A History Of Scotland by Neil Oliver

UPDATE! I found out that Oliver is both a genocide denier and a science denier (anti-vaxxer), so I reinforce my not-to-read advice for this book. I wouldn’t have read it if I was aware of his views, as they are too biased to make presenting facts realistic or genuine.

I saw A History Of Scotland by Neil Oliver in the library by chance and I had to borrow it. I didn’t know much about Scotland’s history and it seemed interesting. And, of course, I knew Neil Oliver from Coast. My first disappointment with the book was to discover that it doesn’t have a family tree. In a history book over such a long period of time, a family tree of the rulers is essential. I’ve read the book, but I gave it only 3 stars because it was written in a quite peculiar way. For example, in the first chapter he starts by describing how Scotland was made, as in tectonic plates moving around after the Earth was formed. At least puzzling for a history book. Thus me not recommending it.

A History Of Scotland by Neil Oliver

Interesting things mentioned in the book:

Alexander, King of the Scots, was mentioned in Magna Carta, in clause 59
When Henry III reissued Magna Carta, any mention of the Scots was omitted
The “Red Wedding” (the episode The Rains of Castamere from Games of Thrones) is inspired by a historical fact. The Douglas boy were invited to a dinner at Edinburgh Castle, where they were beheaded. It is known as the “Black Dinner”.
The first printing press was established in 1507 or 1508 in Edinburgh, over 30 years after Caxton established one in England, with the patronage of King Edward IV and Queen Elizabeth.
“MacDonalds of Glencoe were cattle thieves, praying on their knees on Sundays, as they say, and preying upon their neighbours the rest of the week”
John Wedderburn’s story was interesting. Fled from Culloden to Americas so he could have his freedom where he become a slave owner in Jamaica.

A History Of Scotland by Neil Oliver

Details about the picture: The shortbread is made in Scotland and it’s also a Scottish dessert.
My rating: 3/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: No
Published by: Phoenix
Year it was published: 2010
Format: Paperback
Genre(s): Non-fiction. History
Pages: 459

About the author: Neil Oliver is an archaeologist, historian, author, and TV presenter. He graduated from the University of Glasgow as an archaeologist in 1988. In 2002 his television career started, BBC 2, when he and his friend Tony Pollard recreated battle situation on historic British battlefields. He co-wrote two books to accompany the series.

After that he joined Coast on BBC2. That was the TV show I saw him in. He made other documentaries on Channel 4 and BBC2. He took part in Channel 4’s Time Team: Big Royal Dig, when the gardens at the Palace of Holyrood house in Edinburgh were dug up. He continued presenting many other TV shows: The History Detectives for BBC 2 (2007); A History of Scotland (2008); Cleopatra (2009); A History of Ancient Britain (2011); A History of Celtic Britain (2011); Vikings (2012)

He published a few books. You can see them all listed on his website, link below. Neil lives in Scotland with his wife and their three children.
Website & Social Media Links: –

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