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Alistair Moffat - Author

About the Author

Alistair Moffat was born and bred in the Scottish Borders. A former Director of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Director of Programmes at Scottish Television, he now runs the burgeoning Borders Book Festival as well as a production company based near Selkirk. He has written twelve books, including Kelsae, The Reivers, The Sea Kingdoms, The Borders and The Wall, all of which are published by Birlinn.

Featured books by Alistair Moffat

Other books by Alistair Moffat

The Borders A History of the Borders from Earliest Times

The Borders A History of the Borders from Earliest Times

Author: Alistair Moffat Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 12/07/2018

This is the story of the border: a place of beginnings and endings, of differences and similarities. It is the story of England and Scotland, told not from the remoteness of London or Edinburgh or in the tired terms of national histories, but up close and personal, toe to toe and eyeball to eyeball across the tweed, the Cheviots, the Esk and the tidal races of the upper Solway. This is a tale told in blood, fun and granite-hard memory. This is the story of an ancient place; where hunter-gatherers penetrated into the virgin interior, where Celtic warlords ruled, the Romans came but could not conquer, where the glittering kingdom of Northumbria thrived, the place where David MacMalcolm raised great abbeys, where the border rivers rode into history, and where Walter Scott sat at Abbotsford and brooded on the area's rich and historic legacy.

The Hidden Ways Scotland's Forgotten Roads

The Hidden Ways Scotland's Forgotten Roads

Author: Alistair Moffat Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/05/2018

Shortlisted for the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards In The Hidden Ways, Alistair Moffat traverses the lost paths of Scotland - its Roman roads tramped by armies, its byways and pilgrim routes, drove roads and railways, turnpikes and sea roads - in a bid to understand how our history has left its mark upon our landscape. As he retraces the forgotten paths that shaped and were shaped by the lives of the now forgotten people who trod them, Moffat charts a powerful, surprising and moving history of Scotland.

The Hidden Ways Scotland's Forgotten Roads

The Hidden Ways Scotland's Forgotten Roads

Author: Alistair Moffat Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/10/2017

Shortlisted for the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards In The Hidden Ways, Alistair Moffat traverses the lost paths of Scotland. Down Roman roads tramped by armies, warpaths and pilgrim routes, drove roads and rail roads, turnpikes and sea roads, he traces the arteries through which our nation's lifeblood has flowed in a bid to understand how our history has left its mark upon our landscape. Moffat's travels along the hidden ways reveal not only the searing beauty and magic of the Scottish landscape, but open up a different sort of history, a new way of understanding our past by walking in the footsteps of our ancestors. In retracing the forgotten paths, he charts a powerful, surprising and moving history of Scotland through the unremembered lives who have moved through it.

Scotland A History from Earliest Times

Scotland A History from Earliest Times

Author: Alistair Moffat Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 21/09/2017

From the Ice Age to the recent Scottish Referendum, historian and author Alistair Moffat explores the history of the Scottish nation. As well as focusing on key moments in the nation's history such as the Battle of Bannockburn and the Jacobite Risings, Moffat also features other episodes in history that are perhaps less well documented. From prehistoric timber halls to inventions and literature, Moffat's tale explores the drama of battle, change, loss and invention interspersed with the lives of ordinary Scottish folk, the men and women who defined a nation.

Britain A Genetic Journey

Britain A Genetic Journey

Author: Alistair Moffat Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 31/03/2017

Based on exciting new research involving the largest sampling of DNA ever made in Britain, Alistair Moffat, author of the bestselling The Scots: A Genetic Journey, shows how all of us who live on these islands are immigrants. The last ice age erased any trace of more ancient inhabitants, and the ancestors of everyone who now lives in Britain came here after the glaciers retreated and the land greened once more. In an epic narrative, sometimes moving, sometimes astonishing, always revealing, Moffat writes an entirely new history of Britain. Instead of the usual parade of the usual suspects - kings, queens, saints, warriors and the notorious - this is a people's history, a narrative made from stories only DNA can tell which offers insights into who we are and where we come from.

