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Trailblazing from Ross-shire writer hailed

By Imogen James

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David Alston outside Cromarty Courthouse. Picture: James Mackenzie.
David Alston outside Cromarty Courthouse. Picture: James Mackenzie.

THE Ross-shire author of a well-received book on the links between the Highlands and the historic slave trade has been hailed for throwing the spotlight on a difficult subject.

David Alston’s recently published book Slaves and Highlanders: Silenced Histories of Scotland and the Caribbean, has been a big hit, rushed into reprinting after its initial run ran out.

It has also made the long list of this year’s prestigious Highland Book Prize.

In an online discussion event with Dr Juanita Cox of Guyana he insisted “the history of enslavement is part of Scotland and part of the Scots”.

Dr Cox said: “As a nation we are prone to taking pride in the achievements of earlier generations, whilst simultaneously rejecting, erasing, marginalising, distorting or forgetting the deeds of those that threaten to diminish our standing in the eyes of the world and/or ourselves.

“David Alston’s ground-breaking, erudite book offers us a challenging but important understanding of Scotland’s historical involvement in the Transatlantic slave trade and slavery as a member of the British empire.”

She added: “I hope that his book will inspire further research and offer readers the opportunity to better understand the present-day legacies of slavery and the calls for reparation.”

Mr Alston visited Guyana while researching his book.Stop-offs at the Belladrum Plantation and the Dochfour House estate while there make clear the historic links with that part of the world.

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