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Birlinn

  • Anglais The Thirty-Nine Steps

    Buchan John

    • Birlinn
    • 1 September 2011

    Recently returned from South Africa, adventurer Richard Hannay is bored with life, but after a chance encounter with an American who informs him of an assassination plot and is then promptly murdered in Hannay';s London flat, he becomes the obvious suspect and is forced to go on the run. He heads north to his native Scotland, fleeing the police and his enemies. Hannay must keep his wits about him if he is to warn the government before all is too late. John Buchan was a Scottish diplomat, barrister, journalist, historian, poet and novelist. He published nearly 30 novels and seven collections of short stories. He was born in Perth, an eldest son, and studied at Glasgow and Oxford. In 1901 he became a barrister of the Middle Temple and a private secretary to the High Commissioner for South Africa. In 1907 he married Susan Charlotte Grosvenor and they subsequently had four children. After spells as a war correspondent, Lloyd George';s Director of Information and Conservative MP, Buchan moved to Canada in 1935. He served as Governor General there until his death in 1940.

  • Anglais Getting Higher

    Greig Andrew

    • Birlinn
    • 23 May 2011

    ‘Andrew Greig is a Scottish poet of sensitivity and resilience. He deals with high-risk situations – from mountaineering to love – and is particularly good at presenting the gamut of feelings involved in rites of passage: high endeavour, commitment, holding back, drift, release' – Edwin Morgan ‘A writer of integrity and imaginative energy' – TLS ‘A lyric poet of rare gusto' – The Observer Alongside the mountain poems from Men on Ice, Order of the Day and Western Swing, Getting Higher features brand new material, facsimiles of previously unpublished material – including his first poem, written in 1972 – and illustrations and material from the National Library of Scotland archive. A beautiful collector's item full of illustrations, marginalia and notes.

  • Anglais Downfall

    McCombes Alan

    • Birlinn
    • 16 June 2011

    From prison cell to the political limelight, and back again, there is no doubt that Tommy Sheridan – tanned, handsome and armed with a soundbite for every occasion – was one of the most colourful figures in the drab, dusty world of party politics. Yet behind the charismatic exterior of the man who first came to public notice during the anti-Poll Tax movement and later led the Scottish Socialist Party to become a strong voice in the new Scottish parliament was a deeply flawed, manipulative individual whose own actions led to one of the most spectacular political downfalls in recent history. Written by his closest political associate for over twenty years, and based on a raft of documentary and eyewitness information, much of it appearing in print for the first time, this is the no-holds barred inside story of the rise and fall of one of the most fascinating figures in recent Scottish politics. Combining elements of tragedy, thriller and farce, it presents the stark, ugly truth behind Sheridan's victorious defamation action against the News of the World in 2006 and subsequent perjury trial in 2010, which contained some of the most dramatic courtroom scenes in Scottish legal history. Yet despite the lurid and sensationalist aspects of Sheridan's life and career, this is also a serious exploration of wider political and psychological themes which offers some salutary lessons at a time when public confidence in politicians has seldom been lower.

  • Anglais The Faded Map

    Moffat Alistair

    • Birlinn
    • 23 May 2011

    Modern communications have driven motorways and pylons through the countryside, dwarfed us with TV and telephone masts and drastically altered the way in which we move around, see and understand Scotland. Recent politics and logistics have established borders and jurisdictions which now seem permanent and impervious. The Faded Map looks beyond these to remember a land that was once quiet and green. It brings to vivid life the half-forgotten kings and kingdoms of two thousand years ago, of the time of the Romans, the Dark Ages and into the early medieval period. In this fascinating account, Alistair Moffat describes the landscape these men and women moved through and talks of a Celtic society which spoke to itself in Old Welsh, where the Sons of Prophesy ruled, and the time when the English kings of Bernicia held sway over vast swathes of what is now Scotland. Heroes rode out of the mists to challenge them and then join with them. The faint echo of the din of ancient battles can be heard as Alistair Moffat takes the reader on a remarkable journey around a lost Scotland.

