Scotland from the Earliest Times to 1603

By William Croft Dickinson | Go to book overview

Foreword

SOME fifty years have now elapsed since Hume Brown published his three-volume History of Scotland, which, upon its appearance, was at once accepted as the 'standard' account. Since 'Hume Brown' there have been many books on Scottish history, and, after half a century, a real need has arisen for a new 'History of Scotland', written from a somewhat different approach and taking full account of our advancing knowledge. A new 'History of Scotland', consecutive and comprehensive, but still manageable, seemed to be desirable alike for the general reader, for the university student, and for the advanced school pupil.

On several occasions I discussed this need with Professor George S. Pryde, of the University of Glasgow, and the two of us finally decided to compile a new two-volume 'History of Scotland' ourselves, of which I should write the first volume, 'From the Earliest Times to 1603', while he would write the second, 'From 1603 to the Present Day'. So our joint effort began. In the course of our collaboration we have kept in constant touch with one another, exchanging our chapters, as they were written, not only for comment but also in the hope of securing a reasonable approach to uniformity in scope and treatment.

Because our 'History' is intended for general use, footnotes have been kept to a minimum and there are few references to sources and authorities. For a like reason the 'select Bibliography' at the end of each volume is intended mainly to furnish details of the works which are referred to in the text or have been used in its preparation, and also to act as a guide to further reading; it does not pretend to be other than a select list of the more essential original authorities and the more important secondary works.

When writing the earlier chapters of my own volume I benefited from advice and help freely given to me by Professor Stuart Piggott, Dr Kenneth Steer and Mrs M. O. Anderson; and, when the volume was in draft, my colleagues, Dr Gordon Donaldson, Mr A. A. M. Duncan and Dr W. Ferguson, generously read through the whole of the typescript and made a number of valuable suggestions for its improvement. I am also indebted to Dr I. B. Cowan for compiling the Index.

-vii-

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