In his new book on Scotland 1815 - 1914, Michael Fry goes well beyond the conventional analyses of the economy and society to which previous histories have confined themselves. Here the central thread of the story is not steady assimilation to the norms of the United Kingdom but the survival of distinct forms of Scottishness that both derived from an independent past and laid the foundations for the reassertion of nationality in the present time. The emphasis is therefore not on those aspects in which Scotland became more like the rest of Britain - though these are acknowledged and described - rather on the ways in which Scotland remained different. Through detailed new research, particular attention is paid to the development of politics and government in the Victorian era. Above all,however, Michael Fry points to the condition of Scottish culture, in both its triumphs and its failings, as the key to understanding what made the nation falter in some respects yet in others to survive and at length prosper once again. Throughout, for this exemplary era of Scottish individualism, he relies not on theories and statistics but on the experience of individual Scots men and women to bring out the essential achievement of Scotland's greatest century to date.