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I first read this book in 2002, shortly after publishing and found it so informative and well written, I have referred to parts of it several times in the past. It is a book I have been waiting for in audio format and it was finally published in audio in August of 2016. So I was quite excited to read it in audio format as soon as I could.
There are so many books I have read in paper form and later in audiobook format and usually I am either disappointed in the audiobook, or I find it much improved over the original version. This is one of the few that I have read that I think shines in both formats. Much of the history and the philosophical concepts introduced in the book were fairly new to me when I originally read it. The book started me on a quest to learn more about Scotland, it's history and it's contributions to civilization so when I read the audiobook version I was much more familiar with the content. So I didn't have to stop reading and go do independent research on a specific topic or person, just so I could keep up, as I did the first time I read it. This time I was able to really focus and listen and I picked up so much I missed the first time and also was able to process some of the concepts more thoroughly.
This is a broad overview of Scotland and it's contribution to civilization over the course of the last 400 years. It should be read from that perspective. It is a starting point for those who want to learn the basics about Hume, Smith and Hutchinson, or learn more about the Acts of Union that formed Great Britain 300 years ago and may become dissolved in the near future. But it digs deeply enough into the subjects that the reader feels they are learning something meaningful. I highly recommend in either format.
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Somehow I was put off by the title, thinking it was a gimmick book. This is the best overview of the many Scottish contributions to the society of modern man. It has rekindled my appetite for learning about the modern foundations of liberty. The myriad of essential works written by the Scottish enlightenment is astounding. They really did invent our modern world and renewed my interest in exploring my family roots.
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