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The Debatable Land: The Lost World Between Scotland and England

– tekijä: Graham Robb

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1358156,680 (3.55)18
Explores the history of the Debatable Land, the former buffer between Scotland and England and once upon a time the bloodiest region in the country.
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    The steel bonnets (tekijä: George MacDonald Fraser) (Anonyymi käyttäjä)

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 8) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
The Debatable Land makes up part of the border between Scotland and England. At just 13 miles long and 8 miles wide, the territory was initially a sort of no-man’s-land between the two countries, and uninhabited. But from the 13th to 16th centuries, the land was occupied by reivers, clans that seized claim to land, stole cattle and killed anyone who got in their way. Historian Graham Robb traces the development of the Debatable Land and its people, from its earliest days to the present. He examines how people once identified more with a clan than a nationality, despite borders that partitioned the land between the two countries. Even today, the nature of the landscape maintains the Debatable Land’s insular culture.

For me, one of the most interesting aspects of the book was Robb’s use of Ptomely’s ancient maps to trace the history of the Debatable Land back to Roman times, which led to a few breakthrough findings about the development of the Debatable Land over the centuries. Then, towards the end of the book Robb discusses the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, which was defeated, and the 2016 Brexit vote, which was not, and the uncertainty cast upon the region and its people. While the Debatable Land no longer exists as a defined territory, it continues to cast a long shadow. ( )
  lauralkeet | May 4, 2021 |
It may be a really interesting exploration of various aspects of Roman-to-medieval Britain, but I didn't get past the about 150 pages.

My greatest difficulty was the author's inability to keep his narrative flowing smoothly. There would be an interesting start to a little anecdote or a piece of history which then was left dangling, never to be referred to further in the following pages. I discovered this tendency right in the beginning when Robb is describing the train station where some poor fellow stuck his head out the window and was decapitated as the train picked up speed past a signal post. And this is told us with no raison d'être, no follow up. What the heck??!!

I did expect to have all sorts of 'myths' exposed as mere tales by imaginative inhabitants, but my ability to follow this aspect of the narrative was depressingly foiled. Some of the descriptive passages about the countryside were wonderful reading. Unfortunately, these details didn't clarify the story's theme (which I thought I was following), so my understanding was repeatedly foiled. It may have been my fault as much as the author's style. Nevertheless, I did rate it as 3-stars even though it was a DNF. ( )
  SandyAMcPherson | Mar 22, 2021 |
If you are a Dorothy Dunnett fan this is a must-read. Also if you have a 'Romans in Britain' thing. And perhaps are a bit of a sucker for Arthur speculations. I have them all. The 'debatable land' is a little area on the west side of Great Britain that has been a 'border' and neutral land since humans formed tribes. The very word 'debatable' has no origin in squabbling about whose land it was, but from the word 'batable' which means 'good for grazing'. And from that tidbit on the delights are endless. Robb debunks the reiver mythology, but in a kindly way. Ptolemy all the way in Alexandria makes a map that is insanely accurate and helps open solutions to mysterious references to King Arthur . . . . Robb and his wife move to a little house on the English side of the border and he becomes fascinated with everything about this strange little area, now under siege by power companies etc and all those who can't bear to see land sitting idle. **** ( )
1 ääni sibylline | Mar 10, 2021 |
A few miles inland from the western coast at the northern edge of England a thick splinter of land 13 miles long is Robb's key to examining not only it's history, but several other misplaced misappropriated bits of British history. If you like your English or Scottish tales to retain their Victorian or even medieval contours, this book disrespects those preferences wholesale. ( )
  quondame | Oct 29, 2020 |
Its interesting, but it feels a little thin. The Debatable Land is a strip of ground between England and Scotland that is not really "debatable" in the sense of "contested" but more of mutually agreed neutral buffer zone, at least until the 16th century. Graham Robb buys a house on the border - in fact the border marks the edge of his property - and thus in the Debatable Land. This book represents his musings on the nature of borders and the nationality of people who live in border regions, particularly in reference to the Scottish Independence referendum and Brexit. He also narrates the history of the area from Romans to Reivers (basically cross border outlaws, from which, interestingly is derived the word bereived - to be taken from).

But there really isn't that much to say. So the book also includes further Robb hypotheses on The Celts, the subject of his previous book and a fairly convincing set of ideas about King Arthur and Arthurian battles, which don't really have anything to do with The Debatable Land per se.

Its interesting, but it meanders, much like the river Liddel that runs through it ( )
  Opinionated | Jul 8, 2020 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 8) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Sorting out the fact from the fiction in this history is one of Robb’s tasks. He tackles some serious misconceptions about the borderland; the notion, for example, that a borderer must have been, at heart, either English or Scottish; and that the Debatable Land was “the unviable remnant of an otherwise extinct world”. In fact, the border clans such as the Armstrongs and the Grahams were far from proto-nationalists; they were brigands and cattle thieves loyal only to themselves and their surname. And yet neither were they savages held in check by two nations: they had in the middle ages what Robb calls a “fully developed, indigenous legal system” distinct from the laws passed in Edinburgh and London.
lisäsi SnootyBaronet | muokkaaGuardian, Ian Jack (Feb 10, 2018)
A book worth reading
lisäsi DouglasAtEik | muokkaaThe Sunday Times, Andrew Marr (maksullinen sivusto) (Feb 4, 2018)
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Explores the history of the Debatable Land, the former buffer between Scotland and England and once upon a time the bloodiest region in the country.

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