Independence or Union: Scotland’s Past and Scotland’s Present by T M Devine - review by Allan Massie

Allan Massie

The Thistle Blooms

Independence or Union: Scotland’s Past and Scotland’s Present


Allen Lane 306pp £20 order from our bookshop

Sir Tom Devine is 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. He has long been interested in examining the dual identity that allows people to be both Scottish and British. The greater part of Independence or Union reprises this theme and will be of use only to those who haven’t read Devine’s earlier books, which are more substantial and detailed.

The inspiration for this book was, of course, the independence referendum of 2014. In it, Devine covers its origins, course and consequences. The last may seem paradoxical. Scotland voted by a margin of a little more than 10 per cent to reject independence. Yet at the general election eight months

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