The Wall Rome's Greatest Frontier

The Wall Rome's Greatest Frontier

Author: Alistair Moffat Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/03/2017

Hadrian's Wall is the largest, most spectacular and one of the most enigmatic historical monument in Britain. Nothing else approaches its vast scale: a land wall running 73 miles from east to west and a sea wall stretching at least 26 miles down the Cumbrian coast. Many of its forts are as large as Britain's most formidable medieval castles, and the wide ditch dug to the south of the Wall, the vallum, is larger than any surviving prehistoric earthwork. Built in a ten-year period by more than 30,000 soldiers and labourers at the behest of an extraordinary emperor, the Wall consisted of more than 24 million stones, giving it a mass greater than all the Egyptian pyramids put together. At least a million people visit Hadrian's Wall each year and it has been designated a World Heritage Site. In this book, based on literary and historical sources as well as the latest archaeological research, Alistair Moffat considers who built the Wall, how it was built, why it was built and how it affected the native peoples who lived in its mighty shadow. The result is a unique and fascinating insight into one of the Wonders of the Ancient World.

The Reivers The Story of the Border Reivers

The Reivers The Story of the Border Reivers

Author: Alistair Moffat Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/03/2017

Only one period in history is immediately, indelibly and uniquely linked to the whole area of the Scottish and English Border country, and that is the time of the Reivers. Whenever anyone mentions 'Reiver', no-one hesitates to add 'Border'. It is an inextricable association, and rightly so. Nowhere else in Britain in the modern era, or indeed in Europe, did civil order break down over such a wide area, or for such a long time. For more than a century the hoof-beats of countless raiding parties drummed over the border. From Dumfriesshire to the high wastes of East Cumbria, from Roxburghshire to Redesdale, from the lonely valley of Liddesdale to the fortress city of Carlisle, swords and spears spoke while the law remained silent. Fierce family loyalty counted for everything while the rules of nationality counted for nothing.The whole range of the Cheviot Hills, its watershed ridges and the river valleys which flowed out of them became the landscape of larceny while Maxwells, Grahams, Fenwicks, Carletons, Armstrongs and Elliots rode hard and often for plunder. These were the Riding Times and in modern European history, they have no parallel. This book tells the remarkable story of the Reivers and how they made the Borders.

Bannockburn The Battle for a Nation

Bannockburn The Battle for a Nation

Author: Alistair Moffat Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/06/2016

As 8,000 Scottish soldiers, most of them spearmen, faced 18,000 English infantrymen, archers and mounted knights in June 1314 near the Bannock Burn, many would have thought that the result a foregone conclusion. But two days later, the English were routed, Edward II fled to the coast and took ship for home, and few English and Welsh soldiers escaped from Scotland unhurt. This emphatic victory was the moment that enabled Scotland to remain independent and pursue a different destiny. In this book, best-selling author Alistair Moffat offers fresh insights into one of the most famous battles in history, yet one which is surprisingly little understood. Where exactly was it fought; and what happened at the Scottish council of war the night before the second day to persuade the Scots to attack at dawn?This book follows in detail the events of those two days that changed history, and captures all the fear, heroism, confusion and desperation as he describes the tactics and manoeuvres that led to a stunning and unexpected Scottish victory.

Scotland A History from Earliest Times

Scotland A History from Earliest Times

Author: Alistair Moffat Format: Hardback Release Date: 09/10/2015

From the Ice Age to the recent Scottish Referendum, historian and author Alistair Moffat explores the history of the Scottish nation. As well as focusing on key moments in the nation's history such as the Battle of Bannockburn and the Jacobite Risings, Moffat also features other episodes in history that are perhaps less well documented. From prehistoric timber halls to inventions and literature, Moffat's tale explores the drama of battle, change, loss and invention interspersed with the lives of ordinary Scottish folk, the men and women who defined a nation.

Scotland

Scotland

Author: Alistair Moffat Format: eBook Release Date: 22/09/2015

'Alistair Moffat's Bannockburn is a pacy account of the days leading up to the battle' - Saturday Herald 'A carefully considered account of a well-trodden historical event, Moffat enlightens and educates with an up-to-date interpretation of a battle firmly cemented in Scottish history' - Scottish Field 'Mr Moffat's account of the duel between Bruce and de Bohun is totally gripping and he is particularly enthralling about the councils of war onthe eve of the second day's battle' - Country Life From the Ice Age to the recent Scottish Referendum, historian and author Alistair Moffat explores the history of the Scottish nation. As well as focusing on key moments in the nation's history such as the Battle of Bannockburn and the Jacobite Risings, Moffat also features other episodes in history that are perhaps less well documented. From prehistoric timber halls to inventions and literature, Moffat's tale explores the drama of battle, change, loss and invention interspersed with the lives of ordinary Scottish folk, the men and women who defined a nation.

