Sunday, May 05, 2013

Book Notes: Born in Perthshire by Paul Philippou & Rob Hands

This tiny little book is a series of short articles (many of which have previously appeared in the local press), giving thumbnail biographical sketches of notable characters from Perthshire who have influenced the world. As such it reads like a 'best of' obituary column for this area covering several hundred years.

Veterinary pioneers, American frontier soldiers, early environmental campaigners, photographers, weights and measures exponents, trades-unionists, stone-masons, architects and many more characters fill the pages of the book alongside pen and ink sketches of scenes related to their achievements.

Though only 65 pages long, this book is a little mine of fascinating stories, facts, and quirky historical details. It is thoroughly absorbing for anyone who lives in or knows Perth, and takes but an hour to read. A most enjoyable hour it is too.

The one oddity in the book is that they take up the old legend that Pontius Pilate (sometime Roman governor of Palestine) was born here during the Roman Empire's brief foray into Caledonia. However they mention him without any reference to his role in the New Testament of the Bible - without which no one would actually have heard of him or especially care where he was born. I may be wrong but this seemed like a petty swipe at the Bible (as if not allowing it to be cited as a historical source), when whether agree with it or not - the documents of the New Testament are vital historical sources from the first two centuries. Apart from this little complaint, it's a great little book.

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