Birlinn, 2019. 312 pages.
First published in 2003.
Drawing on his mother Màiread’s reminiscences, as well as an unparalleled knowledge of local history, Calum Ferguson presents a fascinating insight into life on the Hebridean island of Lewis. During the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth, many families experienced great poverty. This book describes the treadmill of seasonal work on the croft, but it also celebrates the richness of the culture – the storytelling, music-making, traditions and the sincere religious faith that sustained the islanders through their trials.
Màiread lived through the two world wars which profoundly altered Hebridean life. After the appalling losses in the Great War, the population of Lewis was further weakened by mass emigrations of the young to North America. Following the Second World War, improved communications resulted in the growth of tourism which gradually replaced fishing and weaving of Harris tweed as the staple industries. Black-houses and other thatched cottages were replaced by modern homes. Radio and television brought the wider world to the remotest communities, and the Gaelic tongue was threatened with extinction. This book is a remarkable record of the island community during a period when it changed almost beyond recognition.
This book is English-only.
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