  • Anglais Stone of Destiny

    Hamilton Ian R

    • Birlinn
    • 23 May 2011

    This title is now a major Hollywood film starring Robert Carlyle and Billy Boyd. Ian Robertson Hamilton was an unknown law student at Glasgow University until Christmas Eve 1950. On that night, assisted by Alan Stewart, Gavin Vernon and Kay Matheson, he took the Stone of Destiny from beneath the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey and in doing so became a Scottish national hero. In England, however, the act had the opposite effect and a manhunt for the 'vulgar vandals' was started to satisfy the outrage of the English establishment and bring them to justice. In the end, the Stone was given up, but the gang were not charged. This solitary act set Hamilton on a path for the rest of his life from which he has not diverged. Although, it is now nearly sixty years since that fateful night, it is the actual events surrounding the taking of the Stone which hold people spellbound when Hamilton recounts them.In this book, Ian Hamilton has set down the chain of events which led to his decision to go to London, remove the Stone and a minute-by-minute account of the act and the aftermath. But this is not simply a retelling of a stunt that made nationwide news, it is a book about how a nation's conscience was stirred by a symbolic act that changed lives of many.

  • Anglais Salmond

    Torrance David

    • Birlinn
    • 23 May 2012

    A masterful work with intricate research' - Dorothy-Grace Elder, Scottish Review 'Torrance is an industrious historian and an assiduous biographer' - The Herald Alex Salmond is well known in Scotland, the UK and beyond as the leader of the Scottish National Party and Scotland's First Minister, but relatively little is understood about Salmond as a human being, what makes him a Nationalist, what shaped his political views, and what sort of country he believes an independent Scotland can be. In this first biography, with which close colleagues and friends have co-operated, the acclaimed political biographer David Torrance turns his attention to perhaps one of the most capable and interesting politicians Scotland has produced in the last few decades. Utilising a raft of published and unpublished material, Torrance charts the life and career of Alex Salmond from his schooldays, his political activism at St Andrews University, his early career at the Royal Bank of Scotland, his election as the MP for Banff and Buchan and, in greater depth than ever before, his two spells as leader of the SNP and, from 2007, as First Minister of Scotland.

  • Anglais The Glamour Chase

    Doyle Tom

    • Birlinn
    • 1 September 2011

    A first-rate charmer with a devilish twinkle in his eye, Billy MacKenzie was a maverick figure within the music industry whose wild and mischievous spirit possibly did him more harm than good. As frontman of the Associates, gifted with an otherwordly, octave-scaling operatic voice, MacKenzie, together with partner Alan Rankine, enjoyed Top Twenty chart success in 1982. At the height of their success, however, they split. Over the ensuing years, MacKenzie gained a reputation for his unhinged career tactics, generous spirit and knack for squandering large amounts of record-company money. Born in Dundee in 1957 he was the eldest son in a large Catholic family. He was bullied at school and sought refuge in music. He was a schemer and dreamer, a breeder of whippets and a bisexual who kept quiet about his private life. During his lifetime, his unique vocal gift attracted the attention of Shirley Bassey, Annie Lennox and Björk. However, in the tradition of Scott Walker, Syd Barrett and Nick Drake, MacKenzie's tale is one of thwarted talent and, ultimately, tragedy. He was found dead, aged 39, at his father's home in Scotland, on 22 January 1997, having taken an overdose. The Glamour Chase is the colourful – and frequently hilarious – life story of a hugely talented singer, his whirlwind personality and his attempts to take on the music industry on his own, free-spirited terms.

  • Anglais Scottish Inventors

    Smailes Gary

    • Birlinn
    • 1 September 2011

    For a small country, Scotland has produced a huge number of people whose brilliance and ingenuity have literally changed the world. In this amusing and informative book, aimed at children from 9–12, Gary Smailes tells the stories of 32 famous (and not so famous!) men and women, and their often bizarre inventions, who have put Scotland on the map. Includes: James Watt, Henry Bell, Thomas Telford, John Loudon McAdam (Transport); Alexander Graham Bell, John Logie Baird (Communications); Robert Stevenson, Thomas Stevenson (Lighthouses); Barbara Gilmour, Alexander Grant (Food); Robert Melville, Patrick Ferguson (Warfare); James Douglas (Crime); James Baird, James Young Simpson (Medicine); Charles Mackintosh (Raincoats!)

  • Anglais Scottish Criminals

    Smailes Gary

    • Birlinn
    • 1 September 2011

    Gary Smailes explores the darker side of Scottish history in this entertaining and informative book, written for children from 9–12. Featuring 25 true stories from the sixteenth century to the present day, Scottish Criminals introduces a motley crew of Scots (as well as a couple of heroes who might not have been so heroic after all), who have made their infamous mark in history – from pirates and murderers to thieves, outlaws and even cannibals. All are vividly brought to life by award-winning children';s illustrator Scoular Anderson.

