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Steve Savage Publishers Ltd

A History of the Island

Donald Macdonald
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isbn 9781904246084 rrp 12.50 paperback illustrated 320 pages

The remarkable history of the Hebridean Isle of Lewis stretches back to the time of the Norse invaders (and there are significant prehistoric remains from before that time). Over the centuries, Lewis has seen a succession of powerful landlords come and go, and this ground-breaking book recounts the long-fought struggle over the land. It also describes many aspects of the islanders' way of life over the years -- agriculture and fishing, education in Gaelic and English, the Church and the people, law and order and smuggling, emigration and the armed services are just some of the topics included in this wide-ranging survey. Combining original research with a deep personal knowledge of the subject, Donald Macdonald's Lewis: A History of the Island is a remarkable example of local history.


Donald Macdonald was born in 1904 in the village of North Tolsta, a crofting-fishing community on the Island of Lewis.

On leaving the village school, he completed his secondary education at the Nicolson Institute in Stornoway and then attended Glasgow University where he graduated MA and was also awarded a blue for shinty.

After teacher training at Jordanhill College, he came to Edinburgh where he taught for the next forty-one years, serving in deaf, primary, secondary and further education schools, and for a time during the Second World War, in a pre-aircrew Training Centre.

For seven years, he was a further education headmaster, and twenty years a headmaster in primary schools, the last of which was Corstorphine in Edinburgh where he spent fourteen years until his retiral in 1970.

Donald Macdonald was a fellow of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society and a fellow of the Educational Institute of Scotland. He died in 1990.

'This book draws its information from ... the indigenous, first-hand experience of the writer's early life and the more formal information extracted from a variety of historical documents. This is an intriguing double helix that gives the book much of its interest and freshness and the feeling that it is the beginning of a study which could be carried on by subsequent students ... The book beautifully reflects the man.'
-- Finlay Macleod, in his Introduction