Written over five years, this engrossing and enlightening book stretches to over a quarter of a million words and is a fast paced read as it races through the exploits and achievements of an astonishing gallery of the Scots who make up this Scottish Empire.
Although household names such as Andrew Carnegie, Alexander Graham Bell, John Logie Baird and Charles Rennie Mackintosh are mentioned to underpin the strength and breadth of the Empire, only abbreviated reminders of their well-known achievements are shown. It's not a recital of the adventures of conquering heroes, although some are included. It's more an outreach of ideas, the story of human endeavor in its many forms … pushing at the boundaries of the imagination and stretching the accepted order. It encompasses everything from the spirit of pioneering to the mystical qualities of leadership.
"It's luckily not dependent on a seat of power and nor is it affected by the bruising arguments about Scotland's place within the UK or as an independent state."
Gallagher brings together an astonishing array of characters who may not have made headlines but are essential elements in his illusory empire with a heady mix of extraordinary vision, creativity, energy, leadership, diplomacy, skill, artistry, sometimes pure genius and, more often, downright doggedness.