Alumni Services

November 2017

The last bookshelf of 2017 is very full, and holds an eclectic and interesting selection of alumni-penned works.



Veronica Adamson

Degree PhD Nursing Studies

The Aesthetic Experience of Dying

Structured around a personal account of the illness and death of Adamson’s partner, Jane, this book explores how something hard to bear became a threshold to a world of insight and discovery. It looks at the notion of life as binary synthesis – that is, the dynamic and productive interplay between opposing pairs of concepts – as a way of coming to understand death. Struggling to balance reason with sense, thought with feeling, this book examines the experience of caring for someone from diagnosis to death. Creative and insightful, this book will appeal to those interested in the medical humanities as well as practising and student health professionals.

The Aesthetic Experience of Dying


Author Alistair Blamire
Degree Architecture

The Green Machine: The Story of Edinburgh University Hare and Hounds 1960-1970

The Edinburgh University Hare and Hounds club of the 1960s was one of the most successful Scottish cross country teams in the history of the sport. Many team victories were recorded in club, national and university events and, individually, two of their competitors between them won seven Scottish National cross country titles during their running careers. Two members of the team represented Great Britain in the Olympic Games and many others ran at international level, a unique achievement for a university sports club. This is their story.

To order a copy of ‘The Green Machine’ please send a cheque for £12, payable to Alistair Blamire, and a note of your full address, to Alistair Blamire, 97/5 East London Street, Edinburgh, EH7 4BF. A copy will be posted to you as soon as possible.


Author Douglas M. Charles
Degree PhD History

Hoover's War on Gays: Exposing the FBI's Sex Deviates Program

The book explores the FBI's 40-plus year obsession with gays, lesbians, and their respective organizations, and the politics surrounding the issue of homosexuality. It also takes to the story up to the 1990s when the FBI became the unwilling trailblazer in ending Federal anti-gay employment discrimination.

Hoover's War on Gays


Author Kieron Connolly
Degree History

Abandoned Castles

From Ancient Greece to the Crusades and on to the American Civil War, Abandoned Castles explores more than 100 hill and sea forts, castles, towers and citadels from Europe to Africa, from India to Japan. Author of Abandoned Places, Kieron Connolly explains the roles these Roman forts, Norman keeps, French chateaux and Gothic strongholds have played in history. But each castle doesn’t tell us about just one moment in the past. Many were built in one century, expanded in another, perhaps besieged hundreds of years later, and ruined later still. Over the years, the names changed, states rose and fell, borders moved or even dissolved, but the castles remained. And in their ragged walls we can see the layers of history, from changing architectural styles to how the buildings were made ever stronger – until the castles themselves became obsolete.
With 150 striking colour photographs, Abandoned Castles is a brilliant pictorial examination of worlds gone by.

Abandoned Castles


Author Patrick Scott
Degree English Literature

The Kilmarnock Burns: A Census

Burns’s 'Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect' (1786) has long been recognized as one of the world’s great books, but this study is the first modern attempt to track down how many copies of Burns’s first book still survive.  The 612 copies that were printed in the summer of 1786 on a wooden press by a local printer, John Wilson, in Kilmarnock, sold out almost immediately and launched Burns’s worldwide reputation.  In time copies of the Kilmarnock, often splendidly rebound to indicate its importance and growing monetary value, became prized by book collectors on both sides of the Atlantic.

The book opens with an introduction, by Allan Young, about the project and its findings, with a list of important “lost” copies, followed byPatrick Scott's account of how the Kilmarnock was published and how it became a collector's item. The main sections then describe the present appearance of each of the surviving copies, including any manuscript inscriptions or annotations, and trace, as far as possible, their previous ownership and its significance.  In addition, drawing on print and digital evidence from auction records, newspapers and memoirs, the study documents many copies for which there is now no known location, illustrating the larger story of public interest in Burns and Burns collecting from the early nineteenth-century to the present day.


The Kilmarnock Burns: A Census


Author Roger Stewart
Degree MBA

Random Treasure – Antiques, Auctions and Alchemy

Random Treasure is a true account of adventures in the world of antiques. Roger Stewart looks back on six decades of discovering lost and forgotten objects in second-hand shops and local salesrooms. Among many enthralling tales of exceptional items, the two stars are a pottery jug and a wooden statue, both masterpieces made five hundred years apart. It's been a profitable hobby too, with a 10 year tally of £250,000 in auction proceeds from objects bought for just £1,500. Random Treasure shows how to identify and authenticate antiques, how they rise and fall in value, whether provenance matters, and how real-life auctions work. There's also a light-hearted investigation of behavioural aspects of antique collecting, making the book a perfect read for those interested in popular psychology. What qualities are needed by enthusiasts to make spectacular finds? Does it require the connoisseur's expertise or the alchemist's magic, or can anyone succeed? And how can collectors prevent an innocent hobby from slipping into all consuming obsession and compulsion?


Random Treasure

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 details, 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.