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Scotland has long had a romantic appeal which has tended to be focused on a few over-dramatized personalities or events, notably Mary Queen of Scots, Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Highland Clearances-the failures and the sad - though more positively, William Wallace and Robert the Bruce have also got in on the act, because of their heroism in resisting English aggression. This has had its own satisfaction, and has certainly been very good for the tourist industry. But, fuelled by theexplosion of serious academic studies in the last half-century, there has grown up a keen desire for a better-informed and more satisfying understanding of the Scottish past-and not only in Scotland. The vague use of 'Britain' in books and television series which are in fact about England has begun toprovoke adverse comment; there is clearly a growing desire for knowledge about the history of the non-English parts of the British Isles and Eire, already well established in Ireland and becoming increasingly obvious as far as Scotland and Wales are concerned. This book brings together a series of studies by well-established scholars of Scottish history, from Roman times until the present day, and makes the fruits of their research accessible to students and the general reader alike. It offers the opportunity to go beyond the old myths, legends, and romance to the much more rewarding knowledge of why Scotland was a remarkably successful, thriving, and important kingdom, of international renown.

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