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Highlander and his Books

Highlights of the National Burns Collection

A Book Review

Frank R. Shaw, FSA Scot, Atlanta, GA, USA email:

This is a book for those who want to visit the actual “historical artifacts, documents and artworks connected with the life of Robert Burns.” This book has arranged the Burns collections throughout Scotland by locations complete with map, telephone numbers, and addresses where each can be found.

If you have never been to Scotland to enjoy Burns Country, you will need this book. If you have been a dozen times, you will need this book. Why? It is an exhaustive little book describing Burns items scattered throughout Scotland from St. Andrews to Kirkcudbright with more than a dozen places in between. All together, there are 38 historic venues across Scotland. Naturally enough, it begins with the “Birth of Burns” in Alloway and concludes with “The Death of Burns” in Dumfries. It took Robert Burns 37 years to go from one to the other. For you, the reader, these historical artifacts and paintings are covered in a mere 60 pages

I found BURNS IN SCOTLAND very informative and helpful this past September on my trip to Scotland, and it is a welcomed addition to my own increasing Burns book collection, now numbering over 900 volumes. The book has already become a ready reference guide. It is permanently placed on Hemingway writing desk for ready reference.

Gavin Sprott, a Burns scholar, wrote the foreword in the book and is, in itself, worth the price of the publication. His understanding of Burns is phenomenal, and his description of Burns as a hero of Scotland who was “not some grisly and obscure old warrior-saint up to his oxters (armpits) in the blood of ethnic enemies, but an intensely human poet!” is refreshing indeed.

You can visit the National Burns Collection on their website at and “surf the new national data base of Burns treasures”. This book may be purchased by contacting the National Burns Collection Project, 28 Eglinton Street, Irvine, KA12 8AS or by telephone at 011 44 1294 279927 if you are in no mood to pinch pennies.

If you can’t go to the auld country for a personal tour of the Burns countryside, you can do so with this book. If you are touring Scotland for the first time, or get to go back again and again, this book will make you feel you have your own personal tour guide with you. It is that good!  (FRS: 11-20-05)

Return to December/January 2006 Index page  |  Return to Frank Shaw's Page


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