The name of Michael Meighan will be well known to anyone who has browsed the Scottish section of a bookshop in recent years. He is an acknowledged expert on Glasgow, and a prolific author about many aspects of the city (and beyond). We have ourselves reviewed a number of books by him, including Glasgow Central Station Through Time, Glasgow with a Flourish, Glasgow Smells Better and Scotland's Lost Industries.
You can think of "Glasgow A History" as a natural development of what has gone before. Between the covers of this nicely produced and presented hardback volume, Michael Meighan has brought the whole story of Glasgow together in one place. In his introduction, the author says: "This book catalogues some of out past greatness, our position as Second City of the Empire, of shipbuilder and locomotive builder to the world. I mention the medical and educational advances that have come from Glasgow. But I also describe some of the downsides: how the sub-standard housing came about, the growth of violence and bigotry and how we have been trying to deal with our failings. We are aware of these things and with a positive vision we can overcome our faults."
Perhaps the most telling thing about this quote is the author's identification with his subject. Michael Meighan is a man who obviously cares deeply about Glasgow, and who wants to tell its story in a way that will be as widely accessible as possible. Yet as the quote also illustrates, he is certainly not blind to the failings, both past and present, of the city he was born and brought up in. The result is an excellent book that should be read by anyone with any interest in Glasgow. It is well written, with a style that flows nicely, and the illustrations are well chosen. It is also well organised, partly using a thematic approach that covers topics ranging from the "Growth of Glasgow", "The Railway Age" and "The Development of the City" to more focussed subjects like "Music Hall, Theatre and Cinema", "Religious Scotland" and "Cultural Poverty and Culture".