Alumni Services

July 2016

From international espionage and the new Cold War to a biography of forest conservancy pioneer Hugh Cleghorn, this month's bookshelf is a heady mix of the global and the local.



Henry Noltie

Degree PhD Science and Engineering

Indian Forester, Scottish Laird: the Botanical Lives of Hugh Cleghorn of Stravithie and The Cleghorn Collection: South Indian Botanical Drawings, 1845 to 1860

Hugh Francis Clarke Cleghorn (1820–1895) was one of the many remarkable Scottish surgeons who worked for the East India Company, but who used an official posting as a base for research upon India’s rich flora, and recording it visually in drawings made by Indian artists. His particular interest was in useful plants, which led to the major work in the field of forest conservancy for which he is best remembered. This book offers a definitive biography of Cleghorn's life and work placing it in the latter days of the Scottish Enlightenment, both in the field of applied and useful knowledge, and the documentation of natural resources in both words and pictures.

After Cleghorn’s death his outstanding collection of drawings, and books relating to forestry and botany, was divided between the University of Edinburgh and what became the National Museum of Scotland. The latter share was transferred to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) in 1940, whereupon it was reunited with his substantial Indian herbarium that had been given in 1896. At this point Cleghorn became, if posthumously, one of the most significant benefactors in the Garden’s 300-year history – books dating back to 1582, and around 3000 exquisite botanical drawings. In this book, more than 200 of the drawings from the Cleghorn Collection are reproduced, in colour, for the first time.

Indian Forester, Scottish Laird: the Botanical Lives of Hugh Cleghorn of Stravithie and The Cleghorn Collection: South Indian Botanical Drawings, 1845 to 1860



Author Duncan Campbell
Degree Law

We'll All Be Murdered In Our Beds: The Shocking History of Crime Reporting in Britain

‘If it bleeds, it leads’ – this maxim is as true now as it was 300 years ago. Crime is the staple of the news, and our appetite for these dark and dangerous stories shows no sign of abating.

In this colourful history of the wild world of crime reporting since 1700, Duncan Campbell reveals what it’s really like to deal with murderers, gangsters, robbers, cat burglars, victims, informers and detectives, looking at the ‘hacks in the macs’ and the ‘Murder Gang’ who would go to any lengths to get a story – and serve it up to an ever-eager reading public.

It is not a grim beat; the phrase ‘gallows humour’ did not come from nowhere. All of human emotion is here: hate, love, greed, desire, fear, jealousy, anger, revenge, redemption, compassion. Crime is a prism through which we see society and its phobias. As the relationships between the press, public, police and criminals are now being questioned as never before, We’ll All Be Murdered in Our Beds! tells the compelling, sometimes scandalous tale of the stories and storytellers that have entertained, shocked and appalled us – and will continue to do so.

We'll All Be Murdered In Our Beds: The Shocking History of Crime Reporting in Britain



Author Stella Rimington
Degree English Language
Book Breaking Cover

Back in London after a gruelling operation in Paris, Liz Carlyle has been posted to MI5's counter-espionage desk. Her bosses hope the new position will give her some breathing space, but they haven't counted on the fallout from Putin's incursions into the Ukraine. Discovering that an elusive Russian spy has entered the UK, Liz needs to track him down before he completes his fatal mission – and plunges Britain back into the fraught days of the Cold War.

Meanwhile, following the revelations of whistle-blower Edward Snowden, the intelligence services are in the spotlight. In response to the debate raging around privacy and security, they hire Jasminder Kapoor, a young and controversial civil rights lawyer, to explain the issues to the public. But in this new world of shadowy motives and secret identities, Jasminder must be extra-careful about whom she can trust …

Gripping, nail-bitingly tense and drawn from her own experience as Head of MI5, Stella Rimington's latest thriller brings the new Cold War vividly to life.

Breaking Cover




Rory Scothorne

Degree History and Politics

Roch Winds: A Treacherous Guide to the State of Scotland

Did Scotland’s rough wind become something more after the referendum, as so many hoped it would, or did it blow itself out? What power can pessimism have in a nation of newfound self-confidence?

A generation ago, the socialist poet Hamish Henderson forecast that ‘mair nor a roch wind’ - more than a rough wind - would rush through the great glen of the world as empires and nations collapsed. In Roch Winds, three young radicals pick through the rubble left in the wake of the storm that propelled the Scottish National Party into a position of unprecedented political dominance in Scotland.

This darkly humorous book dissects the rise of the SNP and the fall of Labour during the months leading up to 2014 Independence Referendum and beyond. Drawing on their involvement in the Yes campaign for independence and the Labour Party, the authors cast their eyes to Scotland’s future and to radical horizons. Fluent, funny and full of fighting talk, this book is for everyone who has ever wondered what lies behind the tartan curtain of Scotland’s new establishment.

Roch Winds: A Treacherous Guide to the State of Scotland



Alasdair Roberts

Degree History

Crème de la Crème: Girls' Schools of Edinburgh and Ties that Bind: Boys' Schools of Edinburgh

Edinburgh was the place where the fictional Miss Jean Brodie taught her girls to believe they were the 'crème de la crème', where there was a real St Trinnean's, and where an unusually large proportion of the city's girls went to independent schools. These schools rose and fell over the decades, with their high point perhaps being the mid-20th century. Now author Alasdair Roberts has produced this insightful, lively and occasionally amusing survey of a special feature of Edinburgh life.

After writing Crème de la Crème, his lively and entertaining survey of Edinburgh's girls' schools, Alasdair Roberts has turned his attention to the city's boys' schools. The High School dates back to medieval times, and Heriot's opened in 1659, but the Edinburgh boys' schools really took off in the 19th century with the transformation of boarding 'hospitals' such as George Watson's and Daniel Stewart's into day schools, and the author covers those developments in some detail, as well as looking at earlier history and later developments, such as the founding of schools such as the Academy and boarding schools like Fettes, Merchiston and Loretto. He also writes about education in the classroom, on the games fields and in the wider sense. Alasdair Roberts describes the impact of two world wars on boys' schools -- that of 1914-18 being particularly devastating. Recently these schools have come under pressure both economically and politically, and general social change has contributed to all but one of Edinburgh's boys' schools becoming coeducational.

Crème de la Crème: Girls' Schools of Edinburgh

Ties that Bind: Boys' Schools of Edinburgh


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