How the Scots Invented the Modern World; The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World & Everything in It
New York: Three Rivers Press, 2001. First Paperback Edition [stated]. Fourth printing [stated]. Trade paperback. viii, 472 pages. Occasional Footnotes. Sources and Guide for Further Reading. Index. Signed by the author sticker on the front cover. Cover has minor wear and soiling. Signed by the author on the title page. Arthur L. Herman (born 1956) is an American historian, currently serving as a senior fellow at Hudson Institute. Herman received his B.A. from the University of Minnesota and M.A. and Ph.D. in history from Johns Hopkins University. He spent a semester abroad at The University of Edinburgh in Scotland. His 1984 dissertation research dealt with the political thought of early-17th-century French Huguenots. Herman taught at Sewanee: The University of the South, George Mason University, Georgetown and The Catholic University of America. He was the founder and coordinator of the Western Heritage Program in the Smithsonian's Campus on the Mall lecture series. In 2008, he added to his body of work Gandhi and Churchill: The Epic Rivalry that Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age, a finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. His book, How the Scots Invented the Modern World, was a New York Times bestseller. The book was published as a hardcover in November 2001 by Crown Publishing Group and as a trade paperback in September 2002. Critics found the thesis to be over-reaching but descriptive of the Scots' disproportionate impact on modernity. In the American market, the trade paperback peaked at #3 on The Washington Post bestseller list, while in the Canadian market it peaked at #1. The book grew out of a class topic at the Smithsonian regarding intellectual life in Edinburgh in the 18th century. Herman was impressed by the fact that so many prominent individuals who had a significant impact on modernity had come from such a specific geographic location and time-frame. How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World & Everything in It (or The Scottish Enlightenment: The Scots invention of the Modern World) is a non-fiction book written by American historian Arthur Herman. The book examines the origins of the Scottish Enlightenment and what impact it had on the modern world. Herman focuses principally on individuals, presenting their biographies in the context of their individual fields and also in terms of the theme of Scottish contributions to the world. The book is divided into two parts. The first part, Epiphany, consists of eight chapters and focuses on the roots, development, and impact of the Scottish Enlightenment on Scotland and Great Britain. The second part, Diaspora, focuses on the impacts of Scots on events, the world, and industries. Most Scots who did fight in the militias were the most capable because many were the same refugee families from the 1745 Jacobite rising. Herman claims that the Scottish School of Common Sense influenced much of the American declaration of independence and constitution. The book is divided into two parts. The first part, Epiphany, consists of eight chapters and focuses on the roots, development, and impact of the Scottish Enlightenment on Scotland and Great Britain. The roots come from an appreciation for democracy and literacy that developed from the Scottish Reformation, when John Knox brought Calvinist Presbyterianism to Scotland. He preached that God ordained power into the people and that it was for the people to administer and enforce God's laws, not the monarchy. For common people to understand God's laws they had to be able to read the Bible, so schools were built in every parish and literacy rates grew rapidly, creating a Scottish-oriented market for books and writers. The second part, Diaspora, focuses on the impacts of Scots on events, the world, and industries. Most Scots immigrants in the American colonies sympathized with the British during the American Revolutionary War but those who did fight in the militias were the most capable because many were the same refugee families from the 1745 Jacobite rising. Herman claims that the Scottish School of Common Sense influenced much of the American declaration of independence and constitution. Herman wrote the book for an American audience which may not have been very familiar with Scottish history. He provides a historical overview and short biographies of the most prominent Scots. The historical approach uses the Great Man Theory, that a historical narrative can be told through the lives of a few prominent figures. Several reviewers found that Herman was successful in proving that Scots did have a disproportionate impact on modernity. Condition: Very good.
Keywords: Scotland, Highlanders, American Revolution, James Boswell, Henry Brougham, Andrew Fletcher, Jacobite, David Hume, Francis Hutcheson, Lord Kames, Walter Scott, Adam Smith, Glasgow, Edinburgh, John Witherspoon