Review By Frank R. Shaw, FSA SCOT,
Atlanta, GA, USA, email:
wrote his famous Ninth Symphony in 1824. It is still recognized around the
world almost two centuries later as one of his greatest masterpieces, if not
his greatest. It was the first time anyone had used a major vocal component
in a symphony which, I might add, was no easy subject for him to pull off.
Found penned in one of his sketch books after the renowned Maestro died were
these words, “Let us sing the ode of the immortal Schiller”. Thus,
The Ode to Joy, also known as The Song of Joy, marched
into history to remain forever a part of Beethoven’s famous symphony.
Folks, this illustrated book on Robert Burns will do the
Hunters’ Illustrated History of the Family, Friends and
Contemporaries of Robert Burns
by Colin Hunter McQueen and Douglas Hunter is a book of joy. I do not
consider myself an authority on books, but I enjoy them as much as anyone
(as my library of several thousand Scottish books will attest). This book
goes to the top of my list. As Beethoven did with his Ninth Symphony, this
father-and-son team has produced a work with more artistic detail and new
facts about Robert Burns than any book of which I am aware.
purposely chose the illustration of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony because this
book is vividly picturesque and the scholarship is refreshing. Simply put,
it is awe inspiring! Both Beethoven and the Hunters went against the grain
and did something that had never been done before. Oh, I’m sure there are
some books out there equally as good with their artistry, but I have never
seen one with so many beautiful drawings (over 600 illustrations). More than
likely those out there are not readily available to the public but are
hidden away in a library vault, probably reserved for the eyes of the
biggest donors, while this one will be available to one and all if you are
lucky enough to purchase a copy of the two thousand copies to be published.
book is a heart-warming tribute to Robert Burns. Scholars will be excited by
this book, and lay people like me will just simply enjoy it – immensely.
There will be no disappointment for our readers when they hold the book in
their hands and lovingly go through it page by page. Move over Maurice
Lindsay and your two editions of The Burns Encyclopedia, there
is a new book in town!
Colin Hunter McQueen is a gifted artist, and his son
Douglas is equally gifted as a writer. Please keep in mind that the text
complements the drawings. What they have done is made me revise my list of
the top five books I would like to have if marooned on an island. This
book is a work of fulfillment, joy, and love that stretches over many years.
It was conceived, designed, and illustrated by Colin. The book was
researched, written and compiled by Douglas. This Hunter team has freed
Burns from some past interpretations with the artistry of one and the
research and scholarship of the other. Robert Burns will be better
appreciated and will come alive in our global society. What they have done
reminds me of an anecdote I heard years ago about another great artist,
Michelangelo. It is said he would look at a giant piece of marble and could
be heard uttering, “There is an angel in there I must set free”. These two
men have done the same with Robert Burns.
Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Schiller’s Ode to
Joy, has officially been adopted as the national anthem for the
European Union. Hunters’ Illustrated History of the Family, Friends
and Contemporaries of Robert Burns, in its own right, will become
“An Ode to Joy” for Burnsians and non-Burnsians alike. It is truly a book of
love and joy by father and son that presents a rare up-to-date tribute to
our National Bard.
order your copy of this wonderful book, email Douglas Hunter at
[email protected]. The book sells for £30, plus postage. You must act
promptly to assure that your name is included in the book of subscribers.
You may also write to Douglas Hunter, Drumbow, 36 Duncan Avenue, Scotstoun,
Glasgow, G14 9HS, Scotland or telephone (0141) 954 8180. Additionally, you
may visit their website at
www.drumbow.co.uk for further details and worldwide shipping costs.
A Chat with
Colin and Douglas Hunter to see some sample pages from the book.