The Soap Man

Lewis, Harris and Lord Leverhulme

By Roger Hutchinson

Format: Multiple Formats

In 1918, as the First World War was drawing to a close, the eminent liberal industrial Lord Leverhulme bought - lock, stock and barrel - the Hebridean island of Lewis. His intention was to revolutionise the lives and environments of its 30,000 people, and those of neighbouring Harris, which he shortly added to his estate.

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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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In 1918, as the First World War was drawing to a close, the eminent liberal industrial Lord Leverhulme bought - lock, stock and barrel - the Hebridean island of Lewis. His intention was to revolutionise the lives and environments of its 30,000 people, and those of neighbouring Harris, which he shortly added to his estate. For the next five years a state of conflict reigned in the Hebrides. Island seamen and servicemen returned from the war to discover a new landlord whose declared aim was to uproot their identity as independent crofter/fishermen and turn them into tenured wage-owners. They fought back, and this is the story of that fight. The confrontation resulted in riot and land seizure and imprisonment for the islanders and the ultimate defeat for one of the most powerful men of his day. The Soap Man paints a beguiling portrait of the driven figure of Lord Leverhulme, but also looks for the first time at the infantry of his opposition: the men and women of Lewis and Harris who for long hard years fought the law, their landowner, local business opinion and the entire media, to preserve the settled crofting population of their islands.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Format Multiple Formats
Imprint Birlinn Limited
Publication Date 15 Nov 2005
SKU 9781841583273-grouped
Number of Pages 256

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Press Reviews

'Hutchinson sets his canvas alight . . . he combines into one coherent narrative all the mighty forces that clashed and washed over the population of Lewis in the early 20th century'

'Readable as a novel, rich in insights . . . has resonance far beyond the lives of its subjects'

'Magnificent . . . Roger Hutchinson is a master wordsmith'

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