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A History of Everyday Life in Twentieth Century Scotland - Book Review

31 October 2011

A History of Everyday Life in Twentieth Century Scotland - Book ReviewBook review of A History of Everyday Life in Twentieth Century Scotland from Edinburgh University Press, by Lynn Abrams & Callum Brown.

The second-published entry in an innovative four-part series, and ultimately its closing volume, A History of Everyday Life in Twentieth Century Scotland, seeks to provide an inter-disciplinary overview of the ordinary experiences of the Scottish population over the course of the last century. Like the other books in the series, it looks to achieve this through a number of essays (ten in this case, plus an introduction) in which a diverse group of academics explore different aspects of the everyday.

The introduction, written jointly by Lynn Abrams and Callum Brown, sets out the aims and overall strategy of the book, combining this with an interesting discussion of the theory and metholodogy behind the study of the everyday. The first full chapter, written by Brown, acts almost as an extension to the introduction by sketching the quantitive context. Using a variety of data sets, presented in more than two dozen graphs and tables, it offers insightful statistical analysis of topics such as demography, work, health, consumption, leisure, transport and crime.

If the book is not wholly successful in synthesising current research, it does provide an innovative and stimulating contribution to the existing historiography. By signposting the range of exciting new themes with which historians are beginning to engage, and by illustrating the innumerable methodologies they are able to use, it will no doubt succeed in persuading others that there is much fresh ground in 20th-century studies just waiting to be tilled.

Available from Edinburgh University Press, ISBN 9780748624317. To buy this and other top Scottish books at fantastic discounted prices, visit the Celebrate Scotland book shop and keep up to date with the latest offers in every issue of Scottish Memories and History Scotland.

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