ROA Week 1: Whisky Wars, Riots and Murder by Malcolm Archibald

So week 1 is complete, finally. I say that like this book was a struggle but it wasn’t really, overall I really liked it. Archibald has a way of writing that makes history seem light-hearted, and easily digestible without taking anything away from the severity of the things he’s writing about.

The book itself it what I like to think of as the perfect ‘coffee table book’. It’s broken down into chapters and in each chapter, you’re made well aware of what’s going to be discussed, but it isn’t boring and academic. Instead, Archibald regales you with tales of smugglers, murders, and the notorious Excise men. It made me feel like I was reading a (more grown up) Famous Five novel, in the best possible way of course!

One thing I would say is that reading it all in one go is a struggle, it isn’t really a book built for that. Chopped up into mini-headers, it’s more suiting to being picked up and put down at leisure. You don’t need to have read chapter one to fully understand and appreciate later chapters, for example. That, again, harkens back to its cred as a coffee table book. Got a spare five minutes before you need to nip and catch the train? Perfect, because each snippet of history in here is perfectly readable in a short time frame, and is crammed full of historical value, without bogging you down, or overwhelming you with needless details. Although in some cases, those details aren’t so needless and certain chapters feel a little lacking in depth. Archibald writes like he knows all this, and maybe this was the intended purpose of this book all along.

At any rate, I learned something about Scotland this week, even had a little giggle here and there (and was a little outraged at other points too!), but I would heartily suggest you add this to your collection if you’re a true crime or history buff.

While I can acknowledge that Amazon is ridiculously efficient at what is does (most of the time), every link I’ll be posting on these reviews will be from publishers, or smaller book retailers websites. Support the industry directly and cut out the middleman.

Whisky Wars, Riots and Murder can be purchased via the link, or if you’re having trouble with that head over to Black and White Publishing where you can purchase it for £9.99.

Til next time!

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