Alumni Services

April 2019

Take your pick from fiction, history, self-help and factual in April's ample selection of alumni-authored books.


Author Brian Allaway

PhD Business Studies


Firefighters of Belfast, The Fire Service During the Troubles 1969 - 1994

The years 1969 to 1994 were particularly difficult for Northern Ireland, and what would become known as the ‘Troubles’ would test the firefighters of Belfast to their limits. This book provides a record of that time from a firefighters perspective, combining thorough research and contemporary records with first hand accounts from the people who were involved, bringing these significant events to life through the words of the people who lived through them.

Full of character and characters, this personal account places on record the dedicated service and invaluable contribution made by firefighters to the people of Belfast when the city needed them most. Firefighters of Belfast is ultimately an uplifting portrait of human courage and resilience during the most difficult of times.

Firefighters of Belfast, The Fire Service During the Troubles 1969 - 1994



William Blomstedt

Degree Geographical Information Science

Foraging Afar: Tales From a Decade of Beekeeping Across the World

Black lava rocks in Hawaii. A darkened gas station in Italy. The rooftops of Morocco. What do all these places have in common? Bees.

In Foraging Afar: Tales from a Decade of Beekeeping Across the Globe, William Blomstedt recaptures his experiences traveling as a commercial beekeeper to many different countries around the world—from the green pastures of New Zealand to the ancient temples of Thailand—looking for the next bee adventure.

These tales will make you laugh as his beekeeping buddies pass the time at a vacant airport in rural Montana, and they will make you cry when the hives he’s transporting topple along a Texas highway. Most important, these stories will show you how beekeepers work—and live—all over the world.

Foraging Afar: Tales From a Decade of Beekeeping Across the World


Author Kenneth King
Degree PhD Arts

Education, Skills and International Cooperation: Comparative and Historical Perspectives

This book highlights some of Kenneth King’s diverse contributions to international and comparative education, African studies and development studies over more than four decades. From his pioneering work on the first educational commissions to Africa, through his research on skills training in the informal sector, and on to his critical analysis of education analysis in development agencies, this book makes influential materials available in one place. Appropriately, it illustrates his career-long connections with Kenya, but also his more recent engagement with Japan, China and India. It is the first CERC volume to pay significant attention to the policies and politics of skills development.

Education, Skills and International Cooperation: Comparative and Historical Perspectives


Author Victor E Knight
Degree PhD German

Murder by Degrees

'Murder by Degrees' is a ‘whodunit’ set in the university world in the 1980s.  It becomes also a ‘why-does-he-do-it?’ and a ‘will-he-get-away-with-it?’ as the devious killer is sought by the quirky Detective-Inspector Hooligan. Academics and police are often in mutual misunderstandings. There are satirical portraits of academics at their work, or, more likely, not working, and the reader may well wonder if they provided value-for-money. The action begins when a severed pig’s head is bought from an abattoir. This is the prelude to a series of murders. First comes the bludgeoning of a Professor English Literature. It seems at first to be an isolated crime. Then comes another - and another - and more. The dons are in an unseemly panic. The media can hardly conceal their delight. Detective-Inspector Hooligan is baffled. Obviously, the killer ‘has it in’ for professors of English Literature. And is intelligent, resourceful, elusive. And knows the university world. But until he is caught, his motive remains a mystery. Without knowing a motive, where do you start to look? Dogged investigations and intuition are our detective’s only weapons. And will the killer overlook some essential detail? Killers usually do...

A murder-mystery, indeed - but also a comedy. Hooligan’s quest brings him into contact with many absurd dons - vain, bumbling, unethical, idle ... ‘Murder by Degrees' might have been subtitled ‘Bloodshed with a Laughter.’

Murder by Degrees

Victor's website



Tara J Lal

Degree Physiology

Standing On My Brother's Shoulders - Making Peace with Grief and Suicide

Everything finds its place, just as the colour and the beauty do, so does the pain. Tara Lal's childhood was battered by her father's mental illness and by her mother's death when she was thirteen. Caught up in grief and despair, she developed a deep, caring bond with her charismatic and kind older brother Adam, though he struggled silently with growing anxiety and depression. Four years after their mother's death, Adam took his own life. Grief and insecurity threatened to engulf Tara, but eventually she found, through a dialogue with the words her brother left behind in his diaries, her reason to live. The book includes an Afterword on the possibilities for recovery and growth following a tragedy, written by Miriam Akhtar, author of Positive Psychology for Overcoming Depression.

Standing On My Brother's Shoulders - Making Peace with Grief and Suicide

Tara's alumni profile

Tara's website



Robert Morrison

Degree PhD English Literature

The Regency Years, During Which Jane Austen Writes, Napoleon Fights, Byron Makes Love, and Britain Becomes Modern

A surprising and lively history of an overlooked era that brought the modern world of art, culture, and science decisively into view.

The Victorians are often credited with ushering in our current era, yet the seeds of change were planted in the years before. The Regency (1811–1820) began when the profligate Prince of Wales—the future king George IV—replaced his insane father, George III, as Britain’s ruler.

Around the regent surged a society steeped in contrasts: evangelicalism and hedonism, elegance and brutality, exuberance and despair. The arts flourished at this time with a showcase of extraordinary writers and painters such as Jane Austen, Lord Byron, the Shelleys, John Constable, and J. M. W. Turner. Science burgeoned during this decade, too, giving us the steam locomotive and the blueprint for the modern computer.

Yet the dark side of the era was visible in poverty, slavery, pornography, opium, and the gothic imaginings that birthed the novel Frankenstein. With the British military in foreign lands, fighting the Napoleonic Wars in Europe and the War of 1812 in the United States, the desire for empire and an expanding colonial enterprise gained unstoppable momentum. Exploring these crosscurrents, Robert Morrison illuminates the profound ways this period shaped and indelibly marked the modern world.

The Regency Years, During Which Jane Austen Writes, Napoleon Fights, Byron Makes Love, and Britain Becomes Modern

Also available in the UK from July: more information



Gary West (editor)

Degree MA Scottish Ethnology & Scottish Historical Studies; PhD Arts
Book Jock's Jocks

Jock's Jocks is the most comprehensive collection of personal accounts of rural Scottish First World War veterans.

Jock Duncan interviewed 59 First World War veterans, from 14 regiments, from Aberdeenshire, Angus and Perthshire. He transcribed his interviews in the rich variations of Scots dialect in which they were spoken (with some in standard English), retaining the character and authenticity of the speakers. The result is a unique and illuminating collection of first-hand witness testimony to the horror, and humour, of the Great War.

An Introduction explains the background to the interview collecting and includes a detailed timeline of key battles and events. There is also a full glossary of Scots words and phrases.

Jock Duncan, a retired engineer now in his nineties, is an entertainer and singer, particularly of North East of Scotland traditional ballads. Gary West, academic, musician, broadcaster and Jock’s long-time family friend has edited these testimonies. 

Jock's Jocks


Your book

If you are a member of the alumni community and have recently published a book, we would be delighted to include it in the Alumni Bookshelf. Email the information, along with your degree details, to Brian Campbell:

Email Brian Campbell

Please note

Books are added to the bookshelf in order of submission. All of the further information links listed are the external websites of the book publisher, the author, or the bookseller. The University of Edinburgh is not responsible for the content and functionality of these sites.