In Love of Country, Bunting travels through the Hebrides delving deep into its history and culture to tell the stories of both how this chain of islands on the fringes of Britain helped shape our nation and how the rest of the nation imposed their will on the islands and their inhabitants.
This is a story of the writers and artists who have been inspired by the isolation and beauty of Jura, of the dreamers and explorers who journeyed to Staffa to marvel at the dramatic wildness, of the monks who developed their understanding of God on remote Iona and beyond, the wealthy who removed populations and hoped to find their fortunes in sheep and the philanthropists and developers who believed they could change the way of life on the islands for either the betterment of the people, or their own pockets. This is therefore also a story of community, resistance and rich Gaelic traditions, of a language tied so closely to an understanding of the landscape that to lose one is to lose the other.
Few landscapes are as iconic as the islands off the north-western Scottish coast. On the outer edge of the British Isles and facing the Atlantic Ocean, the Hebrides form part of Europe’s boundary. Love of Country shows how their history is a backdrop for contemporary debates about the relationship between our nations, how Britain was created, and what Britain has meant – for good and for ill.
“I devoured Love of Country in a couple of sittings. It’s a magnificent book, a heroic journey that takes us as far into the regions of the heart as into the islands of the north west.” – Richard Holloway