Friday, 8 April 2011

The Travelling Scotsman - review

A big thanks to Mary Anne Gourley for sending me a copy of her book The Travelling Scotsman: The Life and Times of Paterson Saunders, Senior to review.

It is a great read, concerning her great great grandfather Paterson Saunders, born in Dundee in 1810, and educated at United College at St. Andrew’s University. Upon graduation, he travelled to New Granada in South America to trade cotton, but fled the scene after a failed marriage with a woman considerably older than himself. he then made his way to India, where he helped his brother run an indigo business, and soon remarried to a lady called Elizabeth McLean. When the business declined the brothers sought a new opportunity – the gold rush in Victoria, drawing in thousands of immigrants and offering a potentially new market for Indian produced goods. They timed their move badly, arriving as the economy turned, and were later forced to return to India, where Paterson would soon see action in the mutiny of 1857.

I've just finished reading Tommy's War, an account of a gentleman living in Glasgow throughout the First World War, and I love biographies about 'ordinary folk' who lived extraordinary lives - this definitely fits in neatly to that category.

As well as Mary Anne's biographical research into her Dundonian ancestor, she has also reprinted an account of life in Australia as written by Paterson himself, entitled Two Years in Victoria, within the same publication. The two books between them reveal a great story of Scottish entrepreneurial zeal, and provide fascinating contemporary portraits of both 19th century Australia and India.

If you're currently short of something to read, order it up, you won't be disappointed! The book is available to order from Australia, from a company called BookPOD, and costs $47.99 (Australian) www.bookstore.bookpod.com.au

(Thanks again Mary Anne!)

Chris

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