Hawick A History from Earliest Times

Hawick A History from Earliest Times

Author: Alistair Moffat Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/03/2014

As Hawick celebrates the 500th anniversary of the fight at Hornshole, the first stirrings of the defining traditions of the common riding, Alistair Moffat takes the narrative much further back into the mists of prehistory, to the time of the Romans, the coming of the Angles and the Normans. He recounts how Hawick got its name, where the old village stood, who the early barons of Hawick were and then charts the amazing rise of the textile trade, bringing the story right up to the present day. Beneath the familiar streets and closes lies an immense story - the remarkable and unique story of Hawick. If this book shows anything, it shows that Hawick has changed radically over the many centuries since people began to live between the Slitrig and the Teviot. All that experience in one place has created and invented much and the future will turn for the better for a simple reason. Hawick's greatest invention is her people.

The Highland Clans

The Highland Clans

Author: Alistair Moffat Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/02/2013

The story of the Highland clans is a gripping one, full of celebrated names and heroic deeds. It is also, as Alistair Moffat reveals, the story of a fearless people, shaped by the unique traditions and landscape of the Scottish Highlands. Here, he traces the history of the clans from their Celtic origins to the coming of the Romans, through the great battles of Bannockburn and Flodden, to the Clearances and the present day. The images bring the stories to life with historical portraits and depictions of significant events such as the battles or the Highland dances, to name but a few. The story of the clans is also about the pain of leaving, with the great emigrations to the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Complete with a clan map and an alphabetical list of the clans of the Scottish Highlands, this is a must for anyone interested in the history of Scotland.

Arthur and the Lost Kingdoms

Arthur and the Lost Kingdoms

Author: Alistair Moffat Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/06/2012

The Holy Grail, the kingdom of Camelot, The Knights of the Round Table and the magical sword Excalibur are all key ingredients of the legends surrounding King Arthur. But who was he really, where did he come from, and how much of what we read about him in stories that date back to the Dark Ages is true? So far historians have failed to show that King Arthur really existed at all, for a good reason - they have been looking in the wrong place. In this fascinating and thought-provoking book, Alistair Moffat shatters all existing assumptions about Britain's most enigmatic hero. With reference to literary sources and historical documents, to archaeology and the ancient names of rivers, hills and forts, he strips away a thousand years of myth to unveil the real King Arthur. And in doing so he solves one of the greatest riddles of them all - the site of Camelot itself.

Tuscany

Tuscany

Author: Alistair Moffat Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 20/06/2011

Ever since the days of the Grand Tour, Tuscany has cast its spell over the British. Attracted by the perfect combination of history, art, architecture, superb natural beauty and weather - not to mention magnificent traditions of food and drink - British visitors and residents have been at times so numerous that the local word for foreigners was simply 'gli inglesi' - 'the English'. Currently over 10 000 Britons live there, not to mention the huge numbers who travel there for holidays. What is it that makes this exquisite part of Italy so seductive? To answer this question Alistair Moffat embarks on a journey into Tuscany's past. From the flowering of the Etruscan civilization in the seventh century BC through the rise of the powerful medieval communes of Arezzo, Luca, Pisa and Florence, and the role the area played as the birthplace of the Renaissance, he underlines both the area's regional uniqueness as well as the vital role it has played in the history of the whole of Italy. Insightful, readable and imbued with the author's own enthusiasm for Tuscany, this book includes a wealth of information not found in tourist guides, and is the only modern history of the area available in English.

The Faded Map The Lost Kingdoms of Scotland

The Faded Map The Lost Kingdoms of Scotland

Author: Alistair Moffat Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 17/05/2011

Modern communications have driven motorways and pylons through the countryside, dwarfed us with TV and telephone masts and drastically altered the way in which we move around, see and understand Scotland. Recent politics and logistics have established borders and jurisdictions which now seem permanent and impervious. The Faded Map looks beyond these to remember a land that was once quiet and green. It brings to vivid life the half-forgotten kings and kingdoms of two thousand years ago, of the time of the Romans, the Dark Ages and into the early medieval period. In this fascinating account, Alistair Moffat describes the landscape these men and women moved through and talks of a Celtic society which spoke to itself in Old Welsh, where the Sons of Prophesy ruled, and the time when the English kings of Bernicia held sway over vast swathes of what is now Scotland. Heroes rode out of the mists to challenge them and then join with them. The faint echo of the din of ancient battles can be heard as Alistair Moffat takes the reader on a remarkable journey around a lost Scotland.

