Why did I love this book?
This book is not just about Scotland, despite the title. It is a very rich and imaginative study that is both helped and hindered by its remit being modern Scotland, which was never a single political or cultural entity in the early Middle Ages. That means the author has to look at several distinct groups: the English of Northumbria, the Britons of Strathclyde in the southwest, and the Vikings of the north and west, as well as the ‘Scots’ themselves of central Scotland (whose collective identity as Scots was taking shape at this time). All of this is done with insight, imagination, and command of the complicated sources. It is a lesson in how wide-ranging histories of Britain should be written.