Calum Ferguson Children of the Black House

ISBN 13: 9781841582689

Children of the Black House

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Children of the Black House is a fascinating glimpse into life on the Hebridean island of Lewis from the middle of the nineteenth century up to the 1970s. Calum Ferguson employs an unusual narrative technique, drawing on his mother Mairead's reminiscences, and presenting her experiences and conversation in the fisrt person. This book describes the treadmill of seasonal work on the croft, the all too frequent loss of bread-winners through wars and drowning at sea, but also the richness of the culture: the storytelling, music-making, dancing, interdependence of families and the sincere religious faith that sustained the islanders throuhg their trials. Gaining in confidence, many families sought to improve their lot through higher education, and the number of university graduates from the poorest communities became a source of pride for all. This remarkable memior is a treasury of personal recollections, traditional tales, poetry and songs, and contains a wealth of detail about everyday life on Lewis through those years. It is illustrated throughout with photographs of Mairead, her family and friends and of the crofting way of life.

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About the Author:

Calum Ferguson, born in Point, Lewis and educated at the Nicolson Institute and Aberdeen University, has a had a varied career as a teacher and broadcaster, including a period at Strathclyde and Glasgow Universities, where he was Director of Audio Visual Services. He now lives in Stornoway. He is the author of a number of books in Gaelic and English including Hiort - A Gaelic History of St Kilda, widely recognised to be one of the finest written. He is a keen musician and a noted local historian.

Review:

'a labour of love ... filled with immense humanity and compassion' Donald Meek 'provides a mirror through which the reader cannot but recognize a sense of what it is to be alive' - Aonghas MacNeacial, --The Herald

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Calum Ferguson, Donald Meek (Foreword)
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