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From Pictland to Alba, 789-1070
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Table of Contents

; Maps, genealogical Tables and Illustrations; Acknowledgements; General Editor's Preface; Note on Pronunciation and Spelling; Introduction: Land and People in the Eighth Century; Part One: Events (789-1070); Chapter 1. The Coming of the Vikings; Chapter 2. The Scaldingi and the transformation of Northumbria; Chapter 3. Last Days of the Pictish Kingdom, 839 to 889; Chapter 4. The Grandsons of Cinaed and the Grandsons of Imar; Chapter 5. The Later Tenth Century: A Turmoil of Warring Princes; Chapter 6. The Fall of the House of Alpin and the Moray Question; Part Two: Process; Chapter 7. Scandinavian Scotland; Chapter 8. Pictavia to Albania; Table of Events; Guide to Further Reading; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Alex Woolf is Lecturer in Early Scottish History at the University of St Andrews.

Reviews

...a sometimes demanding, but often fascinating and always rewarding book, rich in ideas. -- Rab Houston BBC History Magazine Teasing out the tangle of sources and suggesting ways of filling in the blanks, Woolf comes closer than we've ever been to a coherent account of a fascinating time. 4 stars -- Michael Kerrigan The Scotsman An impressive piece of scholarship by one who has been in the vanguard of rewriting medieval Scottish history... Alex Woolf is to be commended for producing a work that greatly advances our understanding of what continues to be an obscure and challenging period in Scottish History. -- R. Andrew Macdonald Saga-Book The author of this masterly work presents and discusses the evidence of the available, often fragmentary, sources to provide an intelligible account of the eventual evolution of a very limited 'kingdom' of Alba. Northern History The author was charged with writing a political history of the kingdoms in North Britain between 789 and 1070. He has done this with aplomb and displayed a breadth of knowledge and understanding that would be hard to match... It is to Woolf's credit that he has managed to produce such a well-written account that effectively tackles a far wider frame of reference than any of his predecessors ever accomplished (or were willing to engage with), and it is the totality of his discussion that is so impressive. This book deserves to become a recommended text. -- Alasdair Ross, University of Stirling History Scotland Of all the periods of Scottish history, 789--1070 is the most obscure as it is one of the most formative; for that very reason Alex Woolf's success in distilling an intelligible and credible narrative makes this book a triumph... The balance of his approach is matched by the quality of his prose: it has an easy pace, a clarity of structure and the tone of civilised conversation. It is hard to think of how such a survey could be better done, given the difficulties of the evidence and the complexity of the changes in North Britain from the eighth to the eleventh century. -- T. M. Charles-Edwards, University of Oxford Innes Review I find an overriding sense of adventure in this volume, with ideas rolling thick and fast... Woolf repeatedly demonstrates a perceptive sense of place in his historical arguments, giving a valuable insight into the interplay of geography and history in Scotland's past. Woolf 's skills of close textual analysis are also brilliantly demonstrated throughout the volume... A striking and laudable feature of Woolf 's book is the concern to show Scotland in a bigger historical picture. Woolf often draws on parallels and insights from across medieval Europe. This is important in showing the value of comparative evidence to provide insights into Scottish history. This feature of Woolf 's work also highlights Scotland's potential significance for mainstream European medievalists. There is no doubt that this volume marks a major advance in interpreting the Viking Age istory of Scotland. Woolf demonstrates the breadth of vision and originality of mind which deservedly characterises him as one of the leading early medieval Insular historians. -- Claire Downham, University of Aberdeen Journal of Scottish Historical Studies From Pictland to Alba is an extremely valuable synthesis of recent scholarship, and a showcase for Woolf's original insights. The book is essential reading for scholars and its accessible style should ensure an extensive student readership. From Pictland to Alba will no doubt be considered a formative text by the next generation of scholars of early medieval Scottish History. -- Fiona Edmonds, Clare College, Cambridge Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies ...a sometimes demanding, but often fascinating and always rewarding book, rich in ideas. Teasing out the tangle of sources and suggesting ways of filling in the blanks, Woolf comes closer than we've ever been to a coherent account of a fascinating time. 4 stars An impressive piece of scholarship by one who has been in the vanguard of rewriting medieval Scottish history... Alex Woolf is to be commended for producing a work that greatly advances our understanding of what continues to be an obscure and challenging period in Scottish History. The author of this masterly work presents and discusses the evidence of the available, often fragmentary, sources to provide an intelligible account of the eventual evolution of a very limited 'kingdom' of Alba. The author was charged with writing a political history of the kingdoms in North Britain between 789 and 1070. He has done this with aplomb and displayed a breadth of knowledge and understanding that would be hard to match... It is to Woolf's credit that he has managed to produce such a well-written account that effectively tackles a far wider frame of reference than any of his predecessors ever accomplished (or were willing to engage with), and it is the totality of his discussion that is so impressive. This book deserves to become a recommended text. Of all the periods of Scottish history, 789--1070 is the most obscure as it is one of the most formative; for that very reason Alex Woolf's success in distilling an intelligible and credible narrative makes this book a triumph... The balance of his approach is matched by the quality of his prose: it has an easy pace, a clarity of structure and the tone of civilised conversation. It is hard to think of how such a survey could be better done, given the difficulties of the evidence and the complexity of the changes in North Britain from the eighth to the eleventh century. I find an overriding sense of adventure in this volume, with ideas rolling thick and fast... Woolf repeatedly demonstrates a perceptive sense of place in his historical arguments, giving a valuable insight into the interplay of geography and history in Scotland's past. Woolf 's skills of close textual analysis are also brilliantly demonstrated throughout the volume... A striking and laudable feature of Woolf 's book is the concern to show Scotland in a bigger historical picture. Woolf often draws on parallels and insights from across medieval Europe. This is important in showing the value of comparative evidence to provide insights into Scottish history. This feature of Woolf 's work also highlights Scotland's potential significance for mainstream European medievalists. There is no doubt that this volume marks a major advance in interpreting the Viking Age istory of Scotland. Woolf demonstrates the breadth of vision and originality of mind which deservedly characterises him as one of the leading early medieval Insular historians. From Pictland to Alba is an extremely valuable synthesis of recent scholarship, and a showcase for Woolf's original insights. The book is essential reading for scholars and its accessible style should ensure an extensive student readership. From Pictland to Alba will no doubt be considered a formative text by the next generation of scholars of early medieval Scottish History.

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