A Tale of Three Cities

The Life and Times of Lord Daer, 1763-1794

By Bob Harris

Format: Hardback

This book uses the life of Scottish political radical Lord Daer to examine the nature of Scottish and British politics in the late eighteenth century.

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Birlinn Limited

Birlinn publishes mostly non-fiction books, ranging from biography to history, military history and Scottish interest. Their imprints, Polygon Books, Arena Sport Books and John Donald Books, publish a wide variety of genres including culture, literary fiction, poetry and sports.

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Basil William Douglas, Lord Daer, was a remarkable man who left an indelible impression on those who knew him, including the poet Robert Burns and French intellectual and revolutionary the Marquis de Condorcet. Daer was a restless, energetic spirit in an era of youthful revolution. His political radicalism developed from connections made through his progressive education, his immersion in Scottish Enlightenment ideas at the University of Edinburgh under the tutelage of Dugald Stewart, and his experiences in three great cities: Edinburgh, London and Paris. This is a story about the rise of a new kind of British politics in the late 1700s, when it was mixed with a profound cosmopolitan spirit that threatened briefly and gloriously to sink national difference in the cause of universal liberty and humanity. For Daer, this moment held the tantalising possibility of creating a new union between Scotland and England, a union of the people rather than the narrow, unequal union of states created in 1707. Who was the man behind this early unionist radical vision?

This book uses the life of Lord Daer to paint a fresh picture of Scottish and British political culture at the end of the eighteenth century, one which places the Union and its shifting meanings at its heart. As the Scots and the English re-think the nature of union in a very different world to that of the 1790s, Daer's political vision is one that retains its power and relevance.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Format Hardback
Imprint Birlinn Limited
Publication Date 15 Oct 2015
ISBN 9781906566944
Number of Pages 280

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