  • Anglais The Dear Green Place

    Hind Archie

    • Birlinn
    • 1 September 2011

    A classic which should be on every bookshelf,' - Scotland on Sunday Glasgow, ‘the dear green place';, is the setting for Archie Hind';s acclaimed novel. Mat Craig is a young Glaswegian working-class hero and would-be novelist, whose desire to define himself as an artist creates social and family tensions. Set in 1960s Glasgow, The Dear Green Place is an absorbing and moving story, the whole book is invested with strong and sombre descriptions of the city around Mat.

  • Acclaimed children';s author Allan Burnett turns his attention to the Second World War in a book of explosively exciting and emotionally charged tales of bravery and adventure. Featuring the true exploits of soldiers, spies, pilots, sailors and many others, these stories, all based on interviews with these heroes themselves or their descendants, offer a unique, personal insight into the Second World War that no conventional history book can ever hope to match.

  • Anglais Empire of Sand

    Reid Walter

    • Birlinn
    • 1 September 2011

    At the end of the First World War the modern Middle East was created by Britain and France, who carved up the old Ottoman possessions with scant regard for the wishes of those who lived there. Frontiers were devised and alien dynasties imposed on the populations as arbitrarily as in mediaeval times. It was destined from the outset to failure. Promises had been made to the Arabs during the War, but were not honoured, and brief hopes for Arab unity were dashed, leading to a bitter belief in western perfidy that persists to the present day. Britain was quick to see the riches promised by the black pools of oil that lay on the ground around Baghdad, and when France too grasped their importance, bitter differences opened up between the two allies, and the areas became a focus of a return to the traditional enmity between them.

  • Anglais The Management

    Robertson Rob

    • Birlinn
    • 1 September 2011

    ‘an outstanding piece of work . . . utterly compelling' – Scotland on Sunday ‘a magisterial study' – The Herald ‘inspiring' – The Scotsman ‘Scotland's record as a producer of outstanding managers dwarfs that of any other country in the world. This excellent book provides vivid and fascinating insights into that remarkable distinction' – Hugh McIlvanney ‘A superb book which examines the contribution Scottish managers have made to the global game' – Scottish Daily Mail ‘A book that is already being viewed as a seminal tome' – Daily Record Why has Scotland produced so many of the best football managers in the world? Based on exclusive interviews with the men themselves, their players or close friends and family, Michael Grant and Rob Robertson delve into the very heart of Scottish life, society and football to reveal the huge contribution that managers such as Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Matt Busby, Bill Shankly, Jock Stein, Jim McLean, Kenny Dalglish, Walter Smith and a host of others have made to the world game. This original, brilliantly-realised and critically acclaimed study profiles the character and methods of each of the great Scottish managers, analysing their strengths and weaknesses, and examines their impact on both club and international football. It is a deeply-researched and compelling story which presents new material on many of the greats, particularly Busby and Stein, and highlights the enormous Old Firm contributions of, among others, Willie Maley, Bill Struth and Graeme Souness.

  • This complete collection of Agnes Owens' five novellas opens with 'Like Birds in the Wilderness', a portrait of brickie Mac. He's a straightforward guy with a talent for laying bricks and a liking for the drink who decides to head to the oil-rich north to seek his fortune. 'A Working Mother' is a wildly entertaining cautionary tale: while Betty's husband, Adam, broods and drinks (to be matched at times by Betty, just to be sociable) she flirts with their best friend Brendan and tries to avoid the roving hands of her new employer. They're all driving Betty crazy. 'For the Love of Willie Owens' takes a sensitive, canny look at wartime teenage pregnancy - a tale as relevant now as ever. 'Bad Attitudes' and 'Jen's Party' conclude the collection: both deadly, darkly funny stories about family relationships and love on the dole.

  • ';A terrific collection,'; - The Times ';Her black humour and piercing observation bear comparison with the work of Muriel Spark,'; - Guardian ';It';s almost impossible to pick up this substantial collection and find anything more worthwhile to do for the rest of the day than read it cover to cover,';- Rosemary Goring, The Herald ';The woman is a genius,'; - Daily Mail 'Essential reading. It is Agnes Owens at her subtle, concise best - truthful, humane and quite brilliant' - Times Literary Supplement ';Her stories...carry the emotional clout of a knockout punch,'; - Observer ';Owens is a rare treasure,'; - Allan Massie, The Scotsman ';Acerbic, wicked, utterly honest, sly, gothic, brilliantly black deadpan funny,'; - Liz Lochead, Sunday Herald The complete life work of Agnes Owens in short stories - everything from Gentlemen of the West, Lean Tales, People Like That and 14 brand new unpublished stories. Witty and dark, Owens'; spare prose shocks and delights. Her talent for pithy, unsettling tales is as sharp as ever, confirming her place as one of Scotland';s finest contemporary writers.

