THE TITLE IS a misnomer. Scotland has never had an empire. (Nor of course has England, not since 1707 anyway.) Professor Devine knows this perfectly well. I dare say the eye-catching title was foisted on him by his publishers to make clearer what the book evidently is - a companion volume to his excellent history, The Scottish Nation 1700-2000 - than a more accurate title such as 'The Role of the Scots in the British Empire' would have done.
Yet that title would itself have been inadequate, for one part of his undertaking is to explore something very different: how the Scots' engagement in the making and development of the British Empire helped to form a Scottish identity and national consciousness. This is a demanding topic, and a bold