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How the Scots Invented the Modern World

Narrated by: Robert Ian Mackenzie
Length: 18 hrs and 20 mins
Categories: History, European
4.5 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

Non-member price: $41.73

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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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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.

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  • Lulu
  • 01-09-2016

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.

17 people found this helpful

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  • stacey a. wright
  • 24-03-2018

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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  • James Buchanan
  • 24-01-2018

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.

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  • Eric
  • 12-09-2017

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.

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  • John
  • 30-07-2017

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.

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  • B Rose
  • 25-02-2018

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.

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  • Nicholas Jenkins
  • 23-08-2020

Great narration

Although the author is an American a wise decision was made to employ a Scottish narrator, which is crucial when he reads Scottish quotes, authors and poets. An American accent would have been jarring in those parts. Herman is an excellent historian.

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  • wirecutter
  • 18-04-2020

wow

outstanding ! forget those Greeks, Romans and Egyptians. The Scots are epic! My goodness! We owe the Scots everything... even bloody diapers.

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  • John Argue
  • 23-02-2020

History brought to life.

I have listened to this twice, and will doubtless listen again in future. The inventors, writers, scholars, and ordinary people of Scotland in the 18th Century are made real by excellent writing and a superb performance by Mackenzie, who can switch to Gaelic, Broad Scots, English, and French with ease. The stories told resonate right through to our modern world; I found new understanding of the foundations of current institutions and customs. Wonderful!

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  • GGS Engineering
  • 12-01-2020

Too long

Well written, well performed, but too detailed in scottish political and intellectual history. I gave up midway because the question on how scots invented the modern world was taking too long. I never did find out. An abridged version would be more suitable to my interest.

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  • James Shields
  • 17-12-2018

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