  • Joanne Rowling was once a would-be published author like many others – committed and determined. Now J K Rowling is at the heart of a global media phenomenon, wealthier, and more influential and successful than she could possibly have imagined. The Harry Potter novels changed her life, and the landscape of writing, publishing and bookselling for children forever. This unauthorised biography follows the transformation of a lonely single mother into a powerful inspirational businesswoman. J K Rowling's story is one of talent, hard work, self-belief and the transforming power of the imagination. From a remarkable insider perspective Lindsey Fraser tells the amazing tale that began one day on a train, when Rowling had forgotten to pack a pen. . .

  • Packed with humour - I recommend the whole lot!,' - The School Librarian Bonnie Prince Charlie And All That is a real-life adventure packed with historical facts about Britain';s royal rebel. Join the dashing Prince on a dangerous mission to win back his three kingdoms from the horrible Hanoverians. Scramble ashore in the Scottish Highlands and find out how Charlie uses his funny wig and fancy French accent to convince the warlike clans to follow him. Gallop into action as the Prince';s fierce Jacobite soldiers skewer his enemies and capture their castles. Find out where things start going wrong – and decide what to do if you were Charlie. Learn how dressing up like a girl helps the Prince avoid being turned into sausages by Butcher Cumberland. Smell the crackling gunpowder as Charlie and his clans charge into a showdown with their foes at the battle of Culloden – and find out what happens after the guns fall silent. Aimed at children aged 8-12 * Get to know Charlie';s ugly side as well as his bonnie side. * Understand why the Prince and his followers were called Jacobites. * Discover the truth about Charlie';s romance with island girl Flora MacDonald. * Find out which sneaky clan chiefs backed both sides at Culloden.

  • This is an hilarious collection of email exchanges starring the anti-hero of spam, Bob Servant, now republished with previously unreleased material. Spam is the plague of the electronic age, comprising 90% of all emails sent and conning over 0150m a year from British victims. Into this wave of corruption steps the brave figure of Bob Servant – a former window cleaner and cheeseburger magnate with a love of wine, women and song as well as a keen sense of fair play. This wickedly funny and original book features the anarchic exchanges between Bob and the hapless spam merchants. As they offer Bob lost African millions, Russian brides and get-rich-quick scams he responds by generously offering some outlandish schemes of his own. The spammers may have breached his firewall, but they have met their match as Bob Servant rises heroically to the challenge, and sows confusion in his wake.

  • Anglais Bob Servant

    Forsyth Neil

    In Delete This At Your Peril, Neil Forsyth introduced the fictional character Bob Servant to the UK and North America and his creation quickly gained a critically-led cult following. Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh picked Delete This At Your Peril for Esquire';s Funniest Books Ever Written and both the book and the Bob Servant character are being developed for television and radio by the BBC. Sixty-three years old and resolutely single, Servant spends his days with a small number of trusted associates pursuing unlikely business opportunities, giving stern views on current affairs and ‘chasing skirt';. His outlook on life is one of unbridled ambition and self-belief as he constantly battles the local ‘boo boys'; for the respect that he undoubtedly deserves. Bob Servant: Hero of Dundee charts the hilarious, whimsical and action-packed life-story of Bob Servant, unveiling with touching bravery, a fearless romp through a life full of incident, from his rise from a childhood of abject poverty, through a career in the merchant navy, his establishment of the largest window-cleaning round in Western Europe and his part in Dundee';s infamous Cheeseburger Wars of the early 1990s, to his current standing as an ‘unemployed gigolo'; in Broughty Ferry.

  • Anglais Calum's Road

    Hutchinson Roger

    ‘. . . wonderful, elegant and serious,'; – The Telegraph ‘MacLeod defied powers outwith his control in the only way he could . . . paints a compelling picture of the man'; – Sunday Times ‘ An incredible testament to one man';s determination'; – The Sunday Herald ';It';s inspiring to read about a man who wouldn';t succumb, wouldn';t let the Government threaten his way of life'; – Publishing News ';An extraordinary tale'; – The Bookseller ';This is an extraordinarily fine book, and one of the most important books to have come out of the Highlands and Islands in recent years'; – West Highland Free Press Calum MacLeod had lived on the northern point of Raasay since his birth in 1911. He tended the Rona lighthouse at the very tip of his little archipelago, until semi-automation in 1967 reduced his responsibilities. ‘So what he decided to do,'; says his last neighbour, Donald MacLeod, ‘was to build a road out of Arnish in his months off. With a road he hoped new generations of people would return to Arnish and all the north end of Raasay . . .'; And so, at the age of 56, Calum MacLeod, the last man left in northern Raasay, set about single-handedly constructing the ‘impossible'; road. It would become a romantic, quixotic venture, a kind of sculpture; an obsessive work of art so perfect in every gradient, culvert and supporting wall that its creation occupied almost twenty years of his life. In Calum';s Rad, Roger Hutchinson recounts the extraordinary story of this remarkable man';s devotion to his visionary project.

