Monday, May 14, 2012

Review: Whisky, Kilts, and the Loch Ness Monster

William Starr is a man who is a bit obsessed with Samuel Johnson and his biographer James Boswell. In the eighteenth century Boswell and Johnson toured Boswell's native Scotland. Starr decides to recreate this voyage in the twenty-first century. Throughout the text he compares his impressions with those of Boswell and Johnson. From Glasgow through the islands and the Highlands, Starr gives us his impressions of the countryside, people, weather, and lore that define each area of Scotland.

Starr is clearly a man who loves Scotland. He is in his element while travelling through the Scottish countryside, though he harbors a certain amount of nostalgia for a Scotland long gone. Ultimately this leads to a bit of golden ageism. Starr is also a man who loves Boswell and Johnson, more so than the average reader likely will. The text is littered with passages quoted from Boswell and Johnson's own writings, more than the average reader will likely appreciate. I wish that Starr had focused more upon his own travelogue and less on Boswell and Johnson. Starr has an entertaining, Bill Bryson-like style that reads easily, but I would rather read Starr on his own than with the crutch of Boswell and Johnson.

William Starr, Whisky, Kilts, and the Loch Ness Monster: Traveling through Scotland with Boswell and Johnson (University of South Carolina Press, 2010) ISBN: 1570039488 


sayani said...

it seems the book is an interesting blend of exquisite location and script ... will definitely go for it :)
btw your description is quite vivid :)

Feel free to drop by !

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