Alumni Services

June 2019

A bumper edition of Bookshelf means something for everyone. Themes including war, identity, medicine, and family life are explored through fiction and non-fiction alike.


Author John PHM Blackie

Chemical Engineering


The Dyes: Scotland’s dyestuff pioneers and a century of chemical manufacturing in Grangemouth

Written in part to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the chemical site -affectionately once known as ‘The Dyes’, in Grangemouth, Central Scotland which has been in continuous operation since its founding in 1919.

It is also a personal celebration of a century of innovations, changing fortunes and the people who worked there, drawn from original sources and former employees. The book charts the site’s fascinating history and development, set against the background of the changing town, company ownerships, working practices, technology, industry and historical events.

Proceeds from the sale of the book will solely benefit the Grangemouth Heritage Trust, a local charity dedicated to promoting the industrial, social and historic heritage of the town.

Should you wish to obtain a copy of the book, please contact:



Nessa Carey

Degree PhD Veterinary Medicine

Hacking the Code of Life

In 2018 the world woke up to gene editing with a storm of controversy over twin girls born in China with genetic changes deliberately introduced by scientists – changes they will pass on to their own offspring. 

Genetic modification (GM) has been with us for 45 years now, but the new system known as CRISPR or gene editing can manipulate the genes of almost any organism with a degree of precision, ease and speed that we could only dream of ten years ago. 

But is it ethical to change the genetic material of organisms in a way that might be passed on to future generations? If a person is suffering from a lethal genetic disease, is it unethical to deny them this option? Who controls the application of this technology, when it makes ‘biohacking’ – perhaps of one’s own genome – a real possibility?

Hacking the Code of Life


Author Sophie Hardach
Degree Politics and Economics

Confession with Blue Horses

Tobi and Ella's childhood in East Berlin is shrouded in mystery. Now adults living in London, their past in full of unanswered questions. Both remember their family's daring and terrifying attempt to escape, which ended in tragedy; but the fall-out from that single event remains elusive. Where did their parents disappear to, and why? What happened to Heiko, their little brother? And was there ever a painting of three blue horses?

In contemporary Germany, Aaron works for the archive, making his way through old files, piecing together the tragic history of thousands of families. But one file in particular catches his eye; and soon unravelling the secrets at its heart becomes an obsession.

When Ella is left a stash of notebooks by her mother, and she and Tobi embark on a search that will take them back to Berlin, her fate clashes with Aaron's, and together they piece together the details of Ella's past... and a family destroyed.

Devastating and beautifully written, funny and life-affirming, Confession with Blue Horses explores intimate family life and its strength in the most difficult of circumstances.

Confession with Blue Horses


Author Sotiris T Lalaounis
Degree Design and Digital Media

Design Management: Organisation and Marketing Perspectives

Placed at the nexus between marketing and organisational studies, this book breaks a new ground on the intersection of these two disciplines with design management. With the latest marketing thinking assigning greater emphasis on organisations co-creating value with consumers and other stakeholders by placing them at the heart of the product/service development process, it has never been more important to integrate marketing and organisational perspectives into design management.

This text explores the importance of managing design strategies, design processes, and design implementation in a way that it puts the human and the society at the centre, contributing to organisational success, customer gratification, and social welfare. Drawing from a variety of scholarly research and personal commercial insights, this book integrates key concepts of marketing, innovation, and design, to provide an in-depth discussion of the subject of design management.

With end-of-chapter exercises, case studies, and reflective insights along with online teaching materials, Design Management: Organisation and Marketing Perspectives is an essential text for students in design management, marketing, and innovation, or for anyone interested in gaining an in-depth understanding of how design can be successfully managed in order to generate the best answers to contemporary global challenges.

Design Management: Organisation and Marketing Perspectives


Author Paul McFarland
Degree History

Scots in Great War London: A Community at Home and on the Front Line 1914-1919

This new examination of World War One pulls together often untold stories and includes famous names such as Sir Douglas Haig, John Buchan and Lord Kinnaird, known as football’s first superstar. These three were all linked with Scottish organisations in London which had to rise to the challenge of World War One. Churches and clubs which looked after Scots who had moved south to work in the capital played an important role on the Home Front.

The book, drawing on unpublished articles at the time, describes how St Columba’s Church of Scotland in Knightsbridge fed and entertained nearly 50,000 Scottish troops heading home on leave or returning to the trenches. Moving letters from grateful families are quoted. John Buchan was an elder of the church, so too Sir Douglas Haig after the war. The other Scottish Kirk in London, Crown Court numbered Lord Kinnaird among its elders – he lost both his sons during the conflict. Rugby players from London Scottish were quick to join up. More than two thirds of the sixty who turned out for the club in the last season before the war never returned. There was a heavy toll amongst Scots in London who were members of the Caledonian Club. The Club’s substantial art collection immortalises its connection to the Great War, some of which is reproduced in the book. Many members and associates of Scottish churches and clubs were quick to join the London Scottish Regiment on the outbreak of war. They became the first territorials to see action after being rushed to the frontline close to Ypres in October 1914. The Scots Guards, too, had longstanding links with the capital. Scottish exiles in Canada joining their local regiments were pleased to remember their roots and traditions as they moved through wartime London. Charities founded by Scottish benefactors in London, which have since evolved into Scots Care and the Royal Caledonian Educational Trust, supported the troops and families and their role is covered.

