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If you ask a Scotsman to name influential Scottish writers, Neil Gunn (1891-1973) will be on the list. A Highland native, he wrote about ordinary people trying to live ordinary lives in extraordinary circumstances. Butcher's Broom tells the story of one settlement unsettled by the Napoleonic Wars and the Highland Clearances. The first quarter of the book is more poetry than prose and gives a wonderful feel of life in the 19th century Scottish Highlands. Though not named, the real life villians of the story are the Duke and Duchess of Sutherland who displaced thousands of people in order to turn their land over to more profitable sheep farming. This book is a fine piece of historical fiction.