm, Climate changes. Only since computer models of modern data have oportunists developed an industry of academia, not science! When I dig the book out I will furnish you with the name.

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