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Publisher's Summary

Who formed the first literate society? Who invented our modern ideas of democracy and free market capitalism? The Scots. As historian and author Arthur Herman reveals, in the 18th and 19th centuries Scotland made crucial contributions to science, philosophy, literature, education, medicine, commerce, and politics - contributions that have formed and nurtured the modern West ever since. This book is not just about Scotland: it is an exciting account of the origins of the modern world. No one who takes this incredible historical trek will ever view the Scots - or the modern West - in the same way again.

©2001 Arthur Herman (P)2016 Recorded Books

What listeners say about How the Scots Invented the Modern World

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Eagerly Awaited Audiobook

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.

23 people found this helpful

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Imperialist Colonizer Craps All Over The Scottish

This book was downright offensive and basically boils down to "Look at all the wonderful things the Scots would never have discovered if it were not for the kind and helpful beneficence of the colonizing British forces!" Disgusting!

6 people found this helpful

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Wonderful Well Organized History of Influential Scots and Scottish Culture

This book presented a well organized and succinct history of many of Scotland’s most advanced thinkers and doers. I am traveling to Scotland in a few weeks and hoped to gain some general insight into Scottish history and culture. I couldn’t have chosen a better book for this objective.

3 people found this helpful

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Wonderful history lesson

Being of Scottish ancestry I truly enjoyed learning of how Scots have impacted the world. I found the book to be very informative covering several hundred years of history in a fashion that made it easy to understand. I recommend this book to anybody that is trying to learn more about Scotland, it's vast history how it's people have changed the world.

3 people found this helpful

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Fantastic story

What about Robert Ian Mackenzie’s performance did you like?

Perfect narrator.

Any additional comments?

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.

3 people found this helpful

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I really enjoyed and learned a lot.

As someone with Stewart as my last name I have always been fascinated by Scotland. This book boosted my Scottish pride while being honest about Scotland's shortcomings. If you have any interest in Scotland at all you will thoroughly enjoy this book.

2 people found this helpful

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First half is good.

Most of this book is about economics not history. I enjoyed most of the first half although it’s a bit hard to follow at times. The rest of it isn’t worth the time if you’re looking for history.

3 people found this helpful

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The Scots contributed a lot.

I thought the title was "tongue in cheek" but it's not. While the Scots contributed a lot, the writer really does believe the "Scots invented the modern world" and uses scots, those of scots ancestry, those of scots extration, those born elsewhere but raised in Scotland, those born elsewhere but educated in Scotland and finally, near the end, those married to a Scot so as to make it seem no other peoples contributed to the Modern World. There is a "Scots Supremacist" attitude that gets really tiresome at times. There is also an arrogance in pronouncements about certain historical issues or opinions that are grating in their level of said arrogance. Most historians are more aware of the fact that a lot of the whys and whats and whos of history are, in fact, arguable. It is possible to assert an opinion without doing so in a way that implies virtual God-like omniscience.

In addition, "the Scots" did it all somehow without any women! Now that will teach you that the Scots are special! Lol. I understand how limited women were in history but seriously, in this book, women are mentioned *as a group* maybe 3 times. And the author could not find a SINGLE Scots woman to include in spite of his expansion of the word "Scots" to a nearly comic degree. And yet, Mary Somerville (1780-1872) was the first person described in print as a "scientist" and had a college at Oxford named after her. She is on the current Scottish 10 pound note. There are plenty more since women generally did, at least on rare occassions, DO things but the simple fact that Mary Somerville was left out of the book tells me that the author not only didn't bother to look for any women in his research but actively resisted the idea of including them.

Even so, it is worth a read to find out more about the many contributions of the Scots to the world. I love Scotland and the Scots and I am sure that it is that love that kept me from ditching the book and getting a refund the many times I considered it while listening to the book.

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yeah it was good.

at times it was rather dry but all in all it was a good book and managed to tell a narrative and connect many things that at times I found interesting.

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Outstanding!!

Every liberty loving individual should listen and learn from this book and it’s important history.

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  • James
  • 12-17-18

Wha’s like us?

Beautifully expressed proof of what I have known all along. You can be sure my weans will be listening to this - as soon as they learn English!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-15-19

Well made

I liked the delivery by the reader and the book seemed well written and easy to follow. Definitely worth a look if you’re interested in a medium depth history of Scotland.

1 person found this helpful