Whisky and Scotland
by Neil M. Gunn.
A Practical and Spiritual Survey. ISBN 0285 622897
First published in 1935 and as powerful and as fresh now as then. Neil Gunn is a great writer. An old-fashioned writer with great grammar, an understanding of the subtleties of thinking, nuanced phrasing, and a cultural, political, and historical sweep to his subject. Reading this book can teach one how to write.
He is factual and imaginative at the same time. He allows the reader to grasp the thought of the beginnings of whisky. He opens one thinking about the past and from that the future. As it is written in 1935 Gunn uses the pronoun he constantly. But if one can get beyond this one can appreciate his clear thinking and systematic understanding.
I see this book as showcasing the Scottish engineering mindset that we were known for throughout the world. The Scottish thinkers and philanthropists of the past informed Neil Gunn’s thinking and way of seeing things. He brings this clarity to his book on Whisky. This book will not just teach you about whisky, it will show you how to think ~ and not just about whisky!
It needs the patience to read. It is not a big book, but, the intricate strands of phrasing are not what we are used to reading these days ~ especially not in a whisky book. It is not complicated. It is very clear, but it is a book one must pay attention to. There is so much intelligence in this book, it would be a shame to miss it.
If you read this book you will really have a far clearer understanding of Scotland and the whisky industry. And from there you will be able to
1- impress your friends
2-sound really intellectual and literary
3-be really cool and fashionable ~ Gunn is going to be the new black (just wait and see)
So, pour yourself a lovely dram, find a comfy seat and read this wonderful book.