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Outline ReviewScotland had long been a de facto colony of England by the time the Act of Union between the two countries was signed in 1707. Even so, writes historian T.M. Devine, it was a colony that proudly refused to consider itself anything other than a separate nation, one that bound itself to historical fact and invented traditions alike in an effort to retain national identity. Scotland, Devine writes, fell to England for many reasons, not least of them its small and scattered population. Keenly aware of its status as a subject nation, Scotland still contributed greatly, and disproportionately, to the development of the British Empire--not only by sending its Highland regiments off to battle in distant lands and its people to colonize large parts of the world, but also by committing itself to industrial and technological development, a contribution that created great commercial fortunes in Edinburgh and London alike.
Devine charts the uneasy relationship between Scotland and England, focusing closely on the growth of Scottish ideas of independence and self-rule through the last three centuries. Those ideas, he notes with satisfaction, led in July 1999 to the meeting of the first Scottish parliament since 1707. His epic, forward-looking historical study is without peer, and students of Scotland's past and present will find much of value in its pages. --Gregory McNamee
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