Book Reviews

“Carrick Scotland: Beyond the Tourist Guides” by James Brown

Reviewed by Fergus Cannan-Braniff

Brown, James. 2009, “Carrick Scotland: Beyond the Tourist Guides”, Darvel: Carrick Community Council’s Forum’, Ailsa Horizons, 96 pp (pb). ISBN 978-0-9563061-0-4. Reviewed by Fergus Cannan-Braniff. carrick-scotland

Local history and local historians are sometimes seen as intellectually inferior to the ‘real’ history of nations, empires and societies. I am keen to reject this prejudice. I would be proud to think of myself as a local historian, and this pleasant book is a charming example of the genre. Indeed, I maintain that a detailed study of a narrow, specialist or obscure topic often sheds a more useful and illuminating light on our understanding of the past than broad-brush general histories can. This is not always the case, but Brown’s book is a nice compendium of landscape, wildlife, heritage and genealogy of a historically importance region. The book prompts one to consider Carrick as a place and as a setting for Scottish history, Robert the Bruce being the area’s most famous son.

Carrick, at the very least because of the Bruce connection, is somewhere all historians of Scotland ought to know about; yet it is one of those parts of Scotland that tourists and writers often overlook. Brown’s book is written clearly and is an attractive book to browse through. This well-illustrated book is a proud tribute to Carrick.

Fergus Cannan-Braniff’s latest book, Knights and Their Tombs, was published late 2017.

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