One hundred years on from the final year of conflict this book examines the close links between these organisations and their shared hopes, fears and tragic losses. Scotland’s casualties in World War One were disproportionately higher than other parts of the UK. The book reflects how that toll was reflected south of the border in London, through which so many Scottish soldiers would have passed on their way to and from the horrors of war.

Scots in Great War London



Mary Miller

Degree Certificate in Medical Social Work

Jane Haining: A Life of Love and Courage

Jane Haining was undoubtedly one of Scotland’s heroines.

A farmer’s daughter from Galloway in south-west Scotland, Jane went to work at the Scottish Jewish Mission School in Budapest in 1932, where she was a boarding school matron in charge of around 50 orphan girls. The school had 400 pupils, most of them Jewish. Jane was back in the UK on holiday when war broke out in 1939, but she immediately went back to Hungary to do all she could to protect the children at the school. She refused to leave in 1940, and again ignored orders to flee the country in March 1944 when Hungary was invaded by the Nazis. She remained with her pupils, writing 'if these children need me in days of sunshine, how much more do they need me in days of darkness'."

Her brave persistence led to her arrest in by the Gestapo in April 1944, for "offences" that included spying, working with Jews and listening to the BBC. She died in the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz just a few months later, at the age of 47. Her courage and self-sacrifice, her choice to stay and to protect the children in her care, has made her an inspiration to many.

Jane Haining: A Life of Love and Courage



James Porter

Degree Music

Beyond Fingal's Cave: Ossian in the Musical Imagination

Beyond Fingal's Cave: Ossian in the Musical Imagination is the first study in English of musical compositions inspired by the poems published in the 1760s and attributed to a purported ancient Scottish bard named Ossian. From around 1780 onwards, the poems stimulated poets, artists, and composers in Europe as well as North America to break away from the formality of the Enlightenment. The admiration for Ossian's poems -shared by Napoleon, Goethe, and Thomas Jefferson - was an important stimulus in the development of Romanticism and the music that was a central part of it. More important still was the view of the German cultural philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder, who saw past the controversy over the poems' authenticity to the traditional elements in these heroic poems and their mood of lament. James Porter's long-awaited book traces the traditional sources used by James Macpherson for his epoch-making prose poems and examines crucial works by composers such as Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Brahms, and Massenet. Many other relatively unknown composers were also moved to write operas, cantatas, songs, and instrumental pieces, some of which have proven to be powerfully evocative and well worth performing and recording. 

Beyond Fingal's Cave: Ossian in the Musical Imagination



Ailsa Ross

Degree Law

The Woman Who Rode A Shark: And 50 More Wild Female Adventurers

You've heard of Charles Darwin, Ernest Shackleton and Lawrence of Arabia. But how about Marianne North, Ada Blackjack or Isabelle Eberhardt? From aquanauts to astronauts, treetop explorers to eagle hunters, The Woman Who Rode a Shark celebrates 50 ocean-diving, mountain-climbing, jungle-running female adventurers who've blazed an exceptional trail from 231 BC to today. 

Through bold illustrations that combine portraits and hand-drawn maps, children can trace the ocean-soaring flights of pilot Amelia Earhart, follow Isabella Bird's expedition up the Yangtze River, and meet Kimi Werner - the freediving chef who hitched a ride on the dorsal fin of a great white shark. 

Perfect for fans of Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls and Women in Science, The Woman Who Rode a Shark tells the inspiring stories of women warriors, scientists, artists, athletes and above all, adventurers.

The Woman Who Rode A Shark

Ailsa's website



Tom Scotland

Degree Medicine

A Time to Die and a Time to Live: Disaster to Triumph: Groundbreaking developments in care of the wounded on the Western Front 1914-18

This work sets out to show how tremendous progress was made in the treatment of wounded soldiers during the Great War which significantly improved chances of survival. It describes ground breaking advances in resuscitation, anaesthesia and surgery which established the foundations of modern war surgery. It stresses the importance of blood transfusion.

A Time to Die and a Time to Live: Disaster to Triumph


Author John Young
Degree PhD Law
Book Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist

Winner of the Scottish Teenage Book Prize 2019 Longlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2018 Quick-witted, sharp-tongued Connor Lambert won't take it any longer: the bullying, the secrets, the sympathy. He's been dying from cancer for years, but he’s not dead yet. He's going down fighting. Forming an unlikely friendship with fellow juvenile delinquent Skeates, the pair stage a break out and set off on a crazy tour across Scotland -- dodging the police, joy riding and extreme partying -- to find Connor's dad, an inmate at Shotts prison. But Connor's left two things behind -- the medication he needs to keep him alive, and the girl who makes living bearable. A fresh and bold debut novel full of heart, guts and raw emotion. Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist is a brilliantly funny, thrilling exploration of friendship, identity and mortality populated with witty, sharply drawn characters.

Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist

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.