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Digital Subscriptions > History Scotland > March - April 2018 > Island life

Island life

Laura Cowan enjoys an autobiography which describes life on the island of Eriskay in the Outer Hebrides, with a particular focus on fishing, crofting and how World War II affected the islanders

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Eriskay Where I was Born

A.E. MacInnes

Birlinn, 2017

272 pages

Paperback, £12.99

ISBN: 9781780273815

EriskayWhere I was born, by Angus Edward MacInnes, is an autobiography describing life on the island of Eriskay, just south of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides. The book provides a great insight into Scottish island life in the 1900s. Life was tough on Eriskay, even for children. The working of the croft was like slave labour, and children had to help out with everything. They worked to get stone for building houses, which was very tough and in springtime the kelp needed to be harvested and dried on the shore for around six weeks, meaning that children would often miss school during busy times. When they went to school, it could be a very long walk and there would be no water to drink when they got there. Life on the island in the past was very simple. There was no piped water or mains electricity, and the introduction of these essentials caused suspicion; some islanders did not take well to the change in their lives. Inevitably, radio and television followed, somewhat changing the way they led their lives forever.

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About History Scotland

The March/April issue of History Scotland is packed full of history, heritage and archaeology news, opinion, in-depth features and events. Highlights include: * Farming in 19th-century Fife * Mutiny in the East India Company * Medieval fishing rights on the River Forth * Splendours of the Subcontinent - new exhibition * Excerpts from a World War I diary

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