Independence or Union?: The Scottish Question in History'
Tom Devine

Independence or Union?: The Scottish Question in History'

The rationale for the book   will be to attempt to provide an answer to a fascinating  historical puzzle.

In the 1950s unionism in Scotland had reached an electoral peak and the SNP was an irrelevant political sect rather than an effective party.Yet, within a generation or so,in the Referendum of 2014, 45 per cent of Scots voted for independence and despite the clear victory for  Unionists the debate rages on.What happened in 2014  will mean a radical  revision of the Union with consequences for the governance of the entire UK.

How is this transformation in attitudes to the union state and the continuing prospect of  Scottish independence to be explained?This volume,ranging widely over seventy years of history and examining political,economic,social,religious and cultural factors as well as issues of identity and the relevance of international influences,will seek to provide an answer.An additional aim is,while charting the decline of unionism,  to analyse at the end of the study why loyalty to the British state  remained resilient enough to register a clear victory for the No campaign in September 2014

Distinctive features:

- the first ever major attempt to confront a fundamental question in modern British history over the long run since  the end of World War II

- takes account of all  relevant academic writing from political science,history,economics,popular culture as well as  authoritative press features  on the subjects of nationalism in Scotland,unionism,Scottish history since 1945 and the Referendum itself

- uses original press and archival sources

- written in a style to appeal to a very broad audience- a text from which academic peers can  hopefully learn but which reaches well beyond academe to appeal to all interested readers.The book will be written in the style The Scottish Nation

- the author will take  account  in the writing of the text  of the massive international media  interest in the origins and aftermath of the Referendum  in order to explain context and historical background clearly and cogently to non-British readers

- the text could also serve as a fresh and up to date history of modern Scotland, rendered coherent with a central theme/question running throughout and  covering  the period comprehensively  in the spirit  of 'histoire totale'

Book Details:

  • Author: Tom Devine
  • On Submission
  • Rights Sold
    • UK: Penguin

Tom Devine

Professor Sir Tom Devine is Head of the School of History,Classics and Archaeology, Director of the Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies and the Sir William Fraser Chair of Scottish History and Palaeography at the University of Edinburgh, generally regarded as the world's premier Chair of Scottish History. Tom Devine was educated at Strathclyde University where he graduated with first class honours in History in 1968 followed by a Ph.D and D.Litt. He rose through the academic ranks from assistant lecturer to Reader, Professor, Head of Department, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Scie...
More about Tom Devine

Book Reviews

  • "...useful not only for Scottish readers, but also for anyone in Britain, Europe and the wider world who wants a relatively brief synopsis of how Scotland and the United Kingdom arrived at where they are now."
    History Today
  • "Briskly, clearly and fairly, he sketches a complex and detailed history, bringing new life and fresh perspectives to old stories. His aim is to write a history “with a commitment to impartiality, the use of representative evidence and the due respect for conflicting opinions”. This he has done brilliantly. "
    Prospect
  • " the most prolific and influential of modern Scottish historians. His books on Scotland’s part in the making and administration of the British Empire are invaluable contributions to our understanding of the country’s history. "
    Literary Review
  • "...a book which is intended, I suspect, to become the standard textbook on Scotland’s history of the Union. It is an impeccably nationalist interpretation of Scottish history which will further cement Devine’s status as, in the judgment of his harsher critics, the SNP’s court historian. So it is an important book, even if you do not like it"
    Times
  • "...thorough, readable and grounded in statistics rather than stories."
    Scotland on Sunday
  • "This is analytical, synthetic, argumentative history at its best; it slays lazy myths and tells us the "why " of a momentous story every intelligent Briton ought to understand. .  It has gaps... but it's cracking. And of course, it isn't really history. It's (highly) current affairs."
    Andrew Marr, Sunday Times
  • "Independence or Union is his best book to date, is required reading and a perfect example of why history matters."
    Alan Taylor,The Herald
  • "This fearless book … surefooted, balanced and  reliable in analysis throughout."
    Colin Kidd,London Review of Books,
  • "A thoroughly reasoned assessment."
    Times Higher Education Supplement
  • "The most respected historian  in Scotland ,whose considered opinion is valued by both unionists and nationalists alike."
    The National
  • "Like much of Devine’s work it is informative and pleasantly easy to read … a clear account of Scotland’s constitutional trajectory over the last four centuries."
    Scottish Review of Books
  • "His aim was to write a history with a commitment to impartiality,the use of representative evidence and due respect for conflicting opinions.This he has done brilliantly … bringing  new  life and fresh perspectives to old stories."
    Prospect