The Crofter and the Laird


by John McPhee

‘Quite astonishing. And even the Gaelic names are spelt correctly. The book is in many ways unusually frank and the portraits incisive … neither sentimental nor judgmental, but clear-cut and sensible’ – Iain Crichton Smith

‘McPhee’s genius is that he can write about anything’ – Robert Macfarlane

Paperback: 154 pages

Publisher: Duant Books, 2017

Language: English

1 in stock

In 1969, John McPhee moved his family from New Jersey across the Atlantic to live in the land of his forefathers, the island of Colonsay – seventeen square miles of dew and damp twenty-five miles off the coast of Scotland. They rented a crofthouse, his children enrolled at the local school, and they soon were accepted into this tightly circumscribed community of 138 people.

Intertwining history and legend, McPhee gives us a comprehensive portrait of this remote and misty land. He battles the fierce gales on the outer shoals of the Ardskenish Peninsula, listens to the crofters complain of the laird over drams in the island’s sole pub, and meets perhaps the last of the Great Highland bagpipers.

A blend of anthropology and travelogue, The Crofter and the Laird presents us with a perfect mirror of daily-life in the Highlands. McPhee writes with insight, sensitivity, and fondness for these hardy people – resulting in an account that’s as honest, humorous, and frank as the locals themselves.

Additional information

Dimensions 12.9 × 1.3 × 19.8 cm

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