Heartland: Images of Scottish Borders

Heartland: Images of Scottish Borders

Author: Alistair Moffat, Liz Hanson Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/10/2009

Before Scotland The Story of Scotland Before History

Before Scotland The Story of Scotland Before History

Author: Alistair Moffat Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 16/03/2009

The story of the land that became Scotland is one of dramatic geological events and impressive human endeavour. Alistair Moffat's gripping narrative ranges from the great thaw at the end of the Ice Age - which was instrumental in shaping Scotland's magnificent landscape - through the megalith builders, the Celts and the Picts, to the ascension of King Constantine II. Moffat deploys his knowledge with wit and deftness, interweaving the story with numerous special features on topics as diverse as cave drawings of dancing girls, natural birth control, the myth of Atlantis and the Zoroastrian Towers of Silence - all of them valuable, sometimes quirky, additions to the whole picture. Rounding out the account is a selection of carefully chosen colour photographs that give a strong sense of the Scottish landscape and monuments. Erudite and entertaining, Before Scotland, newly available in paperback, transforms our understanding of a neglected period. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the land that became Scotland.

The Wall Rome's Greatest Frontier

The Wall Rome's Greatest Frontier

Author: Alistair Moffat Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 12/03/2009

Hadrian's Wall is the largest, most spectacular and one of the most enigmatic historical monument in Britain. Nothing else approaches its vast scale: a land wall running 73 miles from east to west and a sea wall stretching at least 26 miles down the Cumbrian coast. Many of its forts are as large as Britain's most formidable medieval castles, and the wide ditch dug to the south of the Wall, the vallum, is larger than any surviving prehistoric earthwork.Built in a ten-year period by more than 30,000 soldiers and labourers at the behest of an extraordinary emperor, the Wall consisted of more than 24 million stones, giving it a mass greater than all the Egyptian pyramids put together. At least a million people visit Hadrian's Wall each year and it has been designated a World Heritage Site. In this new book, based on literary and historical sources as well as the latest archaeological research, Alistair Moffat considers who built the Wall, how it was built, why it was built and how it affected the native peoples who lived in its mighty shadow. The result is a unique and fascinating insight into one of the Wonders of the Ancient World.

The Sea Kingdoms The History of Celtic Britain and Ireland

The Sea Kingdoms The History of Celtic Britain and Ireland

Author: Alistair Moffat Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 29/05/2008

Alistair Moffat's journey, from the Scottish islands and Scotland, to the English coast, Wales, Cornwall and Ireland, ignores national boundaries to reveal the rich fabric of culture and history of Celtic Britain which still survives today. This is a vividly told, dramatic and enlightening account of the oral history, legends and battles of a people whose past stretches back many hundred of years. The Sea Kingdoms is a story of great tragedies, ancient myths and spectacular beauty. Alistair Moffat was born and raised in Kelso. He took degrees at the universities of St Andrews, Edinburgh and London and played rugby for Kelso and his universities. In 1976, he took charge of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe as it grew into the largest arts festival in the world. He now lives in Selkirk. The Sea Kingdoms has previously been published by HarperCollins.

Kelsae A History of Kelso from Earliest Times

Kelsae A History of Kelso from Earliest Times

Author: Alistair Moffat Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 18/05/2006

A definitive local history, where street corners and even individual cobblestones rate a mention, Kelsae is a comprehensive yet affectionate history. Beginning with the foundation of Scotland's greatest medieval abbey in 1128, it goes on to reconstruct from documents the lost burgh of Scotland, Roxburgh. Once as important as Edinburgh and Dunfermline in medieval Scotland, now nothing whatsoever remains of the old town. After the Reformation and destruction of the Abbey, Kelso became uninvolved in national politics and settled into the beautiful market town it is today. Alistair Moffat brilliantly uses anecdote, illustration and oral history bring the modern period to life. At its heart Kelsae is what local history should be - accurate. Every detail of the town's history, from its involvement in international politics to the correct spelling of the name of a close that disappeared in 1805, has been painstakingly researched, providing the reader with a vibrant and vigorous account.

Author Info

Author's Website

http://www.alistairmoffat.co.uk/

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