The Crofter and the Laird

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Apr 1, 2011 - Social Science - 160 pages
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When John McPhee returned to the island of his ancestors—Colonsay, twenty-five miles west of the Scottish mainland—a hundred and thirty-eight people were living there. About eighty of these, crofters and farmers, had familial histories of unbroken residence on the island for two or three hundred years; the rest, including the English laird who owned Colonsay, were "incomers." Donald McNeill, the crofter of the title, was working out his existence in this last domain of the feudal system; the laird, the fourth Baron Strathcona, lived in Bath, appeared on Colonsay mainly in the summer, and accepted with nonchalance the fact that he was the least popular man on the island he owned. While comparing crofter and laird, McPhee gives readers a deep and rich portrait of the terrain, the history, the legends, and the people of this fragment of the Hebrides.


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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

An amusing and delightful miniature concerning the Scottish island of Colonsay, seventeen square miles of dews and damp twenty-five miles off the coast. Mr. McPhee and his family, descendants after ... Read full review

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User Review  - Girl_Detective - LibraryThing

McPhee has an engaging, conversational tone that is at once easy to read as well as instructive. Additionally, my library’s copy of the book contained beautiful pen and ink drawings by James Graves ... Read full review

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About the author (2011)

John McPhee is the author of twenty-six books, including Annals of the Former World, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize in 1999. He has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1965 and lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

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