  • Anglais The Leper's Bell

    MacLean Norman

    The Billy Connolly of the Gàidhealtachd'; – Calum Macdonald, Runrig 'Utterly compelling'; - BBC Radio Scotland ';It is a rewarding, if sometimes harrowing journey for the reader as Maclean wrestles with his demons and his identity amid “cultural schizophrenia". One is left feeling a deal of sympathy for this most talented, fascinating and charismatic man; lamenting the waste of it all'; - Sunday Herald A comedian, singer, composer, musician, linguist, actor, author and a favourite of Sean Connery and Billy Connolly';s, Norman MacLean is a living legend in the Gaelic world and a household name across the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Yet for all his creative genius Norman MacLean is virtually anonymous outside this ribbon of northern Scotland. His career has been etched with enormous highs and lows – a reflection of the turmoil of his private life, where a lifelong battle with alcohol has had a crippling effect on everything that he has touched, and which has arguably prevented him from achieving the global recognition that his undoubted talent so merited.In The Leper';s Bell, an erudite, analytical and frank autobiography of this wonderful, unique, but ultimately little-known star, Norman MacLean reveals the man behind the comedy and the crippling horrors of alcoholism. It is in turns tragic and uplifting, devastating and hilarious, elegant and heartbreaking, and one of the most compelling and moving memoirs to appear in recent years.

  • Anglais Poor Mercy

    Falla Jonathan

    Poor Mercy is a vivid, engrossing work of fiction' - Michel Faber, The Guardian 'An unusual love story told with insight and tenderness, it is studded with beautifully observed descriptions of place' - Jennie Renton, Scottish Review of Books 'Poor Mercy fulfils an important function, preserving a wretched moment in history, giving substance to events that would otherwise soon be forgotten in favour of the next humanitarian crisis' - Claudia Pugh-Thomas, TLS Set in Darfur, this novel is a dramatic and tragic story of an improbable love between two people caught up in an African famine: Mogga and Leila, a black and an Arab, should supposedly not even like each other. But as the country teeters on the edge of catastrophic famine and civil war looms, they cling to each other's dignity, humour and humanity. Both work for the same European aid agency. Both are vulnerable, targets for hatred and resentment. Both are strangely, triumphantly resilient. Based on his own experience of disaster agencies, Falla's novel is fiercely authentic, poignant and darkly witty. As the expatriates bicker, their English team leader struggles to unravel the evil politics behind the famine, and reaches a highly controversial decision. But he may not be able to save the local people who have put themselves on the line. The foreigners can always take themselves off home when things go wrong; for the locals, it may already be too late as the book builds towards a terrifying climax.

  • This is the inspiring true story of one of the Second World War';s most unusual combatants – a 500-pound cigarette-smoking, beer-drinking brown bear. Originally adopted as a mascot by the Polish Army in Iran, Wojtek soon took on a more practical role, carrying heavy mortar rounds for the troops and going on to play his part as a fully enlisted ‘soldier'; with his own rank and number during the Italian campaign. After the war, Wojtek, along with some of his Polish compatriots from II Corps, came to Berwickshire, where he became a significant member of the local community before subsequently moving to Edinburgh Zoo. Wojtek';s retirement was far from quiet: a potent symbol of freedom and solidarity for Poles around the world, he attracted a huge amount of media interest that shows no sign of abating more than 45 years after his death. In an extended introduction, journalist and historian Neal Ascherson reflects on the Polish experience in the Second World War and gives full recognition to the Poles'; heroic sacrifice and the extraordinary influence they had on the countries in which they served.

  • Described recently by Empire magazine as ‘Britain's best ever blues singer', John Martyn was one of rock music's last real mavericks. Despite long-term addiction to alcohol and drugs, which contributed to his death in January 2009, he produced a string of matchless albums. Loved by fans and critics, loathed by ex-managers, he survived the music business he despised for 40 years. With contributions by Martyn, many of his lovers and over 20 musicians who knew him well, this book documents his upbringing in Glasgow and rise through the Scottish and London folk scene of the 1960s, his many highs and lows, and his friendships with the great lost souls of British rock music – Nick Drake and Paul Kossoff.

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