The Highland Clearances: People, Landlords and Rural Turmoil

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Birlinn, 2008 - History - 486 pages

In the first documented study of one of Scotland’s most emotive subjects for many years, this book traces the origins of the Clearances from the 18th century to their culmination in the crofting legislation of the 1880s. This process of clearance was part of a wider European movement of rural depopulation, and Eric Richards describes the appalling conditions and treatment suffered by the Highland people. At the same time, however, he also illustrates how difficult the choices were that faced even the most benevolent landlords in the face of rapid economic change. The Clearances were the most rugged and painful of many attempted solutions to the problem of how to maintain a population on marginal and infertile land. In drawing attention away from the mythology to the hard facts of what actually happened, this book offers a balanced analysis of events which created a terrible scar on the Highland and Gaelic imagination, the historical legacy of which still lies unresolved in the 21st century.

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User Review  - mbmackay - LibraryThing

This is a particularly annoying book. It is my third book in last year about the 19th century "clearances" of tenant farmers in the Scottish Highlands. It offers some advantages over the others - it ... Read full review

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About the author (2008)

Eric Richards is Professor of History at Flinders University, Australia and previously taught at Stirling University, Scotland. His published work includes an acclaimed biography of Patrick Sellar, which was awarded the prize for Scottish History Book of the Year (1999) by the Saltire Society.

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